Just last week we were talking up Orlando with their new style of play, wondering if the Magic should be considered for NBA picks. Find out what we predict will happen tonight in Memphis vs. the Grizzlies.
No need to wonder any longer, Orlando 0-5 SU and ATS since beating Chicago and Houston in back to back games. It looks like it was just a fairy tale, just like Disney World is just down the road from the Magic play and that was just a ‘Frozen’ moment in time.
However, is Orlando worth consideration for sports picks against NBA odds given their record as a road underdog this season? Let’s put on our Goofy detective garb and see if we can figure this out.
Nothing Magical about Orlando’s Defense
Head coach Jacque Vaughn encouraged his team eight games ago to pick up the offensive pace and let their natural skills and athleticism help them create easier baskets and better looks at the basket.
In that span, Orlando (15-32, 24-23 ATS) has dramatically improved their scoring average, up to 106.3 points a contest, compared to their current average of 95.8 PPG for the season.
While this has turned out to be a positive development, Vaughn still has work to do as the losing streak shows, like the Magic players also understanding you have to play defense when the other team has the ball.
In Orlando’s past six games, opposing teams are connecting on nearly 51 percent of shot attempts and in the Magic’s past five setbacks, they are surrendering a ginormous 116 points a contest.
Think about this, you have to score 117 points just to win, let alone compete.
Yet as all NBA basketball handicappers and those presiding over the betting odds understand, the point spread is the great equalizer and Orlando is 17-8 ATS this campaign as a road underdog. If they show concern on the defensive end while still attempting to push the ball, they could be a viable option.
Vaughn is doing his job to improve the defense by inserting rookie Aaron Gordon into the starting lineup. "The start at the three (position) will give us some defensive prowess, I think, from Aaron, his attention to detail, that'll help that [starting] group out for sure," said Vaughn. We begin to find out tonight.
Grizzlies Have Bite Again
From Dec.19th to Jan. 9th, Memphis (31-12, 22-20-1 ATS) was going through a dull period and was 4-7 and 3-8 ATS. As opposed to sitting idly by and hoping everything falls back into place, the Grizzlies front office traded for Jeff Green from Boston and to this juncture, he’s been a strong fit for a player known for defense with a varied offensive game.
Memphis has won six of seven (5-1-1 ATS), with Green being a part of the picture in the past five.
The Grizzles success this season is predicated on a much improved offense, which averages 101.5 points per game. Memphis more free-flowing offense has led to easier scoring chances instead of always setting up in the half court and while their defense allows a couple more points because of their pace, this has been overcome with increased offensive production.
Memphis is 18-5 and 12-10-1 ATS at home this season.
Betting Odds and Head to Head
Before placing your NBA picks, understand that sportsbooks released Memphis at -11.5 and they are up a point to -12.5. The big change in this matchup is the total, down to 205.5 from opening point of 209. The decrease is of note, especially since Orlando is 8-0 OVER of late.
However, Memphis off their 18-point win over Philadelphia as 17.5-point favorites, they are 13-0 UNDER after a cover as a double digit favorite.
The Grizz has won seven straight over Orlando (5-2 ATS) and the UNDER is 10-3 dating back almost exactly seven years.
With Memphis in quick turnaround revenge situation at Dallas tomorrow evening, I’m not sure we will see the best of the Grizzles tonight. Given their aforementioned home spread record and the fact they are only 3-5 ATS as a FedEx Forum favorite of eight points or more this season, Orlando might be worth a look.
NBA Basketball Free Pick: Orlando +12.5 at The Greek