This Magic Moment: Take Orlando Over Oladipo-Less Pacers On Friday

Jason Lake

Thursday, December 6, 2018 7:11 PM UTC

Thursday, Dec. 6, 2018 7:11 PM UTC

The Orlando Magic aren’t as bad as they used to be. The NBA odds have the Indiana Pacers favored for Friday’s matchup, but they’re missing their key player. Let's see how that might affect your NBA picks.

Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Dec. 5: 7-6 ATS, 4-2 Totals

Indiana (14-10 SU, 11-13 ATS) at Orlando (12-13 SU, 15-10 ATS)Friday, 7 p.m. ETFree NBA Pick: Magic MLBest Line Offered: 5Dimes

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3569021, "sportsbooksIds":[19,93,169,1275,238], "LineTypeId":2, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Welcome to the NBA’s Southeast Division, where all the teams are losers and the points don’t matter. In first place at press time: the 12-13 Orlando Magic, who started the new season as +15000 long shots to win their first-ever title. They weren’t even supposed to make the playoffs in their maiden voyage under head coach Steve Clifford, but here they are leading the Southeast – and with the No. 7 record in the top-heavy Eastern Conference.

Two spots above them: the Indiana Pacers, who were +8000 to win the title after nearly upsetting LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers during last year’s playoffs. The Pacers opened as 1.5-point favorites on the NBA odds board for Friday’s game at the Multi-Level Marketing Center. Fantastic, because without their top scorer, Indiana will probably lose this game straight-up.

Evansville Business Journal

That’s according to the hoop-nerd projections at FiveThirtyEight, which now account for player injuries and other personnel changes. They have Orlando pegged as a 3-point home chalk; the Magic are healthy, but the Pacers are without All-Star SG Victor Oladipo (plus-3.1 BPM), who has missed the last eight games with a sore right knee. Indiana went 4-4 SU and 3-5 ATS during those games.

This is a big problem for the Pacers. Tyreke Evans (minus-3.0 BPM) is starting in Oladipo’s place, and he doesn’t seem to fit with what Indiana is trying to do. Evans had a strong comeback year for the Memphis Grizzlies in 2017-18, posting a plus-3.6 BPM and earning a one-year, $12.4-million deal from the Pacers. This year? Not so much, but because it’s Indiana, the betting public hasn’t really been paying attention.

Nik at Nite

Not that any sane individual would rather watch the Magic. This is still a basketball team with a problem, posting a minus-1.8 point differential compared to Indiana’s plus-3.6. But let’s take a moment to recognize what’s going right in The City Beautiful. Center Nikola Vucevic (plus-7.4 BPM) is healthy and enjoying a breakout season in his eighth year; big guys do take longer to develop than others. Aaron Gordon (plus-1.8 BPM) is healthy, too, and back on the right track at age 23.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

Orlando Magic per source: “Vucevic wants to get paid.” - https://t.co/CqxVfOk8wF “This is his last chance at a big contract as he approaches unrestricted free agency” Orlando isn't going to sign him to a new 4-5 year deal because that will interfere with Mo Bamba's development.. pic.twitter.com/ro7K35UsnR

— Brandon Robinson (@ScoopB) December 4, 2018
\n\n"}[/]

The Magic are a mixed bag after those two. But they havea defensively-sound head coach in Clifford, and he spent five years in Orlando under Stan Van Gundy, so he has previous experience working with Vucevic (plus-2.8 DBPM). We’ll take the Magic in Friday’s NBA picks, and because they’re small home dogs, we’ll go with the moneyline instead for some extra value. Shop smart, and may the sphere be with you.

comment here