Wizards vs. Nets NBA Pick – December 12th

Late scratches are ruining the NBA. That applies to daily fantasy basketball, as well as NBA betting. I’m still stomaching the losses as they come, but it’s been two straight days where serious scratches to stars like Joel Embiid and Kyrie Irving have contributed to tough losses.

The bad luck has led to a four-game drought and dropped my season NBA picks record to a paltry 11-12. Some terrible luck has played into this pedestrian start, but your record is your record.

Last night was a crazy night in the NBA with three huge upsets shocking the betting landscape, though, so I’m not sure I was exiting with a win, regardless. The only really good call that worked out was the Over for the Pelicans vs. Rockets, which featured nearly 160 points at the break.

It’s onward and upward on Tuesday, though, as there are 7 new games to deal with and Kawhi Leonard is reportedly set for his return.

While I think the Spurs deserve a look (opening line is -7.5 against Dallas) tonight, my favorite matchup to target goes down in Brooklyn, where the Nets host the Washington Wizards. I’m mildly interested in this game even if star Wizards point guard John Wall doesn’t show up, but let’s be clear that I’m banking on him suiting up when vouching for this game.

There is potential for serious value tonight, as the Wizards only need to cover a small -3 spread at Bovada and other NBA betting sites. The Nets tend to play solid ball at home, but if Wall returns and the Wiz are at full strength, it’s hard to hate the value in this spot.

Washington Wizards (-3) @ Brooklyn Nets (+3) Total: 213

I really like two bets in this matchup; the Over and Washington to cover. Bradley Beal has been insane lately (averaging over 36 points per game across his last three starts) so I’d be close to rolling with Washington even if Wall stays sidelined. Beal is clearly in a groove, while this is an advantageous matchup for everyone in D.C. due to the Nets ranking 3rd in pace and 20th in defensive efficiency.

A trade for Jahlil Okafor potentially helps the Nets with their offense down low, but it’s unclear what the former Sixers big man’s role will be in his Brooklyn debut. Regardless, Okafor isn’t known for his defense and his matchup with Marcin Gortat isn’t exactly ideal. In other words, Okafor shouldn’t provide Brooklyn with a big boost in this game and the edge still resides with the Wizards.

That’s true from pretty much every angle, too. Washington has stayed the course (5-5 over their last 10 games) while Wall has been out, but if he returns they’d obviously look a lot stronger on paper. The Wiz have been a middling bunch (8-7) on the road, but that’s still a lot better than most teams can say. They’ll prepare to take it to the road in a series they’ve dominated thoroughly as winners of 7 in a row.

The ATS data doesn’t exactly aid Washington, but I’m not sure it seals their fate, either. The Wizards aren’t terrible (14-12) overall against the spread and they’ve broken even (2-2) ATS as road favorites. Brooklyn, meanwhile, has been quite sharp (16-9) against the spread as a whole and has been decent (3-2) as the home underdog against the spread.

I think bettors get a wash here, though, especially if Wall returns. The Wizards are without a doubt the more talented team and the return of Wall will make them more cohesive on both ends of the floor. Bradley Beal is also dialed in at an elite level right now, while a -3 spread is not asking a lot for the clear favorite in a series they’ve owned for over two years.

The Nets might be a fun play if they had a little more value or were a bit healthier, but I don’t like this matchup for them. I’ll take the Wiz to cover and snap this nasty skid I have going here.

Pick: Washington Wizards (-3)

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