A year ago at this time, most would have said that the Washington Wizards were on a sharper upward trajectory than the Dallas Mavericks were. Well, an awful lot can change in the span of a year. Now, it’s the Mavs that appear to have a rosy future, while the Wizards’ future is full of question marks.
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Neither team is likely to make the playoffs this season. We can definitely already write off the Mavericks, who have lost 8 of their last 10 to drop into 13th place in the Western Conference. The Wizards are still alive in the playoff hunt despite the fact that they’re 11 games under the .500 mark on the season. Washington is just 3 games back of the Charlotte Hornets for the eighth and final playoff spot heading into Wednesday’s action.
|2019 ATS Home||21-11-0||18-11-0|
|2019 ATS Away||15-16-0||10-24-0|
|2019 O/U Home||12-18-2||20-9-0|
|2019 O/U Away||13-16-2||19-14-1|
Washington has dealt with all sorts of injury issues, which has effectively torpedoed what looked like a potentially hopeful season back in November. John Wall was lost for the season with a heel injury, and shortly thereafter the Wizards’ star point guard ruptured his Achilles after falling at his home. Dwight Howard has also been sidelined for months, while guys like Kelly Oubre, Markieff Morris, Austin Rivers and Otto Porter Jr. were all traded.
So, the roster looks quite a bit different now than it did at the beginning of the season. One constant has been Bradley Beal, however. Beal has made the jump from All-Star to superstar with Wall out of the picture this season. The sixth-year guard is averaging a career-high 25.7 points per game along with 5.4 assists and 5.1 rebounds for the Wiz. He’s essentially been forced to attempt a career-high 19.8 shots per game, and he’s been up to the task when it comes to leading the team forward.
The team made the curious decision to trade for veteran swingman Trevor Ariza early in the year. The move reeked of desperation with the Wizards vastly underperforming compared to expectations through the first few weeks, and the Ariza move has done little to cure their ills. Jabari Parker and Bobby Portis were acquired from the Bulls in order to add some beef up front to a team that lacks much size, as well.
All of the wheeling and dealing looks, in the end, like little more than shuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic. The Wizards have lost 8 of their last 12 games overall, though they did pick up a win at the Timberwolves’ expense in their last outing on Sunday. The Wizards are still very much involved in the playoff race, but at this point it looks unlikely that they actually wind up getting into the tournament.
With the drafting of Luka Doncic and the subsequent trade to acquire Kristaps Porzingis from the Knicks, Dallas is suddenly looking like an NBA destination again. Porzingis won’t play this season considering he’s still recovering from last season’s ACL tear, but the Mavericks are widely expected to re-sign him and bring him back in the summer. So, Doncic and Porzingis teaming up next season should give Mavs fans plenty of reason for optimism.
For now, though, they will have to deal with more losing. Dallas essentially gutted its roster at the trade deadline by losing DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, Harrison Barnes and Dennis Smith Jr. Doncic is still healthy and thriving, but there isn’t a whole lot of NBA-caliber talent on the roster with him.
Dallas lost by 30 points at home to the lowly Grizzlies over the weekend, and they followed that up with a 39-point walloping at the hands of the Nets on Monday night. The loss was Dallas’ seventh in their last 8 games, which really isn’t all that surprising. Doncic is working with guys like Tim Hardaway Jr., Dwight Powell, Jalen Brunson and an aging Dirk Nowitzki. As currently constructed, these Mavs aren’t going to win many games at all, which may be the point with the draft lottery looming this summer.
Games between bad teams can be tricky from a betting perspective, especially at this point in the season when most of these teams are looking ahead to the offseason. The Wizards are technically still fighting for the playoffs, but they haven’t appeared to have much stomach for said fight. Dallas’ faint playoff hopes died when they gutted their roster at the deadline.
For all of the moving parts, the Wizards still have more on-paper talent than this iteration of the Mavericks. Doncic is an otherworldly talent, but there’s a reason this team has been getting gobsmacked with regularity in recent games. Dallas picked up a 119-100 win over the Wizards in Dallas back in November 6, but we know a ton has changed since then.
6 of the Mavs’ last 7 defeats have come by double digits. The only loss that wasn’t by double figures was a 9-point defeat at the hands of the Clippers. They’re just bad these days. Washington is at home, where they have gone a respectable 17-12 on the season. On the road, the Mavericks are an abysmal 6-25 so far.
It’s never easy to trust the Wizards, but I like this bet tonight. I think Washington covers the 6.5-point spread and picks up an easy win, by their standards. Bet the Wizards to cover the spread on Wednesday night.
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