Pick Wizards to Cover -4 ATS & Get the 'W' Over Raptors in Game 3

Nikki Adams

Friday, April 24, 2015 12:16 PM GMT

Washington Wizards have stunned the Toronto Raptors, taking a 2-0 lead in the series on the road. They return home for game 3 as the firm favorites, looking to extend their edge to 3-0. Can the Raptors spring a surprise in Washington? Here's our NBA betting preview along with our NBA picks.

Washington Wizards
The Wizards entered the NBA playoffs as the clear-cut long shots in the competition proper and the significant underdogs to Toronto Raptors in the first round. Two games into the series and the outcome is completely different than pre-postseason predictions expected. The Wizards are up 2-0 behind back-to-back wins in Toronto and in an enviable position to sweep the series in their ensuing home games.

It should come as no surprise that the Wizards are firm favourites to win game 3 at -180 NBA odds. Nor that they are matched as the 4-point home faves with a commanding 2-0 lead. It's still surprising that they are in such a position though. The form they've shown in Toronto to get their postseason bid off the mark belies their regular season, which saw them finish just 17-24 SU on the road and 16-24-1 ATS.

They won the first game 93-86 all while matched as the 4-point road underdogs. In game 2, they crushed the Raptors 117-106 all while matched as the 5-point road underdogs. And with the kind of momentum they've been able to produce, they are in an enviable position returning home. It remains to be seen whether the Raptors have an answer in game 3.

Want a second opinion? Here's another NBA pick for this Raptors/Wizards matchup

Raptors Must Win
If Toronto are to stand a chance in the NBA playoffs, they must win game 3. The alternative is the proverbial playoff sinkhole, a 3-0 deficit, climbing out of which is no mean feat. As it is, the Raptors are matched as the +160 underdogs to win game 3.

By the stats, they Raptors have a 50-50 shot to come through for their fans in game 3. They finished the regular season with 22-19 SU record and a 20-20-1 ATS record, highlighted by a 1.8-point margin of victory.

Home advantage couldn't have gone worse than if they'd scripted a disaster for themselves. As if things weren't bad enough, Kyle Lowry suffered a shin injury and may miss game 3 altogether. Then again the star guard has been conspicuously off form in the NBA playoffs, failing to make an impression in the first two games that is in tune to his lofty standards.

The onus isn't only Lowry. The entire team is coming up short in key areas. Williams is struggling with the long ball while Derozan is inconsistent, going through good stretches to bad stretches.

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NBA Betting Verdict:
Hitting the panic button on the Raptors' postseason is premature because they still have a notional shot of getting back into the series. But they'll have to play a whole lot better than they did when they had home advantage. Somehow that smacks of wishful thinking.

The Wizards are proving to be contenders in the early rounds of the NBA playoffs. They have the confidence behind the two road wins to build on in game 3, with their home fans this time providing all the disruption and noise for the visitors. At -180 NBA odds to win outright, the Wizards appear to be the correct NBA pick.

Where Raptors' fans might feel there is value is against the spread. There's going to be a lot of pressure on the Raptors to give the Wizards a run for their money as the 4-point underdogs. But the Raptors were listless in the first two games and without their stars producing at the requisite level, even covering as the 4-point underdogs appears to be beyond them in our opinion.

NBA Picks: Wizards -180 and -4.0

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