Washington at Indiana +3 O/U 215
I haven’t bet against Washington since the calendar turned to 2017. But this is the spot to fade the Wizards, and the markets seem to be convinced that the Pacers are going to go into the All-Star Break in the midst of a six-game skid. That gives us ample value to back Indiana as a home dog this evening.
In theory, this is a great spot for Washington. The Pacers have lost five straight, including a defensive no-show in Cleveland last night; the fifth straight game that Indiana has allowed at least 110 points. Meanwhile, the Wizards are rested and ready – they’ve only played once since last Friday, a blowout win over OKC that was garbage time by the middle of the third quarter.
But as we clearly saw last night with the Houston-Miami game, an extended rest BEFORE the All-Star Break is not necessarily a good thing – teams lose their focus. The Rockets were in the exact same spot at the Wizards – coming off a rare, extended rest, having played only one game since last week, a blowout win. Washington has been as focused as any team in the league for the better part of the last two months. I’m not convinced in the slightest that this layoff is going to help them bring their A-game tonight.
The Pacers should get Lavoy Allen back in the lineup tonight, a big return addition considering he’s been starting since Thaddeus Young got hurt at the start of this losing streak. And much of the losing streak can be blamed on quality opposition – they’ve lost twice to Cleveland, once to San Antonio and once on the Wizards powerful home floor, no shame in any of those defeats. The only ‘bad’ loss during this entire stretch came at home against Milwaukee, and that can only be described as one of those nights – the Bucks hit 55% from three point range, nailing 17 shots from downtown.
When these two teams played at the Verizon Center in DC last week there was no separation whatsoever, a tight game throughout. Indiana covered the spread despite a dismal 4-21 shooting effort from three point range. In fact, all three previous meetings between these two teams this year were tight, down-to-the-wire affairs; a series where we’re better off taking points, not laying them!