Washington Wizards the NBA Pick Down on the Bayou

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, January 5, 2015 5:42 PM GMT

Monday, Jan. 5, 2015 5:42 PM GMT

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 Monday.

 

We look for one of the better teams in the Eastern Conference to end a Western road trip on a positive note Monday night when those Washington Wizards (22-11, 8-7 away) pay a visit to the New Orleans Pelicans (17-16, 11-4 home) at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, LA at 8:05 ET in a game televised nationally on NBA TV.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Washington as a small road underdog for this contest with the current line at +2 with odds of +100.


Lost Three Straight Out West
This is an important game for the Wizards because while they are just three games behind the team with the best record in the East in the Atlanta Hawks in the Southeast Division, they would like to end this five-game Western trip in a positive note as after the trip began with a nice one-point win at Houston, Washington has since loss three straight games vs. stiff competition at Dallas, Oklahoma City and San Antonio.

The Pelicans meanwhile are in last place in a Southwest Division that is the toughest in the NBA, as New Orleans is not you garden variety last-place team with a winning NBA picks record of 17-16 in a division where every teams is over .500, and the Pelicans are 11-4 here at the Smoothie King Center.

Still, with no disrespect intended, the Pelicans are probably a notch below the three teams Washington just lost to and the Wizards need this win to feel a bit better about themselves after failing to validate their excellent record attained mostly vs. East teams vs. the better Western clubs.


Day Off Helps
It must be pointed out that the schedule-makers have not been kind to the Wizards in recent days as Washington played a back-to-back Friday and Saturday vs. a Thunder team now back at full health with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook back (and an Oklahoma City team 13-1 this season with both of them in the lineup), and then the defending NBA Champion Spurs on Saturday!

To their credit the Wizards hung tough in both games, first getting a ‘push’ on the seven-point spread while losing 109-102 at OKC and then trailing by only one point entering the final quarter in San Antonio the next night before understandably running out of gas and still losing by a respectable 101-92 score. The off day Sunday should have been a big help to Washington, as is this seeming drop in class.

And with fresher legs, we may now see the underrated Washington defense play up to its potential. Yes the Wizards are more renowned for having an MVP candidate on offense in John Wall, who is averaging a double-double for the season with 17.2 points and 10.3 assists while also adding 4.5 rebounds from the guard spot and 2.0 steals, but often overlooked is a Wizards’ defense ranked sixth in the NBA in points against at 97.8 per game.


Battle of MVP Candidates?
Speaking of MVP candidates, the Pelicans have one too in Anthony Davis, and also keep in mind that despite being last in the Southwest, New Orleans is still only 1½ games behind the Phoenix Suns. Thus it is still entirely possible for the Pelicans to finish in last-place and yet still make the playoffs and have the league MVP, which would make them the first last-place team in history in any professional sport to accomplish both those things the same year!

Still, even with Davis putting up monstrous numbers on both ends every night while averaging 23.8 points, 10.5 rebounds, 2.9 blocks and 1.7 steals, New Orleans is still a disappointing 13th in the league in scoring with 101.9 points per game, which unfortunately is just fractionally more than the 101.3 points per game they are allowing defensively to rank 21st in points against.

The Wizards may elect to single cover Davis here and just concentrate on stopping the rest of the Pelicans or they can smother him with multiple coverages and dare one of the other New Orleans players to try and beat them. Neither option seems conducive to New Orleans reaching its season scoring average vs. a quality Washington defense, and the Pelicans’ task may have gotten tougher with Tyreke Evans now questionable with an illness.


Wizards Won Last Six Meetings
Finally, the Wizards have not had much difficulty with the Pelicans in recent years going a perfect 6-0 straight up the last six meetings. This streak includes three wins here in New Orleans including a 102-96 triumph on the most recent visit here last season.

Look for that mastery over New Orleans to continue for at least one more game as Washington ends its Western Conference road trip on a positive note on Monday.

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NBA Pick: Wizards +2 (+100)

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