It is that time of the year and the NBA playoffs have arrived. There are a lot of really good match ups this year and Washington vs. Toronto is no exception. I am taking the plus money line on the Washington Wizards in this matchup. Read more here and add the Wizards on the money line to your NBA picks.
The Raptors have beaten the Wizards 6 out of the last 7 times the last two years. But a lot of those games have been pretty tight and I expect most of these games will go down to wire, for me that is more reason to take the plus money line. With Lowry back now after injury it seems Toronto might be primed for a run in the Eastern Conference. NBA odds makers have opened up this game at a -4 making Toronto the favorite, which makes perfect sense with them being at home for the opening game of the series. Complementing Lowry in the back court is Demar Derozen, a very good two guard, both Lowry and Derozen are very capable on the offensive end with Lowry averaging just below 18 points a game and Derozen a bit above 20. Putting them in check should most likely go to John Wall and Bradley Beal of the Wizards, but I can see them making some switches depending on the overall match ups. Offensively they also can both score with Wall averaging just below 18 a game, and Beal at about 15 per game and shooting over 40% from beyond the arc (his strength).
The Other Factors
Toronto has a great sixth man in Williams but in the post they don’t have any one dominant player, Valanciunas is decent and they do have depth in to get some boards in Johnson and Patterson. I think the guard match ups will be what everyone will be looking at but in my opinion this series will be won both defensively and in the post. Gortat, Humphries and Hilario are going to have to play tremendous defense and limit any second chances for the Raptors. On the year the Raptors are ranked 15th in the league in offensive boards at 10.7 per game so there is good chance the Wizards can limit them to as many one shot possessions as possible. This is crucial to do against an offense as good as Toronto, on the year they are the fourth ranked offense in the league at 104 points a game and they have shot 45.5%from the field which ranks them 12th.
I am Taking the Better Defensive Team
This is the main reason in backing the Wizards in this spot, they are the better defensive team, period. Offensively though they are solid ranked 6th in the league this year shooting 46.2% from the field. Actually Washington is not that far off on the offensive end in most statistics when compared to Toronto, but defensively we start to see quite the difference. Scoring defense, Washington ranked 10th, Toronto 19th, defensive field goal shooting percent Washington ranked 2nd, Toronto 26th. From beyond the arc defensive percent they are tied, total opponent rebounds per game Washington ranked 8th, Toronto 14th. For most defensive stats Washington is either ranked much higher or the discrepancy is not that much.
It is going to be interesting to see how these teams come out and what type of tempo is set. The NBA odds makers have to make the Raptors the favorite at home but this small line is pretty telling about the respect they have for the Wizards. There is good value for them in this spot to win straight so I am taking them on the plus money line. For my NBA picks, I am going to back the better defensive team in this first game to shock the Raptors at home and take a 1-0 series lead.
NBA Pick: Washington Wizards plus money line