Washington Wizards Over Indiana Pacers and Thursday’s NBA Picks

by Kevin Roberts
on February 16, 2017

Thursday brings our last day of real NBA action for an entire week, as the league takes a break with the All-Star weekend and won’t be back in action until next Thursday. Yes, NBA fans, that means we will be going though an entire week of pro basketball withdrawals.

Whether that means you have to survive a week without daily fantasy basketball or a long stretch without NBA betting, tonight serves as your last chance in a while to enjoy some good action on the hardwood.

Luckily, we get two strong games to close out the first half of the NBA season, too, with the Chicago Bulls and Boston Celtics facing off at the United Center and the Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers duking it out at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

Despite a very busy Wednesday night, we had plenty of success with our NBA picks, going a strong 10-4 over the heavy 14-game slate. Let’s see if we can’t parlay that strong run into a two-game sweep tonight:

Washington Wizards (-2)
Indiana Pacers (+2)
Total: 217

The action gets started in Indy tonight, with John Wall and the Wizards visiting Paul George and the Pacers. Tonight’s showdown marks the fourth and final installment of the 2016-17 series between these two sides, with Indy trying to tie things up at 2-2.

Washington holds the series lead (2-1) to this point, having won two straight – both at home. Their last loss in this series came in Indiana, while the Pacers have been quite strong on their home floor all season, going 20-9 in front of their home crowd.

Logic might shift some betting Indy’s way due to the home/road splits, but the Pacers have not been heading in the right direction lately. Injuries to big men Thaddeus Young and Lavoy Allen haven’t helped Indy’s depth, while the Pacers simply haven’t been getting it done during an ugly five-game losing streak.

That doesn’t mean the Pacers for sure will drop a sixth straight game going into the break, but Washington’s hot roll (9-1 over their last 10 games) certainly doesn’t endorse a Pacers win.

On paper, this is a matchup that benefits the Wizards. Indiana doesn’t have anyone that can slow down Wall or stop big men Markieff Morris or Marcin Gortat, while both Brad Beal and Otto Porter can be used to slow down PG-13 on the other side. The Wizards are hotter, have won two in a row in the series and look to have the matchup advantage. Indy isn’t a terrible upset pick, but we like the Wizards here.

Boston Celtics (+1)
Chicago Bulls (-1)
Total: 212

The other game on tonight’s slate has an even tighter spread, as Isaiah Thomas leads his Celtics into the United Center to battle Jimmy Butler and the Bulls. The spread should arguably be bigger and in Boston’s favor, but the Bulls are at home and coming off a surprising win over the Toronto Raptors.

Chicago could also be close to full strength tonight, as star shooting guard Dwyane Wade has been on and off the court with an illness and a wrist issue, but could be back in the lineup tonight:

Paul Zipser remains unlikely to play, while reserve big man Nikola Mirotic is nearing a return to the court. Wade could suit up, but it sounds likely the Bulls will continue to rest Mirotic and Zipser to have them at 100% following the All-Star break.

Jimmy Butler was back in Chicago’s last win, and despite the Bulls appearing to be a mess, they have been strong at home (16-11) and have remained quite competitive in this series. The series has specifically been back and forth, too, with the Celtics winning the last game and the last six games being split right down the middle (3-3).

Series and health aside, the Bulls have been impossible to gauge (or trust) for most of the year. That trend has only continued lately, as they shockingly took down the Raptors without Wade in their last game and are just 4-6 over their last 10 games. They play host tonight and should be close to 100%, but will be taking on a Boston team that has gotten elite scoring out of star point guard Isaiah Thomas and has really been on a roll lately, having won four straight and 9 of their last 10.

Boston could be a little tired after playing last night, but the skinny is they’re the far better team, much more explosive offensively and also have the tools to slow down the Bulls. Chicago only has two reliable scoring threats and defensive aces Jae Crowder and Marcus Smart should be able to keep both Butler and Wade in check.

Chicago could throw a wrench in our betting plans again like they did the other day, but the logic points to another Celtics win.

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