Welcome to the Monday, 10/22/18 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one game for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager that we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Monday Night’s NBA Betting Pick:
Washington Wizards at Portland Trail Blazers
Over/Under Total: 226
The Wizards have somewhat surprisingly opened the season 0-2, dropping each contest to a fellow Eastern Conference playoff team from last season. In the opener, it was the Heat nipping Washington 113-112 with a Kelly Olynyk tip-in 0.3 seconds before the buzzer. Then, the Raptors edged them by a 117-113 margin on Saturday night. The Wizards played both games short-handed. Dwight Howard has yet to play due to a back injury. He didn’t make the trip to the West Coast for Monday’s game, either.
Given the scrambling they’ve had to do at the center position, it’s noteworthy the Wizards have been competitive. Against the Heat, Washington limited Miami to 39.2 percent shooting while posting a 46.9 percent success rate. Versus the Raptors, the Wizards goaded Toronto into 17 turnovers. They were as close as 115-113 with nine seconds remaining before a pair of free throws put them away.
The battle of All-Star backcourts between Washington and Portland has frequently gone the former’s way over recent seasons. The Wizards are 3-1 over the last two seasons against the Trail Blazers. They even notched a 14-point win last year at Moda Center without John Wall (knee). Given that recent success, the numbers for the Wizards’ top three healthy players against the Blazers since the 2016-17 campaign are worth highlighting:
2016-17: 31.5 points (on 57.5 percent shooting), 8.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds, and 1.0 steal (two games)
(Did not play in either 2017-18 game)
2016-17: 25.5 points (on 55.2 percent shooting), 5.5 assists, 1.5 rebounds, 2.0 steals (two games)
2017-18: 38.5 points (on 50.8 percent shooting), 4.5 assists, 2.0 rebounds, 1.0 steal, 1.0 block (two games)
Otto Porter, Jr.:
2016-17: 15.0 points (on 52.2 percent shooting), 7.0 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 steals (two games)
2017-18: 13.0 points (on 43.5 percent shooting), 10.0 rebounds, 1.5 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.5 blocks (two games)
By the Numbers: As previously mentioned, the Wizards have lost only once to the Trail Blazers over the last two seasons. That defeat was by three points. Washington was also 13-12 against the number as a road underdog last season.
The Final Word: The Trail Blazers are 2-0 and have beaten the Lakers and Spurs by nine and 13 points, respectively. They’ve looked impressive and are at full health. However, this is a matchup in which Washington has thrived over the last two seasons, even without Wall.
Moreover, although not having Howard is a negative, the Wizards have yet to actually play a regular-season game with him. Therefore, they don’t have to adjust to deal with his absence. Washington also improved its depth this offseason with two key veteran signings: Austin Rivers and Jeff Green. Both players have already begun paying dividends. Alongside the star players’ contributions, they offer the win-hungry Wizards enough off the bench to help keep this game under a slightly elevated five-point spread.
The Lean: Wizards +5