Wizards vs. Knicks NBA Preview and Best Bet

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Bradley Beal #3 of the Washington Wizards. Christian Petersen/Getty Images/AFP

The Washington Wizards head to New York to take on the Knicks. Both teams had strong starts. Both teams have sputtered lately. This game represents an opportunity for one team to start moving in the right direction. Which team will take advantage of that opportunity to be the right NBA pick? Keep reading to check the NBA odds and start cashing out!

Washington Wizards vs. New York Knicks 

Thursday, December 23, 2021 – 07:30 PM EST at Madison Square Garden

Washington Wizards 

The Washington Wizards started strongly to begin the season giving their fans hope that they had finally turned the corner to become a legitimate playoff team. Unfortunately, they have not done well in the month of December and are 3-8 for the month. Their most recent game against the Brooklyn Nets was postponed so they've had five days off going into tonight's matchup against New York.

Washington was victorious in their most recent outing, which was a good win, prevailing 109-103 over the Utah Jazz in Utah. So, maybe things are looking up for the Wizards, but they will need a good performance tonight to convince me that they are headed back in the right direction. 

I was very bullish on the addition of Spencer Dinwiddie to start the season. I thought he and Bradley Beal would make a formidable backcourt. Unfortunately, Dinwiddie has not been happy with his role and Beal's output has diminished as well. There is still time for these two talented players to figure things out, but the pairing has to be a concern for the Wizards and their fans. The Wizards will need a harmonious situation between their two lead guards if they want to have a successful season. 

The additions of Montrezl Harrell and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope helped boost the Wizard's weak defense. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, on the covid list, will miss this game. Like any game that we have handicapped over the last couple of weeks, we must always be careful of a late outbreak that drastically alters the roster.

New York Knicks 

The Knicks playoff berth last season, combined with the fast start this season, had expectations flying high in New York. The Knicks fans have been greatly disappointed as the Knicks have regressed to the mean and failed to figure out their identity. The Knicks team last year was a team that prided itself on defense but lacked the offensive firepower to keep pace in the first round against the Atlanta Hawks.

The Knicks added Evan Fournier and Kemba Walker to the team to help boost their offensive potential. Yet they have not raised the offense to exceptional heights while their defensive limitations have simultaneously dragged down the defense to a below-average level. 

Kemba Walker took the brunt of the blame for the Knicks' defensive deficiencies and coach Tom Thibodeau recently moved him out of the rotation. It seems that Walker's scapegoat status was unjustified as the Knicks defense failed to improve even with Walker on the bench.

A covid outbreak that has sidelined RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Derrick Rose forced Kemba back into the lineup. Walker played well, leading the team to a win against the Detroit Pistons; but hey, let's be honest, it's the Pistons. One cannot make much of a successful performance against the rebuilding Pistons team. 

So many Knicks are a game-time decision, it's tough to see where and who will be playing for this team. RJ Barrett and Derrick Rose returning would give the Knicks team a much better chance to keep up on the offensive end. Obi Toppin is a game-time decision as well. The Knicks are hoping that these talented players will return for an influx of talent into their rotation

Key Matchup 

Alec Burks vs. Bradley Beal 

Bradley Beal is still the key to the team's offense. The Wizards have been waiting for breakout performances from Beal. Alec Burks is a very strong defender and can definitely slow down Bradley Beal, especially as Beal tries to share ball-handling duties and opportunities with Spencer Dinwiddie.

The Wizards' success is directly correlated to the success of Beal. If Beal is able to have a big night, the Wizards have a great chance to win. If Burks is able to shut down Beal and force the team to run their offense through secondary offensive options, the Knicks have a good chance to win. 

Best Bet 

The Knicks are so depleted it's tough to get behind the team right now. This game represents an excellent chance for the Wizards to get back on track. With the Knicks missing multiple players and the Wizards being at close to full strength, the Wizards have a big advantage.

The Knicks also have a Christmas Day game that they might want to hold the players back for, while the Wizards have no reason to not go all out to win. Today's play of the day is the Washington Wizards -1.

NBA Pick: Washington Wizards -2 (-110) with Bovada (visit our Bovada Review)

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Washington Wizards -2 (-110)
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