Free NBA Picks: Hot Raptors Defense to Key 'Under' Against Magic

Jay Pryce

Sunday, March 20, 2016 12:11 AM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 20, 2016 12:11 AM UTC

The Magic and Raptors meet for the third and final time this season on Sunday afternoon (4:30 p.m. ET) in Toronto. Orlando covered in the previous two. Can the Raptors handle a double-digit spread in this one? Get your NBA pick and analysis here.

The Magic and Raptors meet for the third and final time this season on Sunday afternoon (4:30 p.m. ET). Orlando eked out a 92-87 victory as a 5.5-point dog on the NBA odds board in the first matchup, while covering the number but falling in overtime in the second 106-103 (+4.5) in London. The Magic's early-season win is their only one in the last 13 meetings (8-5 ATS).


Orlando Magic (29-39 SU, 39-29 ATS)
Victor Oladipo poured in a career-high 45 points on Friday night, but it was not enough to overcome the Eastern Conference-leading Cavaliers. The Magic fell 109-103, handing Cleveland a 4-0 series sweep this season. Scott Skiles men did cover the 9.5-point spread, though, a common occurrence on the year. They are the NBA's third best betting team against the number behind the Spurs (58.2) and Warriors (57.8), winning at a 57.4 percent clip.

The Magic's defense has a tendency of rolling over against better-than-average offenses as a road dog, yielding 108.6 points per night to those scoring 102.5 (NBA average as of Saturday) or more a contest. As a decent-sized dog of 5-points or more, the total rises to 112.4 points in eight games. In contrast, the Raptors allow just 96.7 points per game as home chalk against offenses putting up less than the league average. Orlando enters averaging 100.9 (21st) points a night as opposed to Toronto's 103.0 (13th).

This will be the eighth game in a row team leading scorer Nikola Vucevic (17.8 ppg) will have to sit out because of a sore groin. In 10 games the big man has not suited up this year, the Magic score 2.4 points below market projections, but are a little better on D holding opponents 1.2 under the predicted team total. Dewayne Dedmon and Jason Smith will split minutes at the center position.

Magic backers will keep their eye on Oladipo. Averaging 15.9 points a night, when the former Hoosiers man sinks 19 points or more on the evening, Orlando is 15-4 ATS. Could he be in for more looks with Vucevic out? Possibly. Oldiapo has gone over the points threshold in five of the seven games in his most recent stint on the sidelines. .


Toronto Raptors (47-21 SU, 37-28-3 ATS)
Toronto stuffed an injury-riddled Celtics squad 105-91 at Air Canada Centre on Friday night, keeping it just two games behind Cleveland for top spot in the conference. It was the third game in a row the Raptors held their opponents south of 95 points, pinning them 11 points below market projections on average. The defense's 102.9 points allowed per 100 possessions over their last five games is sixth best in the NBA.

Like Orlando, Toronto may be without its starting center Jonas Valanciunas for a fourth straight game because of a hand injury. With the team's third-leading scorer (12.7 ppg) out of the lineup, the Raptors are a more defense-focused team with backup Bismack Biyombo getting more minutes. In 20 games the Lithuanian national has missed, the Raptors play 4.6 points below the closing total with an average score of 99.7 to 94.7. When seeing minutes, the Raptors play above the total by 2.5 points a night seeing a 104.4 to 99.7 average game score.

The Raptors are nipping at the Magic's heels as one of the best wagering franchises this season, beating the number 56.5 percent of the time, fourth best.


Final Analysis
The Magic have matched up well against the Raptors this year, but the games occurred unusual circumstances. The Raptors had tired legs in the first meeting on Nov. 3, their sixth game in eight days to start the season. They shot an abysmal 34.9 percent from the floor, their second lowest rate on the year, including going 5 for 23 from 3-point range. The London meeting, likewise, came on the back end of a four-game road trip. Toronto will be well-rested for this one, and we expect it to play well on both sides of the ball. Whether Valanciunas plays or not, Orlando will need to conjure up some magic to hit the century mark in this one. UNDER 210 is the play for your NBA picks.

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NBA Pick: Under 210
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline

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