Two of the NBA’s leading scorers are set to go head-to-head in what should be an exciting battle between two teams that combined for 285 points in their last meeting. Bradley Beal is second in the NBA with 30.4 points per game, while Trae Young is tied for third in the NBA with 29.6 points per contest. The consensus over/under for this contest opened at 244.5 points, and it has already climbed to 245.5. The over is the initial lean, but let’s see if our analysis agrees.
- Opening Lines: The consensus point spread for this contest opened at -3 on the Washington Wizards. The consensus over/under total opened at 244.5 points. The point spread has held steady at -3. The over/under total has climbed to 245.5.
- Current Line: Washington -3
- O/U: 245.5
- Location: Capital One Arena, Washington, D.C.
- Start Time: 7:00 PM EST, Friday, March 6th
- Last Meeting: Atlanta defeated Washington 152-133 — January 26th
The Atlanta Hawks sit at 19-44 on the season. They have been much better since the start of the new year, as they have gone 12-17 (.413) after starting the season with a 7-27 record (.205). Their .413 win percentage would place them in ninth place in the East if they had played at this level since the start of the season. The Hawks have dropped six of their last eight contests, and they seem content to leave Clint Capela on the sidelines for the rest of the year as they jockey for ping pong ball positioning in the NBA’s draft lottery. Trae Young made headlines recently, not for being the third-leading scorer in the NBA, or for being second in the league in assists, but for getting flattened by a Trevor Ariza bodycheck, as the latter was not happy about getting added to Trae’s nutmeg highlight reel. Atlanta has split the season series with the Wizards so far, and they’ll be looking to pull off another upset tonight.
The Washington Wizards sit in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with a 22-39 record. They are 4.5 games back of the eighth-place Orlando Magic. Their defense has been their Achilles’ heel, as they have allowed an NBA high 120.2 points per game. They have no problem scoring points, however, as their 115.9 points per game is second in the Eastern Conference. Bradley Beal has been on fire and has recorded 20-straight games with at least 25 points (new franchise record). He has been even more impressive since the All-Star break, as he is averaging 38 points per game, a stretch that included the first back-to-back 50 point outings since Kobe Bryant accomplished the feat in 2007. Washington should be able to easily dispatch the banged-up Atlanta Hawks, but after getting blown out by 19 points by them just over a month ago, Washington will be in for a tougher test than the records of these two teams may indicate.
- Atlanta is 29-33-1 ATS on the season.
- Atlanta is 10-21 ATS on the road this season.
- Washington is 30-29-2 ATS on the season.
- Washington is 16-13 ATS at home this season.
- Atlanta is 4-5-1 ATS in their last 10 contests.
- Atlanta is 2-6 ATS in their last eight road contests.
- Atlanta is 1-6 ATS in their last seven road contests against teams with losing home records.
- Atlanta is 2-5 ATS in their last seven contests as a road underdog.
- Washington is 5-4-1 ATS in their last 10 contests.
- Washington is 10-4 ATS in their last 14 home contests.
- Washington is 6-2 ATS in their last eight home contests against teams with a road winning percentage below .400.
- Washington is 6-2 ATS in their last eight contests following a loss.
- Over is 8-3 in Atlanta’s last 11 road contests against teams with losing home records.
- Over is 6-2 in Atlanta’s last eight contests as a road underdog.
- Over is 4-1 in Atlanta’s last five contests against teams with a winning percentage below .400.
- Over is 9-1 in Atlanta’s last 10 contests following a loss ATS.
- Over is 5-2 in Washington’s last seven contests.
- Over is 5-1 in Washington’s last six contests as a favorite.
- Under is 7-3 in Washington’s last 10 home contests against teams with losing road records.
- Over is 5-1 in Washington’s last six contests played on one day of rest.
John Collins over 22.5 points (-104)
If you have been following this column for the past month, you may have noticed that John Collins is one of our favorite player prop plays. Collins played uncharacteristically poor against Memphis in his last contest, scoring just 12 points on 11 shots on a putrid .364 shooting. Luckily, tonight he gets to face off against the worst scoring defense in the league. He has actually gone under the posted total in both of his contests against the Wizards this season, which is a cause for concern.
Collins has gone over the total in eight of his last 12 contests, and he has averaged 23.3 points per game since the All-Star break. He was a man on fire in February when he averaged an elite level 25.6 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. The juice is on the under for the reasons listed above, but the recent trends suggest that riding with the over for at least one more contest may indeed be the smart play.
After what happened in the last contest between these two teams, projecting a winner against the spread becomes a lot more difficult. Washington is the obvious lean, but getting blown out by 19 points by one of the worst teams in the NBA does not inspire confidence. As such, the over/under becomes our focus. The line for this contest was intentionally set high due to the ridiculous 285 combined points put up in the last contest between these two teams.
Based on averages, the under is the play. Based on the last meeting, though, it’s hard to fade the over. Washington has the worst scoring defense in the NBA, as they allow 120.2 points against per contest. The Atlanta Hawks are barely better, and they currently sit as the second-worst scoring defense in the league, with 119.2 points allowed per game. Washington has allowed 125 or more points in five of their last seven contests, and barring an atrocious night from the floor like we saw when Atlanta put up just 88 points against a leaky Grizzlies defense, this game should hit the over.
The vast majority of the trends suggest that the over should be the play, but the fact that the line is this high gives us reason for pause. With that in mind, teasing or buying points becomes the strategy. If you are squeamish as far as high juice, take the over 245.5 at -110 at FanDuel. If you are willing to suffer some juice for a much higher win probability, consider buying the total down to 240.5 at -190 at FanDuel as a multi-unit play.