Denver Nuggets vs. Washington Wizards Pick
Denver Nuggets (47 – 22 SU, 37-32 ATS) vs. Washington Wizards (30-42 SU, 34-38 ATS)
When: Thursday, March 21st, 2019 – 7:00 PM ET
Where: Capital One Arena – Washington, DC
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: DEN -6.5 / WAS +6.5
Power Rankings: Washington +4
Takeaways from Denver and Washington’s Most Recent Games
The Nuggets are playing with a hot hand as they have won four games in a row in the build-up to this match-up. Denver was last on the court on Monday when they were in Boston to face the Celtics and hand them a 114-105 defeat. The result was labeled an upset as the Nuggets closed as a four-point underdogs.
The Wizards come in off a two-game losing streak, capped off most recently by a road loss last night in the Windy City against the Chicago Bulls. Though overtime was required to get a winner, the Wizards found themselves on the wrong side of an upset bid by the Bulls, falling 126-120. Washington closed as a four-point favorite.
How the Public is Betting the Denver and Washington Game
56% of the public fancy the Nuggets as the road favorite. As a result of this lean, the market has moved upward by half of a point from the opening number of the Wizards as a six-point underdog.
These two teams last met in March of 2018 in D.C. where the Nuggets defeated the Wizards 108-100. Washington closed as a small favorite, laying just 1.5 points to Denver.
Denver will be playing this game without injuries to key personnel. For Washington, an emerging storyline concerns starting Forward Trevor Ariza who is listed as questionable due to a groin injury. Fortunately for Washington they have a potent weapon off the bench at Forward they can plug in to the starting line-up should Ariza be unavailable, his name is Jabari Parker. In the Wizards’ game last night against the Bulls, Parker scored 28 points.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Denver is playing this contest on three days’ rest and will be back in action tomorrow when they continue their four-game road trip in New York. The Wizards will have limited time to prepare for this contest as they are playing on one day’s rest. In light of this, the Wizards are seemingly impervious to the rigors of back-to-backs as they are 8-4 SU and 9-3 ATS on the year in back-to-back games. The Wizards have one more game at home on Saturday before they are back on the road in Los Angeles, next Tuesday.
Can The Nuggets Exploit Washington’s Defense To Get Another Win?
Despite owning the seventh-ranked scoring offense in the NBA by averaging 114.4 points per game, the Washington defense has been a fatal flaw for the Wizards. Presently, the Wizards sit 29th in the league in scoring defense as they give up 117 points to the opposition. Moreover, the Wizards are 28th in opponent field goal percentage (47.6%). The Nuggets will look to capitalize on Washington’s poor defense and likely score more than their average of 112 points per game (15th in the NBA). In addition, the Nuggets are a top-ten team in terms of field goal percentage (46.9%) and will certainly cash in on favorable shot opportunities. Unlike Washington, the Nuggets are a defensive dynamo as they give up just 107 points per game (6th in the league). The disparity in defenses creates a scenario of Denver getting to the front and never looking back should they lean on their defense to hold the lead.
Can Washington’s Home Court Presence Be A Difference Maker?
For the Wizards, it has been a tale of two seasons with regard to how they play games at home and how they fare out of town. Outside of D.C., the Wizards have been a fright as they are just 8-28 SU in away game and have lost by an average margin of 7.9 points while doing so. At home however, the Wizards are a tough out. Washington stands at 21-14 SU and they have defeated opponents by an average margin of three points. The Wizards will look to hone their home cooking to stage the upset.
There are two betting trends that need to be highlighted. To begin, the Nuggets stand at 2-5 ATS in the last seven contests that have transpired in Washington. For the Over/Under players, the Under is 3-1-1 ATS in the previous five matches that have occurred in D.C.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Washington +6.5
According to some other betting sites, the Wizards are in position to be undervalued here. There are several reasons why. First, Denver’s stock is soaring after pulling off the impressive win in Boston combined with their present win-streak. This narrative in itself sets up Denver to be laying an inflated number by virtue of a potential overreaction. Moreover, Denver backers will look at the difference in records between the two teams and cite the nasty loss that the Wizards underwent last night against the lowly Bulls as rationale to fade the Wizards. However, the fact remains that the Nuggets are just 17-16 SU on the road this season and they actually get outscored on average in away games as their road margin is -1.4. For this reason, I do not only think that the Wizards can cover here but believe they can actually stage the upset. Nevertheless, I will take advantage of a likely inflated point spread. If the Wizards do not shock the Nuggets outright, I expect Washington to go off on their shield here and not lose by a margin larger than a few points.