Washington Wizards (8-18) at Toronto Raptors (19-8)
NBA: Friday, December 20th, 2019 at 7:30 pm ET (Scotiabank Arena)
Line and Odds: Toronto Raptors -6 Over/Under: 230
Free ESPN NBA Picks Toronto Raptors vs. Washington Wizards
The Washington Wizards rank 23rd in net rating, getting outscored by 3.9 points per 100 possessions. Washington actually ranks 4th in offensive efficiency despite their poor overall net rating. The Wizards have an offensive rating of 112.8, meaning they score 112.8 points per 100 possessions. Washington ranks 6th in effective field goal percentage, shooting for an eFG% of 53.8%. They have a strong field goal percentage from 2-point range, but they are even more impressive from behind the 3-point line. The Wizards hit 52.6% of their 2-point shots, which ranks them 10th in 2-point shooting percentage. They rank 5th in 3-point shooting percentage, hitting 37.2% of their shots from beyond the arc. Washington’s offense also excels at taking care of the basketball. Washington ranks 8th in offensive turnover percentage, giving the ball away on just 12.3% of their offensive plays. On the downside, the Wizards offense struggles with rebounding and creating free throw opportunities. The Wizards rank 21st in offensive rebound percentage, grabbing 21.8% of the offensive rebounds available to them. Washington ranks 26th in free throw rate (free throw attempts per field goal attempted), which means they have to rely on scoring from the field. More free throw attempts would be a huge benefit to the Wizards because they rank 2nd in free throw percentage, shooting 81.2% from the line.
While Washington’s offense has proven to be elite this season, their defense has held them back greatly. Washington ranks 30th out of 30 NBA teams in defensive rating, giving up 116.7 points per 100 possessions. The Wizards are tied for last in the most telling defensive statistic, effective field goal defense. Washington allows teams to shoot an eFG% of 56.3%, which matches the Cleveland Cavaliers as the worst mark in the league. The Washington defense ranks 27th in 3-point defense, allowing opponents to shoot a 3-point percentage of 37.9%. As poorly as they have been defending the 3, they have been even worse defending the 2-point shot. The Wizards rank last in opponent 2-point shooting percentage, letting teams shoot 56.0% from inside the 3-point line. Washington also struggles to rebound on the defensive end. The Wizards grab 75.2% of the defensive rebounds available to them, ranking 27th in defensive rebound percentage. The best thing about the Wizards defense is their ball-hawking. Washington ranks 10th in defensive turnover percentage, getting takeaways on 13.7% of their defensive plays.
The Toronto Raptors rank 6th in net rating, outscoring opponents by 6.1 points per 100 possessions. Toronto ranks 12th in offensive rating, averaging 109.7 points per 100 possessions. They shoot for an effective field goal percentage of 52.7%, which ranks them 11th in eFG%. The Raptors have proven to be one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league. They hit 37.8% of their three-pointers, ranking 3rd in 3-point shooting percentage. However, the Raptors have struggled to hit shots from 2-point range. Toronto ranks 24th in 2-point shooting, hitting 50.0% from inside the 3-point line. Offensively, Toronto is forced to get a disproportionate amount of production from the field because they don’t get many free throw attempts. The Raptors average 22.2 free throw attempts per 100 possessions, a mark that places them 20th in the NBA in that statistic. To their credit, they make the most of the attempts they do get. Toronto ranks 4th in free throw percentage, hitting 80.7% of their FT attempts.
Toronto ranks 4th in defensive rating, allowing 103.6 points per 100 possessions. They rank 1st in the NBA in effective field goal percentage defense, forcing opponents to shoot an eFG% of just 48.7%. The Raptors rank 4th in 2-point shooting defense and 3-point shooting defense. Opponents hit 32.9% of their shots from 3 and 48.2% of their shots from 2. In fact, Toronto is the only team in the league to rank in the top 4 in both opponent 2-point shooting percentage and opponent 3-point shooting percentage. That sort of balance makes it difficult on opposing offenses because there isn’t a clear area of weakness on the floor you can attack. In addition to their spectacular shooting defense, they also force turnovers. The Raptors rank 6th in defensive turnover percentage, taking the ball away on 14.1% of their opponents’ offensive plays. Toronto’s defense is able to guard aggressively without fouling, for the most part. The Raptors rank 8th in free throw attempts given up per 100 possessions. The only real flaw of this defense is their lack of defensive rebounding prowess. Toronto’s ranks 29th in defensive rebounding percentage, securing just 74.4% of the defensive rebounds available to them.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
Washington is 0-6 SU in their last 6 games against Toronto.
Washington is 1-5 SU in their last 6 games on the road.
Washington is 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games this season.
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Toronto’s last 5 games.
Toronto is 11-3 SU in their last 14 games at home.
Toronto is 6-0 SU in their last 6 games when playing at home against Washington.
ESPN NBA Scores Washington Wizards vs. Toronto Raptors
I’m taking the Toronto Raptors at -6 in this matchup. This contest is going to be a war of attrition as both teams are faced with multiple injuries. Washington will be without Rui Hachimura, Thomas Bryant, Jordan McRae, Mo Wagner, C.J. Miles, and, of course, John Wall. Toronto will be without Pascal Siakam, Marc Gasol, and Norman Powell. Fred VanVleet is also questionable for the Raptors. I like the Raptors in this game because I respect the Raptors’ depth more than Washington’s. I believe VanVleet will play and I still have guys like Kyle Lowry, Serge Ibaka, OG Anunoby and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on the court. At this point, the Washington Wizards feel like a two-man show. Washington has Bradley Beal and Davis Bertans, but they don’t have much to back that duo up. Toronto has been known for their roster depth for many years, so this is the exact kind of spot where I’d expect Nick Nurse and the Raptors to shine. Take the home team and swallow the points.