NBA Picks: Raptors to Upset Wizards as Road Dogs in Game 3 and Get Back in the Series

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, April 23, 2015 5:19 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 23, 2015 5:19 PM UTC

We’re going to examine Game 3 of the NBA playoff series between Toronto and Washington on Friday. Take the time to read our unique perspective on this contest that culminates with a point spread selection.

High Degree of Urgency in Game 3 for Raptors
The Washington Wizards return home on Friday at 8:05 PM ET for Game 3 of their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series versus Toronto with a 2-0 lead. According to the NBA odds at Pinnacle, Washington is a 4.0 point home favorite, and the posted total is 195.5.


Series Overview
The Wizards were a 93-86 winner in the opening game of the series, and then dominated Game 2 with a 117-106 win that was nowhere near as close as the final score indicates. There was a stark contrast in the way the first two games of the series were played. In Game 1, both teams shot less than 40% from the floor, combined for an enormous 191 field goal attempts, and the contest easily went under the total. In Game 2 the teams combined to shoot a sizzling 50.9% from the field despite there being only 159 field goal attempts, and the contest sailed over the number of 193.0.

Washington had their way on the glass in the first two games of the series, holding a huge 128-99 rebounding advantage. The Wizards are a +9.6 rebound per game differential in their previous five contests, and Toronto was -9.4 during that same time frame. Needless to say, the Raptors need to improve in this area starting on Thursday, or they once again will have an early first round exit from the playoffs.

Neither team was efficient from the free-throw line in Games 1 and 2. Washington went a dismal 32-49 (65.3%), and Toronto was 31-46 (67.4%). After seeing a total of just 29 free-throw attempts in the opening game of the series, the teams combined for a extremely high 66 tries in Game 2.


Home and Away Splits
The Toronto Raptors went over the total in 27 of 41-games (65.9%) on the road this season, and averaged a combined 208.8 points scored per contest. They’ve also seen ten of their previous fourteen away games go over the total. The Raptors went a very respectable 22-19 on the road during the regular season.

The Washington Wizards were a stellar 29-12 at home during the 2014-2015 NBA regular season campaign. The Wizards have seen eleven of their previous thirteen games at the Verizon Center in Washington go over the total.


Final Analysis
My experience indicates to me that the major sportsbooks are begging you to take the small home favorite in this contest. After all, they won the first two games of the series straight up as a road underdog, and did so in relatively easy fashion. They (Wizards) also possess a stellar home winning percentage of .707, and are laying a very small number with all being considered. This appears to be a sucker play on the home favorite, and I’m going the opposite way from one of my NBA picks for Friday.

NBA Pick: Play on Toronto +4.0 over Washington at Pinnacle

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