The Washington Wizards come into the play-in tournament as one of the hottest teams in basketball, but they still have to go on the road against the Boston Celtics to fight it out for the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. While the team out of the nation’s capital is in fine form, the C’s and their current roster of available players has definitely seen better days.
Free Picks: Boston Celtics vs. Washington Wizards
Celtics, Wizards Clash For East’s No. 7 Seed In Play-In Tourney (Regular Season Betting Record: 98-107)
The Celtics have struggled to find any kind of consistency this season, which speaks not only to several extended absences for key players, but also to a general lack of urgency and quality in many spots during this campaign. Both their best player (Jayson Tatum) and biggest trade deadline acquisition (Evan Fournier) contracted COVID-19 during the season and missed several games while dealing with the virus.
While they have still managed to put up some impressive individual performances after beating COVID, both players have been vocal about the struggles they’ve had since dealing with the virus, with Tatum stating he now uses an inhaler during and after games, something which he did not do previously.
Apart from them, Boston also missed Marcus Smart for about a month, Kemba Walker can’t get a consistent run of games going, and most importantly, they lost Jaylen Brown for the remainder of the season to a wrist injury last week. Brown is an integral part of Boston’s success, serving as the second-most important player after Tatum. The chasm between Brown and the next guy is what makes his absence so worrisome for Brad Stevens’ squad.
Even exciting young big man Robert Williams is going to be unsure to play for Boston on Tuesday, so we think the Wizards are the safer and smarter NBA pick—not to mention they’re offering a lot more value here. The Wiz have won six of their past 10 games, and their four losses came by a combined seven points. Three of those defeats were by a single point. The Wiz have been playing playoff caliber basketball for some time now.
Meanwhile, the Celtics have lost six of their past eight games as they struggle to figure out what to do without Brown in the mix. We like the determined Wizards to come in and take down the deflated Celtics at home in the TD Garden as one of our top picks, so we’re taking their moneyline at lovely +108 NBA odds.
Another of our best bets for today will concern the Brodie, Russell Westbrook. The 32-year-old has been on an insane run lately, picking up a triple double in 24 of his past 28 games. His 23.0 points, 14.0 dimes (nearly five ahead of the next closest guy), and 13.5 rebounds per contest over the past 23 games were a huge part of the 17-6 run that allowed the Wizards to squeeze into the play-in and eventually snag the eighth seed.
His points + assists + rebounds prop is sitting at 50.5, and based on those averages we like the over as another NBA pick. We’d expect him to elevate his game even more on Tuesday considering the big stage and the fact that the other half of Washington’s dynamic duo, Bradley Beal, is playing on a bum hamstring right now. Take the over on Brodie’s 50.5 points + assists + rebounds prop at solid -120 NBA odds.
Our third and final NBA pick for this play-in matchup will be on Boston’s big dog, Tatum. Without Brown in the lineup this season, Tatum has averaged 28.6 points per game, over two points above his overall regular season average of 26.4.
Kemba Walker will struggle against the big and pesky guards of Washington, so we expect Tatum to understand his responsibility as the team’s star and take the game by the scruff of the neck and hit the over on his 31.5 points prop at standard -120 NBA odds. We expect him to have a big night, but not big enough that it will overshadow Brodie or the Wiz.
- Washington is 8-1-1 ATS in their last 10 road games
- Washington is 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings
- Boston has lost 6 of their last 8 games
- Boston is 6-8 SU without Jaylen Brown this season
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The Los Angeles Clippers will renew hostilities with the Dallas Mavericks, who they dispatched in the first round of last season’s playoffs.
The Denver Nuggets and the league’s presumptive NBA MVP will look to get off to a strong start against the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1.
The Golden State Warriors will host the Memphis Grizzlies in the final play-in game, which will determine the Western Conference’s eighth seed.
The Washington Wizards will host the Indiana Pacers on Thursday night with the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference on the line.
Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve.