NBA Picks: Defense Expected to Kick Into Gear as Wizards-Hawks Collide in Game 5

Charles Stark

Wednesday, May 13, 2015 11:28 AM UTC

Wednesday, May. 13, 2015 11:28 AM UTC

Today the Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks collide for game five of the Eastern Conference playoffs. I am backing the under the total in this spot as both teams look to step up their defense.

Quick Recap
The totals for this series have gone 202, 196, 204, and 207 so it was a bit surprising to me to see NBA betting odds makers come out with the total at 199.5.  This kind of jumps out at me a bit but this is the kind of line I like, one that looks just a little bit off.  The more we dig into some numbers though, and even those these two teams have gone over 200 points in three of the four games, we can see that the defenses are due to step up today.


Playing to the Averages and the Anomaly
On the year these two teams combined averaged about 165 shots per game, in the last three games of this series they have combined for 166 shots so no big disparity.  The main difference is in the overall defense, on the year the Wizards were ranked 2nd in the league in defensive field goal percentage at 43.2%, in the last three games they have allowed the Hawks to shoot 45%.  The Hawks on the year ranked 6th in this category at 44%, but in that same time span they have allowed also 45%.  They key is going to be on the Wizards holding the Hawks throughout each quarter and not allowing them to have that one big quarter.  In games one and two the Hawks went for 37 and 28 in the first quarter, then in game three they went for 35 in the fourth quarter, and finally in game four they went for 36 in the second quarter.

Both these teams are very good defensively and both teams are shooting a bit above their averages.  On top of the field goal percentages in the last three games the Hawks have allowed Washington to shoot over 44% from beyond the arc.  On the year they were ranked in the top ten in this category allowing around 34%.

I look for these teams to go over some serious film before this matchup and see them both making some adjustments on the defensive end.  If Washington does not allow the Hawks that one big quarter, and if the Hawks limit Washington from beyond the arc this game should go under the total for your NBA picks.

NBA Pick: Under at Wagerweb.

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