NBA Picks: Wizards vs. Bucks to go Over

Jason Lake

Saturday, March 8, 2014 1:37 PM GMT

The Washington Wizards have done quite well for themselves this year. They can take a step closer to the playoffs by pounding the Milwaukee Bucks and the NBA lines on Saturday.

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to March 6 inclusive:

76-57-1 ATS

20-17 Totals

The Washington Wizards knew this opportunity would present itself. The Eastern Conference had so many bad teams willing to punt the 2013-14 regular season, the Wizards can waltz right into the playoffs if they want to. So instead of joining the Tank Brigade, Washington has made a few upgrades here and there, and voilà, here are the Wiz in fifth place in the East at 32-29 SU and 34-26-1 ATS.

Washington’s march to the postseason continues on Saturday (9:00 p.m. ET) with a road game against the last-place Milwaukee Bucks (12-49 SU, 25-36 ATS), who are coming off Friday’s competitive 112-104 loss to the New Orleans Pelicans (–7.5 away). So close! The Bucks may be a laughingstock, but they’re also 10-5 ATS in their last 15 games. Saturday’s NBA odds board has Milwaukee getting eight points with a total of 203.5, up from 202.5 at the open.

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The Cupcake Is a Lie

The last time we visited the Wiz, they were double-digit faves against the tankalicious Philadelphia 76ers (+11.5) at home, and they got the job done, winning 122-103 on the back of Trevor Ariza (17.0 PER) and his career-high 40 points. Then Washington had its winning streak broken by the Memphis Grizzlies. However, when it was Cupcake Time again versus the Utah Jazz (+8 away), the Wizards tucked right in and devoured Utah 104-91. Mmmmm… cupcakes.

So let’s fade the holy hell out of those Bucks, right? Well, maybe. The Wizards, as you might expect from a young .500-level team, are crushing opponents with losing records at 18-10 ATS. But look more closely: the Wiz are also 4-10 ATS when favored by at least five points, and 1-5 ATS when laying nine points or more. That win over Philadelphia was their only cover. And did I mention the Bucks are 10-5 ATS since the beginning of February?

2013-14 NBA Championship Betting Futures

R-A-M-O-N

It’s almost an insult to compare the Bucks to the Sixers. Milwaukee may have the worst record in the NBA, but Philadelphia has by far the worst point differential at minus-11.2, three full points below the Bucks. When these two teams played on Feb. 24, Milwaukee cruised to a 130-110 victory as a 3-point road chalk. The Bucks also have home wins over the Jazz (+1), the Orlando Magic (–3) and the New York Knicks (–8.5) during this highly profitable ATS run.

From and NBA betting perspective, Milwaukee’s 2013-14 season has had two full cycles of losing and winning. The Bucks started things out at 5-13 ATS, stabilized things for a while at 7-6 ATS, and then fell off the wagon again at 4-14 ATS before going on this current 15-5 ATS run. Simple market ebb and flow, right? Actually, Larry Sanders (14.0 PER) has something to do with it. It’s not a perfect overlap, but these cycles do correspond somewhat to his injury absences this year. The Bucks were 3-20 SU and 9-14 ATS in Sanders’ 23 appearances.

We also need to say something about Ramon Sessions (15.2 PER) here. He was reunited with the Bucks at the trade deadline in exchange for Luke Ridnour (9.2 PER) and Gary Neal (11.4 PER), and in his first six games with the Bucks, Sessions posted a 19.6 PER while playing over 23 minutes per game. He had another 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting against the Pelicans. Hmmm… so Sessions comes over to the Bucks, and all seven of his games go OVER the posted total? There’s your NBA bet for Saturday.

NBA Pick: Take OVER 203.5 (–104) at Marathon