Finally, the 33-14 Golden State Warriors are starting to look like the clear championship favorite we were expecting. Golden State has won eight straight games by an average of 18.5 points per game and is downright frightening on both ends of the floor, especially on offense.
The 20-26 Washington Wizards aren’t doing too shabby themselves. The Wizards have recovered from a bad start to the season and have now won seven of their last 10 games to re-enter the fight for a playoff spot. This is without star point guard John Wall, who is out for the season.
The two teams will meet in Washington today in an interconference, nationally-televised matchup (8 p.m. ET Thursday on TNT).
The Wizards are hot right now, but the Warriors are on a whole different level. Let’s examine some factors that could swing this game in either direction. Then we’ll make some Golden State Warriors vs Washington Wizards predictions for this preview and give our picks of the odds with the United States’ top sports betting sites.
Will Bradley Beal Be the Game’s Most Impressive Scorer?
The Wizards have a lot less offensive firepower than the Warriors. Four of the Warriors’ starters (Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins and Klay Thompson) are legitimate threats to score 40 points on any given night. They have actually combined to do so 13 times already this season, and that’s with Cousins only playing two games this season.
Washington has just one guy, Beal, who can take over a game with his scoring. He is averaging 24.7 points per game, but that’s up to 30 points per game in all games star point guard John Wall has been out for.
Chances are, at least one or two of the Warriors’ stud scorers will have a big game. Beal not only needs to match their production and efficiency, he needs to surpass it if the Wizards are going to win this game.
Can DeMarcus Cousins & Draymond Green Stay Out of Foul Trouble?
The Wizards’ best hope at winning this game is ensuring that two big players for the Warriors (both literally and figuratively) can’t play their entire minute loads. Cousins is a fantastic post scorer and rebounder with a nice outside touch. Green is an ace passer and versatile defender.
Both guys do struggle with foul trouble occasionally. Cousins has fouled a total of 10 times in just 36 minutes this season and Green is among the NBA leaders in fouls per game. He can get very physical on defense at times.
If the Wizards are aggressive driving to the basket and don’t just try to get into a three-point contest with the Warriors (which they would almost assuredly lose), they can force two of the Dubs’ most important players to play less aggressively and ultimately play less minutes in the game.
Obviously, Washington would love to see more of Kevin Looney and Jonas Jerebko and less of Cousins and Green. That should be a goal for the team.
Will Washington’s Energetic Perimeter Defense Be a Factor?
The Wizards are one of the league’s weaker defensive teams overall, despite a recent surge. Because of their lack of big man depth and current injury situation, they don’t protect the rim well and they allow a lot of offensive rebounds.
One thing they do very well is create steals. Washington is sixth in the NBA in steals per game (9.0) and has upped that to 11.2 per game in its last six contests. The Wizards don’t have many bigs, but many of their guards and wings are lengthy for their positions. Tomas Satoransky, Trevor Ariza, Jeff Green, Otto Porter and Sam Dekker can all disrupt dribbling and passing lanes well.
The Warriors haven’t been as lazy with turnovers as they have been in past years. However, a team with the versatility of Washington could be a nuisance for Golden State if the Warriors don’t make a priority of protecting the ball.
Our Preview’s Golden State Warriors vs. Washington Wizards Betting Picks & Predictions
Washington’s defense has come around, but the team will face the NBA’s best offense today. I’m just not seeing the Wizards having the offensive firepower or rim protection to do anything of note with the Warriors.
Considering Golden State is trying to get DeMarcus Cousins off to a good start, I think the team will submit a motivated performance here. So these are the Golden State Warriors vs Washington Wizards predictions for this betting preview:
- Golden State is a 9.5pt to 11pt favorite in this matchup depending which sportsbook you look at, which I think is a tad low. I advise putting money on the Warriors -9.5pts @ -113 with Bookmaker.
- This is one of the higher over/unders for the total points that you’ll see at 234 or 235 points. As they have done in many games recently, I can see Golden State sprinting out to a big lead before easing up on defense to allow the Wizards to light up the scoreboard in the fourth quarter. For the second of this NBA game’s picks, we advise putting your money on the over 234pts @ -110 with BetOnline or their sister brand SportsBetting.ag.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.