Wolves-Wizards: Washington Treading Water Without Wall

Jason Lake

Monday, March 12, 2018 11:33 PM UTC

Monday, Mar. 12, 2018 11:33 PM UTC

The Washington Wizards have played well without John Wall, but their basketball odds for Tuesday’s matchup with the Minnesota Timberwolves are a bit too generous.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Washington WizardsFree NBA Pick: Minnesota +4.5Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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The Washington Wizards weren’t supposed to win without their best player. John Wall has been out since Jan. 25 after undergoing surgery on his left knee, but not only have the Wizards (38-29 SU, 32-34-1 ATS) remained on top of the Southeast Division they’ve also gone 12-7 SU and 12-6-1 ATS without Wall in the mix. Remarkable.

Also missing their superstar: the Minnesota Timberwolves (39-29 SU, 31-35-2 ATS). Life hasn’t been quite as good for the Wolves since Jimmy Butler has surgery on his right knee; they’re 3-3 SU and ATS without their linchpin, and they’ve opened as 4.5-point road dogs on the NBA odds board for Tuesday’s matchup (7 p.m. ET, NBA-TV) with the Wiz. Looks like a bad situation for our lupine friends.

Will the Wolves Survive?

Or maybe not. According to the hoop nerds at FiveThirtyEight, Washington projects to win Tuesday’s game 58 percent of the time, for a CARMELO-based spread of –2. ESPN’s Basketball Power Index feels exactly the same way. These projections will have a rough time dealing with the absences of Wall and Butler, but they do give us a baseline expectation for this contest.

Overall, the Wolves have certainly played better basketball this year. They have a point differential of plus-2.6, compared to plus-1.4 for Washington. If you prefer something more advanced, Basketball Reference has Minnesota at plus-2.74 on their Simple Rating System, which adjusts for strength of schedule, while the Wizards check in at plus-1.21. Yes, playing in the Western Conference still matters.

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BROKEN ANKLES: Rodney McGruder decided to become Allen Iverson for a night and hit Ramon Sessions with the ~dirty~ crossover... pic.twitter.com/M5YdtXrgxY

— 7 Sports Xtra (@7SportsXtra) March 12, 2018
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We also have to wonder if the Wiz have run out of gas. They’re 2-4 SU and 2-3-1 ATS in their last six games, most of them against a tougher level of competition than they’re used to. Bradley Beal (plus-2.1 BPM) has done an amazing job of stepping up in Wall’s absence, and Tomas Satoransky (plus-1.1 BPM) has been a pleasant surprise starting alongside Beal, but Washington has also had to lean on veteran guard Jodie Meeks (minus-2.9 BPM), and they’ve signed Ramon Sessions (minus-8.0 BPM) to a second 10-day contract. I think we’ll put the Wolves in our NBA picks, thank you kindly.

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