There are only four spots available in the Eastern Conference’s playoff play-in tournament, with one each given to the seventh through 10th seeds. As of this writing, the Indiana Pacers sit in the ninth slot, and the Washington Wizards sit in the much more precarious 10th spot, a game and a half behind their opponents on the Capital One Arena floor on Monday night.
Free Picks: Washington Wizards vs. Indiana Pacers
Wiz, Pacers Meet In D.C. As Fight For Play-In Spots Heats Up (Season Betting Record: 91-97)
It seemed as though, shocking as it was, a team led by the league’s second best scorer (31.0 points per game) Bradley Beal and former NBA MVP Russell Westbrook would fall short not just of the playoffs, but of the newly minted play-in tournament as well. But talents like that are difficult to keep down for long.
The Wizards have been one of the best teams in the NBA since a four-game losing streak that ended on April 5th. In the interim, D.C.’s team has gone 12-3 straight up and against the spread, a run which, along with some rough spells from the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors, allowed the Wiz to springboard back into the playoff picture.
Charles Barkley may say a lot of wild things, but when he said that no one in the Eastern Conference (save maybe the Brooklyn Nets) wants to see the Wizards make the play-in tournament, he was spot on. If they make it, you best believe they are going to find a way to make it into the playoffs, and like the Round Mound of Rebound also said, no one wants them in a first round matchup either.
Beal has been an absolute revelation over the past two seasons, scoring 25+ points in 68 of his past 79 games. That is what you call consistent scoring, and with arguably the Indiana Pacers’ best player Malcolm Brogdon unsure but closer to unlikely to play on Monday night, it seems that D.C.’s guards might have free reign.
Caris LeVert has been great since debuting for Indiana following a scary health concern, but we don’t see him and Domantas Sabonis being able to match the output of Washington’s duo. Sabonis missed about two weeks with back spasms and came back with a monster 26-point, 19-rebound, 14-assist performance in a 57-point win for his squad in their last outing.
That kind of production is not usually mimicked in back-to-back games, so we think Sabonis is due for a return back to the mean on Monday night. Now, that law of averages and talk of the mean applies to most players and teams, but there are some that simply defy that logic. One of those is Russell Westbrook.
Everyone thought that this dude was done, seemingly being traded to the Wizards to waste away his remaining days in the NBA, but instead, he has put together arguably one of the best campaigns of his illustrious career as he continues to creep up on Oscar Robertson’s all time triple-double record: The Big O has 181, Brodie sits at 177 as of this writing.
Russ is also leading the league with 31 triple doubles this year, which is more than twice the amount that the second place Nikola Jokic (15) has amassed. Westbrook has seemingly been let loose lately, however, playing 37.6 minutes per game in April, second-most in the NBA. Brodie has also put together a triple double in 20 of his team’s last 25 contests, including in 10 of his team’s past 12 wins.
The Pacers are good enough to make it into the play-in but the Wiz have what it takes to make it out and be a real threat in the Eastern playoffs. We’d expect them to show that on Monday as they continue their scorching run as our NBA pick for this clash. Washington is heavily favored for this game, so we’ll go with a -3.5 point spread at decent -128 NBA odds as one of our best bets for today.
- Washington is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 following a SU loss
- Washington is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 against a team with a losing record
- Indiana is 3-5 ATS in their last 8 games overall
- Washington is 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games overall
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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.