Welcome to the Wednesday, March 27 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet 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 we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Season to Date:
ATS Leans/Picks: 50-38-1 (.568)
Moneyline: 30-9 (.769)
Over/Under: 28-15-1 (.651)
3/27/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Washington Wizards (30-45) vs. Phoenix Suns (17-58)
Late-season interconference games between non-playoff contenders often make for unmotivated play and unpredictable wagering scenarios. However, I consider Wednesday’s Wizards–Suns tilt an exception. The two fast-paced squads are highly capable of putting on ABA-style scoring fests due to their capable offensive pieces and shoddy defenses. Each squad’s style lends itself to high-scoring battles. The Wizards play at the sixth-highest road pace (106.2 possessions per game) in the NBA. The Suns counter with 104.8 possessions per game, just outside the top 10.
Then, no team allows more than Washington’s 119.3 points per road contest. Unsurprisingly, that figure is largely the byproduct of the Wizards yielding 48.6 percent shooting, including a co-NBA-high 38.9 percent three-point success rate, when traveling. In all, 17 of Washington’s 37 road games have exceeded Wednesday’s projected total. For the season, 33 of their 75 games have finished with a total higher than 231. One other contest finished at exactly that number.
The tight projected spread for this contest and Washington’s penchant for overtime games should also be noted. The Wizards have been involved in seven overtime tilts this season. One of those was actually a triple-OT classic against this same Suns squad back on Dec. 22 that finished with a 149-146 score in favor of Washington. Each of the two teams’ most potent offensive weapons found considerable success that day. The Wizards’ Bradley Beal finished with a 40-point, 15-assist, 11-rebound triple-double and was 17-for-33 from the field. The Suns’ Devin Booker countered with 33 points and 14 dimes of his own.
For their part, the Suns have been generous on defense as well. Phoenix is allowing the fourth-most points per game overall (116.1). That includes the seventh-most points per home game (113.0). The Suns also yield the third-highest home shooting percentage (47.6), including the sixth-highest three-point percentage (35.9). Granted, only eight of Phoenix’s 36 home games have exceeded Wednesday’s projected total. However, the Wizards’ porous defense, the pace of play of the two teams, and the potential for overtime bear noting re: the Over.
One final argument for the Over lies in how some of the key matchups shake out statistically. To begin with, the Suns allow the second-highest offensive efficiency rating (24.3) to shooting guards. They also surrender the highest shooting percentage (47.7) and highest three-point percentage (42.3) to the position. That spells trouble versus Beal, who’s leading the Wizards in usage, is shooting an impressive 47.6 percent for the season, and is taking 7.4 three-point attempts per game.
Additionally, the Suns are also a bottom-10 team in assists allowed to point guards (9.5 per game). That sets up well for a strong facilitator like Tomas Satoransky, who could have a prolific night setting up teammates for buckets. Finally, Phoenix has had significant trouble defending centers (37.0 offensive efficiency rating allowed, second highest) and the paint (61.9 offensive efficiency rating allowed, third highest) all season. Those numbers could well be exploited by both Thomas Bryant and Bobby Portis.
Then, the Wizards’ previously cited weakness versus three-point shooting could be a death knell against Booker. The fourth-year guard comes in blistering hot after touching up the normally stingy Jazz for 59 points Monday night. That included a 5-for-8 performance from distance.
Washington also sports some of the worst metrics in the NBA across the board against power forwards. While potential Wednesday starter Dragan Bender has often proven ill-suited as a scoring option for the Suns, he’s backed up by a more capable option in Richaun Holmes. Holmes had scored in double digits in four straight before getting tossed after just nine minutes versus the Jazz on Monday night. What’s more, Phoenix has a chance of getting Josh Jackson back from a two-game absence due to an ankle sprain. Jackson is a much more accomplished offensive player than Bender and would possibly slot back into the starting five.
By The Numbers
The Over is 44-30 (NBA-high 59.5 percent) in the Wizards’ games this season. That includes a 21-15-1 mark (58.3 percent) in Washington’s road games and a 5-4-1 mark (55.6 percent) in the Wizards’ games as road favorites. The Over is also 29-15 (NBA-high 65.9 percent) in games following a Washington loss, 9-6 (60.0 percent) in the second game of their back-to-back sets, and 17-9 (65.4 percent) in their non-conference games.
Then, the one prior meeting between the teams this season, a triple-overtime tilt, finished with a 295 total.
The Final Word
The Suns’ record against the Over is actually very poor overall, but there are a couple of extenuating circumstances in this case. One is that the Wizards often do more than enough on both ends of the floor to make up for any shortcomings the other team might have. Washington can both score and give up points in bunches. Then, they’ll be playing on the second game of a back-to-back, which could make their already suspect defense even more vulnerable. That should help prop up the Suns’ inconsistent offense as well. The second factor is the total itself: it’s not astronomical for a Wizards game. As such, I see the number being slightly exceeded in a late-night offensive showdown.
The Pick: Over 231