It’s not too often the Utah Jazz can be considered overvalued against the basketball odds, but we think Wednesday night’s matchup with the Washington Wizards could be one of those rare occasions.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 16: 51-48-4 ATS, 5-8 Totals, minus-1.00 units ML
Break up the Utah Jazz~! They might be the most overlooked team in the NBA, but it’s hard for basketball fans to ignore what the Jazz did on Monday: flatten the Charlotte Hornets 94-66 as 4.5-point home faves. Utah tied the team record with 15 3-pointers, hitting 11 of them in a row during the first half. That’s six straight wins for the Jazz (30-36 SU, 36-38-2 ATS). They’d be in the playoff hunt if they were in the Eastern Conference.
Naturally, we’re going to fade Utah Wednesday night. What?! Yes, despite the success we’ve enjoyed following the Jazz, especially since the trade deadline, we think it’s time to “sell high” and jump on the Washington Wizards (39-28 SU, 27-39-1 ATS), who are on a healthy 4-0 SU and ATS run now that Bradley Beal is back in the lineup. The NBA odds are even kind enough to give the Wizards three points on the road as we go to press.
So why would we abandon the Jazz at this point? To get ahead of the marketplace. As impressive as this six-game winning streak may be, Utah is only 3-3 against the basketball odds, and if you happen to believe in zigzag patterns, the Jazz are due to zag toward an ATS loss Wednesday night (10:30 p.m. ET). We’re not sold on the zigzag, but after Utah thumped the Hornets by nearly 30 points, we think the betting market may have achieved peak Jazz.
Washington’s value won’t last much longer at this rate, either. But it was only a very short time ago that people were cracking jokes about how bad the Wizards had become, all the while ignoring the absence of Beal (13.9 PER, plus-0.7 BPM), who missed eight games in February with a stress reaction in his right leg. Washington went 2-6 SU and 3-5 ATS while Beal was on the shelf.
Unfortunately for us, Beal also ended up sitting out last week’s 91-85 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks, when we said we were “buying low” on the Wizards. But we’re still happy with that decision. Beal is one of Washington’s top scorers at 16.1 points per 36 minutes, and the team leader at 42.0 percent from behind the arc. He had 23 points and seven assists in Monday’s 105-97 win over the Portland Trail Blazers (+1 away).
Now that Beal’s back, and now that Paul Pierce (16.1 PER, plus-1.8 BPM) has regained his form after playing through February with a sore knee, we’ve been treated to something much closer to the Wizards team that was 29-13 SU on Jan. 19, albeit at 20-21-1 ATS. People expected pretty good things from the Wiz going into the season, which didn’t allow them to gain much traction against the NBA odds. That awful 6-15 SU and 3-18 ATS slump into early March got people thinking differently.
Before we put a bow on this NBA pick, let’s take a moment to check in on Ramon Sessions (12.0 PER, minus-3.3 BPM in Washington). Sessions has been one of our favorite back-up point guards over the last seven-plus seasons, but he hit a wall this year, and hasn’t been an upgrade over Andre Miller (14.4 PER, minus-2.4 BPM), another one of our old favorites.
Even on this front, there’s good news for Washington. In seven games this month, Sessions is a plus-19.6, after posting a minus-19.7 in February. His overall numbers have improved at both ends of the court, too. Maybe Sessions just needed some time to get adjusted to his seventh NBA team. Let’s hope the market doesn’t adjust this well.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Wizards at BetOnline