The reigning kings of the east head up to D.C. to take on the Washington Wizards on Saturday night, who will be playing the second game of a back-to-back. The Wizards started off pretty rough this season, losing their first five contests, then they came back with two impressive wins before dropping another two in a row, most recently against the Boston Celtics. The Miami Heat, meanwhile, have dropped two of their last three contests and will be looking to get back on the horse against this struggling Wizards team.
Free Picks: Washington Wizards vs. Miami Heat
Heat To Take Advantage Of Tired Wizards (Season Betting Record: 10-11)
The Wizards come into this game at something of a disadvantage, having played on Friday night against the Boston Celtics in a 116-197 loss for D.C. It’s not a sure thing that a team playing the second leg of a back-to-back against a team that’s had at least three full nights of rest will struggle, but considering the way Washington lost on Friday night, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Russell Westbrook, Bradley Beal and company with some tired legs come Saturday night.
The Wiz were leading in that game in Boston for just two seconds in the first quarter, chasing the C’s for the rest of the 48 minute contest. The Celtics actually ran their lead up to 28 at one point, but the Wizards showed a lot of heart in fighting back to make it just a four-point game with seven and a half minutes remaining. They were, however, unable to complete the comeback after expending so much energy even getting it that close in the first place.
Strangely, the Wizards have only played the Heat twice over the past year, with the two squads splitting those games both against the spread and straight up. The Wizards are definitely better than their 2-7 record would suggest, but coming up against an attacking scorer like Jimmy Butler who lives for contact is not exactly ideal for them: the Wiz are committing a league-high 25.0 fouls per game. Jimmy Buckets should be licking his chops.
Another reason we really like the Heat -1.5 Point Spread at -111 odds on 22Bet in what is essentially a pick’em matchup is the lackluster defense the Wizards have been playing this season, allowing opponents to hit field goals at a 49.7 percent clip (third-highest in the NBA) which bodes well for a sweet-shooting Miami team who are hitting 47.8 percent of their shots, good for a tie for seventh in the league.
The Heat are also a much stingier defense, allowing opponents to shoot just 43.3 percent from the field this season, the third lowest mark in the league. With the defensively inferior Wizards huffing and puffing on that end of the floor, expect Butler and the Heat to pull away late to win this Saturday night showdown.
- The UNDER has hit in Miami’s last 4 straight games
- The OVER has hit in 4 of Washington’s past 5 games
- The OVER has hit in 8 of the past 10 meetings between these teams
- Both teams have scored 100+ points in each of Washington’s 9 games 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.