Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Wednesday.
The also-ran has a chance to take advantage of a slumping, short-handed playoff bound team Wednesday night when the Philadelphia 76ers (18-57, 6-31 away) pay a visit to the Washington Wizards (41-33, 26-12 home) at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC at 7:05 ET in a game available on Comcast SportsNet - Philadelphia.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Philadelphia as a double-digit underdog for this contest with the current line at +10 with odds of -108.
Washington Almost Certainly a Five-Seed
The Wizards seem to be almost certainly assured of a five-seed in the Eastern Conference, as they are five games ahead of the sixth seeded Milwaukee Bucks and four games behind the Chicago Bulls for a top-four seed with eight games remaining, but while these games during the latter stages of the season do not mean much standings-wise, that does not excuse the Wizards’ poor play as of late that has resulted in five losses in the last six games.
The 76ers meanwhile have also been the losing NBA picks in five of their last six games including the last three in a row, but even though they have the third worst record in the NBA at 18-57, this team has been far more competitive than the club that finished 19-63 last year, a straight up mark the Sixers can match with one more win in their last seven games, and they enter this contest on a 5-3 ATS run.
Bad Time for Shooting Slump
The Wizards come off of a 99-91 loss to the Houston Rockets here at the “Phone Booth” Sunday in a game were they shot a miserable 38.7 percent (29-for-75) from the field, resulting in those 91 points in what was a fast-paced game. The 76ers obviously play at a much slower pace than Houston does, so that could make it extremely difficult for the Wizards to cover double-digits without improving their shooting.
The problem is though that they are not showing any recent signs of doing so. You see, Washington is 20th in the NBA in scoring with 98.3 points per game and that average has been steadily dropping as of late, as the Wizards are averaging a lowly 93.0 points on just 41.0 percent shooting over their last seven games. And while Washington won two of those seven games, one win was by three points in overtime and the other was by four points.
Now, they are suddenly being asked to give double-digits? While this line may be understandable based on Philadelphia’s record, it still seems like a lot to cover, especially since the Sixers have actually been competitive here in Washington in recent years. Also keep in mind that the Wizards continue to have a thin bench these days, as forward Kris Humphries and guard Garrett Temple are out with hamstring injuries and big man DeJuan Blair is away from the team.
76ers Three Games over .500 ATS
And this year at least, the Sixers have been competitive against a lot of teams. In fact, you may be surprised to learn that Philadelphia has a winning 38-35-2 ATS record, and while the 76ers are 6-31 straight up on the road, they have covered their last three road games ATS including nearly shocking LeBron James and the Cavaliers in an 87-86 loss in Cleveland as 17-point underdogs on Sunday!
Philadelphia may have the least talent in the NBA, especially after trading away reigning Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams at the trading deadline, but Coach Brett Brown deserves a ton of credit for getting this extremely youthful team to play hard every night and the Sixers are starting to develop some nice young pieces to build around with their plethora of draft picks the next few years.
To wit, Kentucky product Nerlens Noel is averaging 10.0 points and 8.2 rebounds for the season and has recorded four double-doubles in his last five games, while point guard Ish Smith has averaged 13.4 points and 6.8 assists in his eight games since taking over as the starter.
Philadelphia Success in Nation’s Capital
Finally, we alluded to Philadelphia’s success here in DC in recent years earlier as they are now 4-1 ATS in their last five visits to Washington. Furthermore, the 76ers beat the Wizards outright 89-81 back in Philadelphia the last time these teams met on February 27th.
Now, Philadelphia may not match that outright win playing on the road this time around, but continued bad shooting by a Washington team with a bit of a depleted roster combined with continued good hustle from the scrappy young 76ers should lead to covering this double-digit point spread on Wednesday.
NBA Pick: 76ers +10 (-108)