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Wizards vs. Raptors NBA Playoff Pick – April 17th

I should have had a win in game one of the first round battle between the Washington Wizards and Toronto Raptors. Washington was giving Toronto a good fight all game long and simply collapsed in the final moments. Despite the crater job, they still could have easily topped their +8 point spread and honestly, they should have.

It didn’t happen, but we earned a push. I’ll take that, while I also nailed the Pacers beating the spread (+6.5) against the Cleveland Cavaliers in their first game. I did suffer a loss last night when the 76ers failed to cover a 7-point spread, but I’m not sure many people were on Miami in game two.

Tonight I’m again covering the Eastern Conference and bettors will have two games to work with. I see a tight game between the Bucks and Celtics, but Vegas is calling that one close to the chest. Milwaukee is a fun upset pick (+110), but Boston is still the favorite and are good at home. The spread (+2.5) is a bit too tight for my liking, too, so overall this is a game I’d shy away from.

If I had to place a bet there, I’d just play Milwaukee straight up. If you’re betting on them to keep it within +2.5 you’re basically hoping for a win anyways, and +110 isn’t a terrible price given how hard they pushed the Kyrie Irving-less Celtics in game one.

While that’s one bet to consider, the play tonight for me is going back to the well with the Wiz. John Wall (knee) admitted recently he’s still working his way back to 100%, but he was pretty darn good as a creator in game one and honestly, the Wizards could have won that game.

I don’t need them to win here, but Bovada and other basketball betting sites hand them a solid +7 point spread again. They provided a push in game one and I thought they were a fantastic play and nothing changes as they attempt to avoid an 0-2 hole. Let’s take a closer look at this matchup:

Washington Wizards (+7, -110) @ Toronto Raptors (-7, -110) Total: 215 (-105/-115)

I do understand the fear of the Raptors at home. Toronto was quite dominant there in terms of getting wins (34-7) during the regular season and they ended a nasty game one playoff drought in their first game of this series.

They’re the favorite for a lot of reasons and I’m not really seeking a straight up pick here (although Washington at +245 is a fun play).

That being said, the same pitch I delivered going into game one still resonates here. John Wall and company aren’t really an 8-seed. At full strength, this is probably a #4 or #5 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Wizards have a very dynamic and explosive offense and they also have the tools to defend at a solid level.

Going into Air Canada Centre and stealing a win is going to be tough, but Washington literally just proved in the series opener that they can control the tempo of this game at times and they almost beat the spread in their first try.

Toronto isn’t necessarily going to take a break going into game one, but they absolutely are vulnerable to a bit of a letdown in this spot. Winning that first game got a monkey off of their back and I think they could be at risk of taking their foot off of the gas in a sense.

Washington split the season series in this matchup and knows they can hang with the Raptors. The ATS data supports them, too, as Washington was a problem for Vegas as an underdog this year (19-12 against the spread) and they weren’t half bad (13-10) in that same position on the road.

In game one, the Wizards led by four at the break and for the most part did as they pleased offensively. As a whole, they shot nearly 48% from the floor and 38% from long range. The main problems were their overall defense and the fact that they crumbled in the clutch.

I expect Washington to come out with something to prove in game two and if nothing else, I’m betting on John Wall not failing so miserably when the game is relying on him late. You can go the extra mile and book the Wiz win if you’re feeling saucy, but I love the points here.

Pick: Washington Wizards +7 (-110)

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