Miami Heat vs. Washington Wizards

Capital One Arena | Washington, DC

October 18, 2018 | 08:00 PM EST

The Washington Wizards (0-0) will kick off their 2018-19 season on Thursday night, hoping to put a disappointing campaign a year ago behind them and return as a bona fide playoff contender in the Eastern Conference. They’ll be opposed by the Miami Heat (0-1), who draw a tough back-to-back to open their schedule this year. Miami dropped their opener on the road in Orlando by a final of 104-101.

Projected Starting Lineups
Miami HeatWashington Wizards
Goran DragicPGJohn Wall
Rodney McGruderSGBradley Beal
Josh RichardsonSFOtto Porter Jr.
Derrick Jones Jr.PFMarkieff Morris
Hassan WhitesideCDwight Howard

Erik Spoelstra threw a curveball in the Miami opener on Wednesday night, opting to start Derrick Jones Jr. in favor of Kelly Olynyk (though Olynyk finished having played more minutes). The usual contributors factored into the Heat offense a day ago, led by Goran Dragic’s 26 points and Hassan Whiteside’s 12 points and 18 rebounds. Perhaps unprecedented against the Magic was the usage rate of small forward Josh Richardson, who tallied 21 points in the losing effort, but required 21 shots to do so (8-21). Lots of familiar faces appear in the Washington line, most notably the superstar backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal. Offseason trade acquisition Dwight Howard will anchor the new-look Washington interior this season; but he’s listed day-to-day on the Wizards’ injury report, and is a gametime decision to make his debut tonight.

These two teams will likely settle around the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff picture when all is said and done in 2018-19, but there looks to be good value in backing Washington tonight. Miami may show signs of fatigue on latter end of a season-opening back-to-back,  and the DC faithful should show out in raucous support of the home team for the advent of a new NBA season. I like the Wiz here.

Our Free NBA Pick: Washington Wizards -5.5 (-110)

Connor Woods

A professional sports capper, Connor graduated from the University of Alabama and supports the Crimson Tide in addition to four major teams in Chicago: the Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks, and Bulls. One of his passions is visiting MLB stadiums - he's currently seen a game in 17 of the 30 active parks.

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