The (34-23) Washington Wizards play host to the (50-9) Golden State Warriors in a game tonight that will serve as a measuring stick to decide if the Wizards are true playoff contenders (7pm ET Tuesday).
This is the toughest game the Wizards have played all year and unfortunately for them, it couldn’t have come at a worse time. Going into the All-Star break, the Wizards had won four in a row, including 11 of their last 12 and had moved within striking distance of the second seed in the Eastern Conference. Since the break however, Washington has played two games and lost both, including against the less than formidable (22-37) Philadelphia 76ers.
Golden State meanwhile, just beat those 76ers as one would have expected and is riding a four-game winning streak. They will be looking for five in a row overall and their fifth in a row over Washington as well.
The Warriors are still the best team in the NBA and the only such team with losses not in the double digits. They opened with the online sportsbooks as seven-point favorites and are now generally six-point favorites. This will indeed be a tough test for the Wizards, but can they handle it?
Covering the Spread
It probably came as a shock to most to see the final score of the Warriors/Sixers game because Golden State failed to cover the 13.5 point spread it was favored. That was quite lofty for basketball standards but this was the best team in the league versus one of the worst.
That being said, the Warriors haven’t covered a spread since prior to the All-Star break, when they were favored by eight against the (34-25) Oklahoma City Thunder. That’s likely because in each of their last three games, the Warriors were favored by double digits. This won’t be the case tonight as the spread is just seven and when it comes to single point spreads, like this one is, Golden State is 7-1 ATS in their last eight.
The Wizards, which most aren’t expecting to pull off the upset as home underdogs, actually do have a solid chance to keep the Warriors from being able to cover the spread. Washington is one of the best home teams in the league when it comes to covering a spread on their own courts as they are 20-12 ATS as well as 24-8 straight up when playing at the Verizon Center in DC. Not to mention, Washington has not lost back-to-back home games by double digits at all this season.
Golden State is 1-4 ATS in its last five games compared to Washington’s 16-5 ATS in its last 21 games at home. When it comes to this preview’s predictions and picks, maybe the smart money would be to go with the Warriors given their success over the Wizards in recent memory, but there’s a big caveat at play and his name is Kevin Durant.
The last time the Wizards played against a Durant-led team, the Maryland-native exploded for a huge game against Washington, which is where many thought he was headed after leaving the Thunder that year in free agency. But Durant chose the Warriors and made an NBA championship caliber roster even more impressive. But, after injuring his hand in a game on Saturday, Durant’s status is up in the air and he is considered a game time decision to play.
It’s hard to see a scenario in which Durant won’t take the court but his minutes could be limited and his production could be at least a little hampered.
Durant however won’t be the only one that Washington has to worry about. In fact, the biggest X Factor on Tuesday could be none other than former Wizard, JaVale McGee (pictured). After failing to really make an impact in three-plus years with the Wizards, McGee seems to have found his role as a solid option off the bench for Golden State. In just limited time, McGee has been very efficient, averaging 6.1 points and 3.2 rebounds despite playing less than 10 minutes per game. This will be his first game against his former team so look for McGee to play a role in the final outcome.
Our Preview’s Golden State Warriors at Washington Wizards Predictions & Picks
The last time the Warriors played the Wizards in Washington, John Wall was masterful, scoring 41 points. Unfortunately, Golden State’s Steph Curry was even better, exploding for 51 and shooting 11-of-15 from beyond the arc. The Warriors set an incredible number of records last year as did Curry and three-point shooting was definitely one of them.
This year, the team has not looked as unbeatable or as unstoppable as last but they are still a force to be reckoned with and a juggernaut in the league. Washington has played well this year, against expectations really, but this would be a tough test for anyone, whether Durant plays meaningful minutes or not.
- Take the Warriors -6pts @ -102 betting odds with 5Dimes. It is -110 for the same spread with BetOnline and MyBookie.
- The total points is at 230, which seems modest given the propensity for scoring both teams have. The Wizards, only recently saw a streak of 24 straight 100+ point games at home broken and the Warriors have failed to top that margin only a handful of times. In the last five games these two teams have played in Washington, the total has met the over each time. So you can see where this preview is heading with its points pick and prediction: Take the over 230pts with MyBookie or 5Dimes @ -110.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.