NBA Picks: Bet Cavaliers -3.5 as They Look to Move Forward in Eastern Conference Standings vs. Wizards

Joe Gavazzi

Friday, February 20, 2015 4:10 PM GMT

Friday, Feb. 20, 2015 4:10 PM GMT

Cleveland Cavaliers meet the Washington Wizards tonight, and our expert NBA capper gives us a preview article that includes a free pick for you.

Cleveland Cavaliers (-3) vs. Washington Wizards 8:05 ET ESPN
This is your featured early NBA game of Friday evening.  The red hot Cleveland Cavaliers are currently listed as -3 on the NBA betting odds. Should you think Cleveland will be complacent, consider they trail Washington by 1 game in the loss column for the 4th spot in the Eastern Conference. To date, these teams have split home court victories with Washington winning 91-78 on this floor and the Cavs winning 113-87 in Cleveland. Washington’s strong home record of 20-8 SU makes them a kneejerk reaction to a Cleveland team who is 12-13 SU on the road.  But, that would discount the current form of these teams. Let’s take a look at how these teams got to this point of the season for an indication of tonight’s winning selection.

The Wizards are now in the 3rd year of the Randy Whittman regime. He inherited a team that had won less than 30% of their games in the previous 3 seasons. Little improvement was made in a first season that witnessed Atlanta go 29-53 SU. Last year, however, the Washington improvement was viable. The Wizards finished 44-38 SU, good for 5th place in the East. It was certainly important that they added key pieces Nene and Gortat on the interior and Bradley Beal to join Wall in the backcourt (Beal will miss tonight’s game with a leg injury suffered February 10th).  This year, the Wizards have become an improved defensive team at just 97 PPG while continuing their offensive consistency. Note their success in this role, as they are 26-14 ATS (2-1 TY) as home dog the last 3+ seasons. The Wizards have been a streaky team who finished the first half on a 3-0 ATS run, which immediately followed a 1-8 ATS slide. Corresponding to that 3-game streak is a Wizards’ defense that allowed 90/41 in the previous 5 games. Tonight’s question is whether they will be able to slow the torrid offense of Cleveland.

Maximize Your Profit With this Pair of Totals

The Cavs’ story has been often reiterated on these pages. They reached the nadir of their discontent with a 19-20 SU mark in January. At that time, they were playing without Varejao (out for the season), without James (resting sore knees), and without Waiters (traded to OKC). In savvy moves by Cleveland management, they added Mozgov to fill the void of Varejao, along with JR Smith to take up the offensive slack of Waiters, and Shumpert (a defensive ace).  Voila!  In the oh-so delicate world of NBA chemistry, the Cavs drank the right potion and magically turned into a team that has since gone 14-2 SU, 12-4 ATS. An embarrassing 113-98 loss at Chicago prior to the All-Star break and the fact that they are playing .600 ball for the season, in 5thplace in the East, leaves plenty of incentive for an offensively potent team, led by James, Love and Irving.  

Trailing the Wizards by a game in the loss column, playing off a loss to Chicago prior to the break, and with their sights set on a Top 4 finish in the East, expect continued full focus from a Cleveland team as they play the 2nd half of the season, and back them with your NBA picks.  

NBA Pick: Cavaliers -3.5 at The Greek

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