We're at a weird point in the NBA regular season. Many teams are ready to go home in the final days. Some are not overexerting themselves with the playoffs looming. A few are in the play-in tournament and you won't see much effort from them until then (hello, Boston Celtics).
Don't tell Russell Westbrook.
Amid an uneven couple of weeks at the end of the regular season, one surprising team has been a cash machine for bettors at BetMGM. The Washington Wizards, even with Bradley Beal hurting the last couple games, can't help but cover.
The Wizards haven't officially clinched a spot in the play-in tournament. But bettors who have been riding Westbrook and friends are hopeful to get a few more chances to bet them.
Wizards have been on a roll
The Wizards are one of those teams that reward bettors who meticulously follow streaks, even from unlikely teams.
On April 5, there was no reason to bet or even care about the Wizards. They were 17-31. Beal and Westbrook made them interesting to watch but they weren't good. That night, they lost to the Toronto Raptors 103-101. However, they did cover as 5.5-point underdogs, and that matters to the story.
Starting that night, the Wizards are 17-4-1 against the spread, according to Covers.com. That's an unbelievable run. Straight up, they are 15-7 in that time. Even when the Wizards lose they keep it close, like Wednesday's tight loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Washington lost by four as a seven-point underdog. It didn't help them clinch a spot in the play-in tournament, but it kept lining bettors' pockets.
Even without Beal, who is second in the NBA at 31.4 points per game, since May 8, the Wizards have been playing well. Westbrook, who set the NBA's all-time triple-double record this week, has been phenomenal. Guys like Rui Hachimura and Davis Bertans have done a good job contributing. It's not a lineup, outside of Westrbook and Beal, that will get anyone's attention. But it has been paying off.
Wizards should make play-in tournament
The Wizards should get in the NBA's play-in tournament, which starts next Tuesday. They'll be in with a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday or the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday, or a Bulls loss this week. The Wizards should join Boston, Charlotte and Indiana in the East's play-in grid.
Even if the Wizards' hot streak eluded bettors the past month-plus, there will still be chances to bet them. They're hotter than any team they'd face in the play-in games. The Philadelphia 76ers or Brooklyn Nets shouldn't be on upset alert in the first round, but the Wizards will be catching some big spreads in each game, and Westbrook and Beal are more than capable of keeping games close and even pulling an upset.
The Wizards were far off the radar most of the season, and they earned that. It did create a profit windfall for those who realized they were getting hot and rode the streak. The Wizards aren't going to get all the headlines in the playoffs, but they can still cover some more spreads before their run is done.
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