Washington Wizards (43-40), +1.5, o/u 186.5 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers (46-37), -1.5, o/u 186.5, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, Ohio, 7 p.m. Eastern, Monday
by Oracle of Predictem.com
The playoff series between the Washington Wizards and Cleveland Cavaliers has seemingly gone unnoticed comparative to most other match ups. This comes as a surprise, especially considering two of the best players in the league, Lebron James and Gilbert Arenas, are taking part in it.
Arenas, along with fellow teammate DeShawn Stevenson, added fuel to the fire before the series began, citing that there will be trouble when he comes off the bench against the Cavs. Arenas missed 66 games during the regular season and came back on April 2nd.
Agent Zero kept his promise in the first game of the series, keeping Washington in the ball game by knocking down four three-pointers and scoring a team-high 24 points off the bench before fouling out. However, the Cavs bested Washington at the end, taking game one of the series, 93-86.
Meanwhile, Stevenson couldn’t shut his yapper before the playoffs began, calling King James “overrated”. All James did on Saturday night was score 32 points including 20 in the pivotal second half and two huge layups down the stretch pull down six boards, dish out four assists and block two shots.
Stevenson might be changing his tune a bit, especially after he himself scored three points on 1-for-9 from the field in over 38 minutes.
Although the Wizards didn’t come out ahead in the first game, they did pose a problem to the Cavs in which they’ll have to be concerned about. With Washington almost at full strength, Cleveland can’t forget about Washington’s Antawn Jamison, who seems to be getting better with age. Jamison causes Cleveland match up problems, especially when the Cavs play Ilgauskas and Wallace at the same time.
Jamison, who literally kept this team afloat when Arenas and Caron Butler were out for an extended period of time in the regular season, finished with 23 points and 19 rebounds. When Jamison, Butler and Arenas are on the floor all at the same time, Washington is tough to handle. For now, though, Arenas is still getting his legs under him.
Cleveland ended up with a back door cover in the first game, covering the 4 spread. This second match up sees that line shrink to Cleveland 1.5 with an over/under of 186.5. The first game total of 179 was under the set mark of 187.5.
The Wizards and Cavs are no strangers when it comes to meeting in the playoffs. This is the third straight year these two squads have met. The Cavaliers beat Washington a year ago on their way to the NBA Finals. The Wizards are notorious slow starters in the post-season, as the loss on Saturday was their eighth consecutive Game 1 defeat.
The Cavs are 4-1 ATS in the spread their last five games as a favorite. However, they’ve had a lot of trouble covering back-to-back games, going just 3-14 ATS in their last 17 games when covering the previous game.
Cleveland has been rather inconsistent this season, especially after the blockbuster trade that brought Ben Wallace, Delonte West and Wally Szcerbiak to town. These three players, along with Daniel Gibson, will play a huge role the rest of the way.
When these two teams meet, the favorite is 5-2 ATS in the last seven games. The under is a pretty lofty trend, too, as it’s 15-6 in the last 21 games between these two squads when playing in Cleveland.
The Wizards were a nice story during the regular season of the NBA, but this is playoff time. If they want to show they are for real, stealing a game in Cleveland will help prove the validity of their trash talking.
Oracle’s Pick: The public is all over Cleveland, but the fact that they struggle covering in back-to-back games, along with an inconsistent squad, makes us go against the grain on this one. Look for Washington to even the series take them plus the points!