April 12, 2015 (Posted at 2:00 PM ET)
Take Washington Wizards at -1 spread against Atlanta Hawks risking 3% of bankroll.
The last few days of the regular NBA season are upon us and the Atlanta Hawks have been locked into the 1 seed in the East for quite some time. Atlanta doesn't really gain anything by winning games right now. They have continued to play but with the post-season set to start next weekend, we believe the coaching staff will limit the minutes of starters tonight. There's a theory that coaches do not want their players to get rusty and this is true, however we also don't believe they will do anything to put their players in harm’s way with such an important series on the horizon.
Washington is another club that has its playoff position sealed and will enter the postseason as the 5th seed. This is important as at the moment it appears that they will miss having to play Cleveland in the early part of the bracket should they get out of the first round. Randy Wittman is already taking somewhat of a conservative approach as John Wall has been held out in order to allow him to rest for the playoffs. Even without Wall in the lineup, the Wizards no doubt want to head into the playoffs with some momentum behind them and a win over the best team in East would provide just that. They were outplayed in their last outing as correctly predicted when they allowed the Nets to shoot over 50% from the floor! John Wall sat out of that contest and will likely do so again tonight or be limited in minutes. Nonetheless, Ramon Sessions is starting to get the hang of this offense and will do a better job tonight. That game forced Bradley Beal to carry the bulk of the offensive load and find his rhythm. He put up 24 points on 10 of 19 shooting and we expect more of the same from him tonight. The Wizards will no doubt be looking to atone for their poor performance against the Nets and bounce back and we believe they will do that.
The Hawks have taken all the meetings thus far this season so this is the Wizards' last chance to avoid being swept. That in itself should provide motivation for a squad that has often taken its foot off the gas pedal in less important matchups. Prior to their poor showing against the Nets, Washington had been on quite a nice streak, having won 4 of their last 5 games. This is the final scheduled home game for the Wizards in DC! The Wizards have enjoyed a great home court advantage this year with the Verizon Center proving to be a tough place for teams to play. In their final home game of the season, in front of their passionate fans against a division rival which also happens to be the conference's best team, we expect them to put on a show! If there was one game that the players would "get up" for, this would be it! Failure to do so would result in an embarrassing 4-0 sweep and limping into the playoffs deflated. They need a morale-boosting win and this would provide it.
We find it interesting that Vegas opened Atlanta as +2.5 underdogs for this contest. The East-leading Hawks have 15 more wins than the Wizards and have defeated them in all 3 meetings this season! Not only that, they are riding a 4-game win streak. And yet despite all of that, the linemakers believe they will be beaten tonight and we do too. The spread has moved down with Wall likely sitting this one out but with or without him, they should trouble the distracted Hawks tonight. We believe Atlanta starters will see a reduced workload and if they happen to trail on the scoreboard, we don't believe they will put in that extra effort to claw their way back that they will in a week. They will be content with going through the motions with their main aim being that of avoiding injuries and getting their bench involved. This game means much more to the Wizards and it should show. With the spread being where it is at, all they basically need to do to cash this ticket for us is to win the game and we believe they will do that. Meanwhile the Hawks travel back to Atlanta to host their final home game of the season tomorrow and could be looking ahead and saving energy for that.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Atlanta has lost 4 of its last 6 road games.
- Washington is 8-2 in its last 10 home games!
- Atlanta is 0-9 ATS since Jan 22, 2014 after Jeff Teague had more assists than points!
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