NBA Picks: Look For Wizards To Keep It Close Against Pacers

Jay Pryce

Friday, January 15, 2016 2:05 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 2:05 PM UTC

The Pacers host the Wizards on Friday night (7 p.m. ET),  looking to halt Washington’s four-game ATS road streak. Can the Wiz make it five in a row? NBA pick and analysis here.

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NBA Pick: Wizards +7.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes


Washington Wizards (18-19 SU, 20-17 ATS)
In the last calendar month, Washington has won eight of 13 straight up, covering the spread in nine games overall. It has tightened up on defense, allowing 99.6 points per game as opposed to 106.0 previously. Coach Randy Wittman’s squad improved at guarding the three, yielding a 32.1 percent rate over the last 30 days. Prior to that, they allowed a league-worst 40.1 percentage. 

The Wiz enter the contest posting 101.4 points a game. They want to run and look to bust teams in transition. Their 18.4 fastbreak points per game rank second in the NBA (Warriors 20.6), and 99.9 pace factor fifth quickest. They may struggle to get behind Indiana, though. The Pacers allow only 11.7 fastbreak points a contest.

In its half court set, Washington is accurate from behind the arc, draining 36.8 percent (fourth best in the NBA). It tosses up 24.4 a night, right around the league average. SG Bradley Beal, who missed the last month with a stress reaction in his leg, returned to the lineup in Wednesday’s 106-101 victory over the Bucks. He throws up the most three-pointers at 5.4 per contest, but the hot shooting from downtown is distributed evenly throughout the squad with six players sporting a 35 percent rate or better.

Leading scorer John Wall (19.6 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 9.6 APG) is set to get an MRI on his ailing knee Thursday. He punched in 37 minutes against the Bucks, so it may not be anything serious. 

The Wizards have been good in one-away road trips this season, going 4-1 SU, 5-0 againts the NBA odds. They won three outright as underdogs, including two where they were spotted 8 points against the Cavaliers (97-85) and Miami (114-103). 


Indiana Pacers (22-17 SU, 22-17 ATS)
After losing nine of 16 games in December, the Pacers have won four of seven in 2016. They have taken care of business as home chalk this season going 11-3 SU, 9-5 ATS but are just 1-4 against the number when laying 5.5 points or more. 

SF Paul George, the team’s leading scorer with 24.1 points per game, is in a bit of a mini-slump, shooting 37 percent and posting just 19.4 a contest over his last five. The former All Star has shot 45 percent in 16 games against Washington in his career.’

The defense allows 98.4 points per game (sixth). It is best at defending the three, yielding a 32.4 percent success rate (fifth) and at picking up steals with 9.4 per game (fourth).


Final Analysis
Indiana set a franchise record by making 19 3-pointers in its 123-106 win over the Wiz when these two clashed back in November. Washington is covering the arc better in its latest configuration, and George is in a slump. The Pacers should win—they're 60-22 all-time against Washington in Indianapolis. But the line (-7.5) may offer a tiny bit of value; I rate the Pacers by 6 points. The Wiz are 6-1 ATS when given more than 6 points in the betting market this season and I'm looking for them to make it one more. Keeping this wager small, but Washington +7.5 is the NBA pick.

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