The Bucks have the better record and will come into tonight's game in Orlando as the favorites on the NBA betting odds board. Who do we like to cover?
Most NBA odds list Milwaukee as four point favorites, but there are one or two sites out there that have a line of 4.5 for the taking.
The total can be found at 206.5 as of now, which is a lot higher than we actually anticipated it would be. These teams rank 20th and 23rd in the NBA in terms of points scored per game, but evidently odds makers still foresee an up-tempo game tonight.
A rough stretch has seen the Magic lose six games in a row. They've lost to the Grizzlies, Thunder and Pacers at home and Pistons, Knicks and Grizzlies on the road, so the losses have come against all kinds of competition. Overall on the year, Orlando is sitting at 15-33.
The Magic have been off since Monday's loss to Memphis. Nikola Vucevic had 18 points and 12 rebounds, Victor Oladipo had a 18/7/2 line, and Elfrid Payton and Dewayne Dedmon also scored in double figures, as Orlando shot 47.4 percent from the field overall. Defensively was where Jacque Vaughn's team struggled, as they particularly had trouble containing the duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol inside.
We're still in rebuilding mode for Orlando, so the early returns were never going to be all that positive. This is one of the youngest teams you're going to find in the NBA, but they seem set up nicely in terms of the future. Vucevic, Oladipo, Payton and even Tobias Harris have shown some great things this season already, and the franchise will be eager to get a closer look at rookie Aaron Gordon too. With another high draft pick on the way in time for next year, we're certainly going to be keeping a keen eye on this franchise.
Though they can't seem to put a consistent winning streak together, the Bucks are still hanging around and making life difficult on whoever they play. Few could have seen Milwaukee sporting a 23-22 record at this point in the season, yet here we are. Jason Kidd has done a great job leading this young group, even with an unfortunate injury to Jabari Parker.
Milwaukee comes in having won two of its last three, with wins over Miami and Detroit and a road loss to San Antonio sprinkled in there. The road win over the Heat on Tuesday was impressive, even though the hosts were missing the likes of Luol Deng and Chris Andersen. The Bucks shot a scorching-hot 54.9 percent from the floor, with seven different players reaching double-digit scoring in another great all-around team effort.
Brandon Knight and Giannis Antetokounmpo continue to be the standouts for Milwaukee and should be instrumental to team's chances again tonight.
As far as "bad" teams go, we have a lot more faith in Orlando than we do the likes of the Knicks or 76ers, for example. The Magic at least have a solid foundation for the future.
So, even though Orlando has been on a bad losing run, we think there's still value to be had here. The Magic have the talent in place to win this game straight up and that makes getting those extra points all the more appealing.
Having not won on their home floor for a couple weeks, Orlando will be eager to give the fans something to cheer about. Against a gritty, but not super talented Milwaukee team, we like the Magic's chances of keeping this close and vying for the outright win. Back Oladipo, Vucevic and the rest of the bunch for your NBA Picks.
NBA Pick: Orlando Magic +4.5 At Bodog