Washington Wizards are the NBA Pick in Canada vs. Raptors

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, February 11, 2015 6:34 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 6:34 PM UTC

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 underdogs could hold value north of the border Wednesday night in a matchup of two teams that have regained their good forms following recent slumps when those Washington Wizards (33-20, 13-12 away) pay a visit to the Toronto Raptors (35-17, 20-9 home) at Air Canada Centre in Toronto, ON Canada at 7:35 ET in a game available on Comcast SportsNet - DC.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Washington as a moderate road underdog for this contest with the current line at +5 with odds of -110.

Both Teams Among Top Four Eastern Seeds
The Raptors remain the second seeds in the Eastern Conference after a big 87-82 win over the defending NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs here at home on Sunday, although they still trail the top seeded Atlanta Hawks by 7½ games. Toronto appears to be a certainty to get home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs as it really has no serious challengers for the Atlantic Division title, with the Brooklyn Nets currently 14 games out in second place at 21-31!

Washington would also have home court in the first round if the season ended today despite being in second place in the Southeast Division and a full 10 games behind those Hawks, as the Wizards are tied for the third seed with the Central Division leading Chicago Bulls after being the winning NBA picks in their last two games after snapping a five-game losing streak.

Back-to-Back Wins vs. Western Conference
The Raptors had been leveling off after a great start this season and there were some reports surfacing about some bickering in the clubhouse, but they probably feel a lot better about themselves now following back-to-back wins over teams from the much tougher Western Conference, as the win over the defending champions Sunday was preceded by a 123-107 triumph over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.

However, the Clippers were in the midst of a bad slump themselves at the time and for whatever reason have been struggling vs. Eastern Conference teams all season, and then the Spurs uncharacteristically went 31-for-93, 33.3 percent from the field in the game on Sunday, enabling the Raptors to win while scoring just 87 points.

So those wins over the West may actually have the Raptors a little more overvalued here than they should be, and that is not to mention a possible letdown after beating two marquee teams and now facing a Washington club that Toronto has swept in two meetings so far this season, first winning 103-84 here at Air Canada way back in November and then again 120-116 in overtime on the road in DC less than two weeks ago on January 31st.

Underrated Washington Defense
The Wizards could be primed for double-revenge here though especially considering how well the defense has played in the last two wins while holding the Brooklyn Nets to 77 points on 33.8 percent shooting and then most recently the Orlando Magic to 80 points on 39.8 percent shooting on Monday, quickly putting the five-game losing streak that preceded those two wins in the rearview mirror.

And that defense was not totally fluky either. Yes the Wizards have an MVP candidate in John Wall that is averaging a double-double with 17.3 points and 10.2 assists while also adding 4.5 rebounds per game from the guard spot and he comes off of a triple-double vs. the Magic on Monday, but the underrated Washington defense often gets overlooked.

The Wizards are allowing only 97.4 points per game thanks to ranking sixth in the NBA in field goal percentage allowed at 43.7 percent and ninth in three-point defense at 34.4 percent, and Washington is fifth in the league in defensive efficiency allowing 99.9 points per 100 possessions, making it one of only five teams allowing less than one point per possession.

Struggling with Better Teams at Home
Finally, the win over the Spurs marked just the second time in the last nine occasions that the Raptors covered the spread at home vs. a team with a winning road record, and the Wizards fit that ilk with a 13-12 straight up record away from home.

Look for that pattern to resume after the San Antonio anomaly and for Washington to cover the spread and quite possibly even pull an upset when it visits Toronto on Wednesday.

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NBA Pick: Wizards +5 (-110)

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