Mavs vs. Wizards
After a thrilling game Monday night in Minnesota, the Mavs head over the east coast for a showdown with the Wizards. Washington also won Monday, and it evened their record to 14-14 SU. Now they face one another tonight in the first NBA game of 2014, and the NBA Odds have the Wizards as -1 ½ favorites, with a total of 205.
Washington might want to petition the league for a transfer out of the Southeast Division and into the Atlantic, because the Wizards would be running away with that division this season. However, I could rant for pages and probably hours on how the NBA needs to nix the division system all together. That rant aside, I do think Washington has some unique value in this game.
While Washington’s defense hasn’t been exactly nailed down over their first 28 games, they still are an improving defensive team. However they can beat you multiple ways, and I think I have said this before, but John Wall needs to be an All Star this season. He is turning into a star, and will control this game and more importantly, give Washington a much-needed offensive and defensive counter to the red-hot, Monta Ellis. The Wizards also have several guys they can throw at Dirk Nowitzki defensively.
Dallas has won and covered their last two meetings with the Wizards, including one already this season in Dallas. However I see a different outcome tonight. The Wizards are flirting with being a top 10 home defense this season, and their depth should take care of the Mavs tonight in Washington.
My Pick: Wizards -1 ½
Pacers vs. Raptors
Indiana is on a quest to be the best record in the NBA, and they have another chance to continue their march tonight in Toronto. They could also do the other four Atlantic Division teams a big favor by beating the division-leading Raptors (who have a record of 14-15 SU) in Toronto.
Online sportsbooks have the Pacers as -5 ½ road favorites, however I am a bit more intrigued by the total, which sits at 193 points. Both of these teams had to play last night and travel for this game, and although that’s not a great way to ring in the New Year, I think it may have some unique affect on the betting value tonight.
While Indiana had the afternoon game at home yesterday, the Raptors played last night in Chicago, so they probably celebrated the New Year on a plane or bus. There could have been some excess partying last night for some of these guys, and it could mean a lower score in Toronto tonight considering their both played yesterday.
If there is a 2013 hangover, the under looks like it has great betting value. The Pacers are of course one of, if not the best defensive team in the NBA, while the Raptors aren’t bad in that department either. Toronto has a top 10 ranked defense this season, and while it gets a little worse at home, I doubt that matters tonight.
Both of these teams held their opponents to under 80 points yesterday, and I doubt this game gets any higher than the low 90s. The under cashed in their first meeting this season, and has cashed in four of the last five times Indiana and Toronto have played. Also, when favored on the road this season, the Pacers are 5-3 cashing the under.
My Pick: Under 193