The Orlando Magic have lost five straight games, putting up 92 PPG
en route to a 0-5 spread record in that stretch. Stan Van Gundy’s troops head up the coast for
Saturday night’s matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Sports books opened Philadelphia as a four-point favorite, with
early betting steam lifting the number a hook to 4.5. NBA odds makers first set the total at 180,
remaining unchanged after initial wagers were mixed.
Magic buried at home
Orlando’s latest setback came in Thursday’s 96-80 defeat as a
three-point home favorite against the New York Knicks. The Magic allowed the Knicks to connect at
48.7 percent from the field, including 13-of-25 beyond the arc.
Magic center Dwight Howard returned to his team’s lineup after
missing two games with a back injury, logging eight rebounds and three
blocks. Orlando’s backcourt duo of Jason
Richardson and Jameer Nelson united for 26 points and nine assists, draining
5-of-15 buckets from three-point land.
The contest’s combined 176 points dipped below the total of 188.5,
ending a 5-0 OVER streak from Orlando’s prior five games. Magic veteran Von Wafer led his squad’s bench
scoring with 13 points, knocking down 5-of-8 floor shots in 19 minutes of
76ers upset by Raptors
Philadelphia logged a second straight loss in Wednesday’s 99-78 defeat
as an 8.5 point home favorite against the Toronto Raptors. The 76ers were outrebounded, 46-29, while
allowing Toronto to shoot 50.6 percent from the field.
76ers mates Elton Brand and Jrue Holiday notched 20 points each,
with the duo adding four blocks and three steals, respectively. Philadelphia’s Spencer Hawes logged 10 points
and a team-high nine boards, while Andre Iguodala finished with six points and
The lopsided affair’s combined 177 points ducked UNDER the total
of 183, bringing the UNDER to 6-5 in the 76ers last 11 contests. Philadelphia was outscored, 44-22, in the
second half, while both foes united to sink 19-of-20 free throws.
Back the home ‘chalk’
Saturday’s tip is scheduled for 8 p.m. (ET), with ESPN providing
the national television coverage.
Philadelphia is playing the front end of a back-to-back spot, heading to
Boston as part of Sunday’s league slate.
Orlando will be off for one day, returning home for Monday’s duel with
the Detroit Pistons.
I am adding the 76ers minus the points to my NBA picks for the
day’s action, looking for Brand and Co. to pick up ground on Orlando in the
Eastern Conference standings with a sizable win. Philadelphia has a 4-1 spread mark in their
last five spots that followed defeats, while the Magic are 0-7 ATS in their
last seven battles against clubs with winning records.
Howard may be back for the Magic, but injuries to Orlando’s Ryan
Anderson (16.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG) and Hedo Turkoglu (10.7 PPG, 4.5 APG) should hurt
the team’s depth, making it a challenge to break its losing skid on the
road. Anderson notably drained a stellar
7-of-10 buckets beyond the arc in February’s 103-87 triumph for the Magic as
2.5 point home favorites, leaving Van Gundy’s crew unlikely to make up for that
type of scoring presence here.
Philadelphia quietly stands as the league’s stingiest squad,
allowing 88.2 PPG, including an even tighter 84.9 PPG at home. The 76ers have held visitors to 41.7 percent
field shooting, with just 30.2 percent of buckets from three-point land
Brand has logged 10 blocks over his squad’s last three games,
while averaging a respectable 7.2 RPG in his last six contests. The two-time All-Star also notched a pair of
steals in both matchups against the Magic this year.
Look for Philly to muscle its way into covering the number here,
while the Magic continue their sliding disarray.