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NBA Wizards at Pistons Preview

January 26, 2007

NBA Basketball - Washington Wizards at Detroit Pistons (-5, 205) 7:00 PM EST

Gilbert ArenasThe two best teams in the Eastern Conference ready themselves for a Friday showdown in Motown. Washington arrives after taking a beating nearly as bad as the Ford Motor Company in losing to Phoenix in game that wasnít as close as the final score. Detroit has revved its engine and sped to the lead in the Central Division and the conference with three straight wins.

The Wizards suffered the type of loss to the Suns they just have to let go and move on while learning from the experience. Instead Washington should take heart they have won four of five and can now look to re-establish the fact they are one of the top teams in the East.

The focus for the Wizards starts with Gilbert Arenas who was voted onto the starting line-up for the All-Star game by the fans. The scoring machine is averaging 29.7 points a game and still manages to hand 6.2 assists. Antawn Jamison and Caron Butler make up the rest of the vast majority of the Washington offense, combining for nearly 40 more points between them.

Washington is second in the NBA in scoring and 3rd in steals, which helps contribute to easy baskets and points. If the Wizards have sights set on being among the elite of the East, they must start by doing a better job on the road. On the season, they are only 7-13 and 9-10-1 ATS as the visiting team.

 Detroit has started to round into form with Chauncey Billups back in the line-up. As was proven when he sat injured and not playing, Billups is the most indispensable player on the Pistons. Detroit won both earlier match-ups with Washington due to Billups and Richard Hamiltonís superior play in the backcourt. Both are steady ball-handlers, thus eliminating a component of the Wizards defense.

Surprisingly Chris Webber has been a positive, as he has been in the starting line-up for the three consecutive games. "This is definitely the level that I want to be on," said Webber, who grew up in Detroit and played college ball at Michigan. "With this team, each night, somebody is going to have their number called. I feel we have a great team. I think we have the best starters, and this is definitely where I want to be."

The Pistons open as a 5.5-point home favorite at with a total of 204.5. Detroit has performed well below expectations at Auburn Hills with 11-8 record, covering a measly seven times. Detroit comes into the contest winners of only two of last seven home games.

Washington has been a good value when priced in this position. In the Wizards last sixteen road games they have been an underdog between five and ten points, they are 12-4 ATS. The down side is they are just 37-56 ATS versus good ball handling teams committing less then 14 turnovers a game.

Detroit has also had ups and downs coming into situations like tonightís game. The Pistons are 7-2 ATS playing on Fridayís, but a mediocre 10-24 ATS after covering 3 of their last 4 against the spread.

For all NBA basketball betting picks and predictions, visit the SCI posting forum.

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