Moore: Jimmy Butler Over/Under 20.5 Points vs. Wizards?
Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jimmy Butler
Betting Odds: Washington Wizards at Philadelphia 76ers
- Spread: 76ers -7.5
- Over/Under: 228
- Time: 7 p.m. ET
>> All odds as of 6 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets
In the midst of the controversy about his difficult personality in team contexts, Jimmy Butler faces the Washington Wizards Tuesday night.
Butler had a reportedly “confrontational” film session in which he crossed the line of professionalism, according to ESPN sources. Brett Brown has wisely — regardless of what happened in the film session — denied the incident as it was characterized, and Butler has echoed the same sentiment.
No one is surprised by this development.
Butler has had issues in Chicago with Fred Hoiberg, in Minnesota with… everyone and now in Philadelphia with Brett Brown.
Part of the interesting question related to this debacle for me was “Who leaked it?” The key to understanding any NBA controversy like this is asking who stood to gain from the leak.
Here’s a hint: It wasn’t Brett Brown.
Brown gains nothing from this, nor do his assistants. Brown comes off looking weak for being bullied by the star player, and even if his assistants were looking to stick up for him, they would know it would bring undue attention and only further strain Brown’s relationship with Butler.
I’m not going to sit here and speculate on who those sources were; Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski are exceptionally connected among all sports reporters worldwide. You can bet the information was vetted and reliable from multiple contacts and not just the product of an individual wanting to skew things.
However, when you look at things like this, as a reader, you should ask yourself what purpose the leak was meant to have, and that pretty clearly looks like it was meant to try and get Butler to chill out.
In any case, Butler faces a tough matchup Tuesday vs. the Wizards. Despite Washington’s malaise and general Wiz-ness, Butler has had issues the last few years. His over/under Tuesday is 20.5 points, while our FantasyLabs projections put him at 17.6, giving the under a Bet Quality of 8. That’s awfully good.
Turns out, in two meetings last year and this season, Butler is 10-of-30 from the field, averaging just 14 points against the Wizards. Most of that is on account of Bradley Beal.
NBA.com’s matchup tracking data — which can be wonky but provides an overall picture — has Butler shooting just 3-of-10 vs. Beal the past two seasons.
Going through the clips, Beal does a good job of just staying attached to Butler, but his misses seem more a product of just straight-up missed shots than anything the defense does:
There’s also the fact that John Wall took Butler a lot in their matchup this season, and he’s out. Markieff Morris has also spent time on Butler… he’s out as well.
There’s a healthy reason to believe Butler could get loose vs. Washington.
However, his season average is just 19 — and only 18 points per game with the Sixers. The Wizards are playing with some life since Wall’s injury — everybody eats — and given the teams’ turmoil and how we just don’t know how Butler will respond on the court, there’s reason to back that under of 20.5 points based on the FantasyLabs projections.