Magic vs. Hawks: Slow Paced Game Makes 'Under' The Sharp NBA Pick

Kevin Stott

Monday, January 18, 2016 3:28 PM GMT

The Atlanta Hawks have hosted an NBA game on Martin Luther King Jr. Day for 16 straight seasons and Monday will be no different when their rivals, the Orlando Magic arrive. Check our NBA pick here.

 

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Predicted Final Score:  Hawks 95 Magic 88
Free NBA Pick: Under 201
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Magic vs. Hawks
Southeast Division rivals the Atlanta Hawks (24-17 SU, 14-7 Away) welcome the Orlando Magic (20-19 SU, 8-10 Away) to Philips Arena in Atlanta late Monday afternoon for this second of four meetings between these teams this NBA Regular Season as the Hawks host an NBA game on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day for a 17th straight season. Oddsmakers have opened the Hawks as 8-point favorites (Pinnacle) with the game’s Total (Points) set at 201 (Pinnacle). The Money Line (Winner) odds here sees Atlanta priced at a large -350 with guests Orlando lined at makes-you-think-about-it +270 on the takeback (BetVictor) while the 1st Half odds see the host Hawks as 4½-point favorites on the NBA odds board (Winner). Some random Prop bets for this MLK Day matinee from the Peach State: Overtime? Yes +850, No -10,000 (Bwin); and, Race to 20 Points: Hawks -225, Magic +162 (Ladbrokes).

 

Orlando Magic
The Orlando Magic (99.1 PF-98.8 PA) have been slumping lately and have lost 6 of their L7 SU and are a disappointing 2-6 ATS over their L8, so playing good against Southeast Division rival and current leaders Atlanta would be a nice start to turning things around and the minimal Travel north to Georgia involved here is almost insignificant and a trip up the block compared to having to fly up to Detroit or Cleveland where the Magic were completely hammered by the Pistons and the Cavaliers on their recent Road trip. Still, Head Coach Scott Skiles and Orlando (23-15-1 ATS) sit above the .500 mark, have been playing relatively good hoops on the Road (8-10 SU Away) and are in reaching distance of that (destined to face the Cavaliers) 8th Playoff spot in the now-not-so-bad-as-it-was-before Eastern Conference. In their last game, Orlando (200/1 to win NBA Championship, Ladbrokes) really traveled and suffered a 106-103 loss to the Toronto Raptors at the O2 Arena in London on Thursday. In that game across that proverbial big pond, Orlando and Michigan State product Skiles had a Starting 5 of C Nikola Vucevic (17.1 ppg, 8.3 rpg), PF Channing Frye, SF Tobias Harris, SG Victor Oladipo and PG Evan Fournier and Indiana product Oladipo led the way for the Magic with 27 points, while Fournier added 21, big man Vucevic 17 and 11 boards and Harris 16 and 11 rebounds. As he has done lately, PG Elfrid Payton (5.8 apg) came in off the Bench for Orlando (Under 7-3 L10 Magic games on Mondays) and had 4 points while PF Jason Smith (16 points) was the only other scorer off the Bench for the Magic who reportedly will be without starting SG and key cog Oladipo who was ruled out Sunday with a Sprained Right Knee.

 

Atlanta Hawks
The Atlanta Hawks (102.7 PF-100.6 PA) aren’t quite as dominant as they were at this time last season but Head Coach Mike Budenholzer and his team are still on top of the division and still only 5½ game behind Eastern Conference leaders Cleveland. In their last game, Atlanta (20-20-1 ATS) bounced the Brooklyn Nets here at Home, 114-86 as PF Paul Millsap (21 points) led the way for the hosts and Atlanta shot 55.7% from the field (44-79). Along with Millsap (18.5 ppg, 8.6 rpg), Budenholzer had PG Jeff Teague (5.6 apg), SG Kyle Korver (3 points, 0-4 3’s), SF Kent Bazemore (15 points) and C Al Horford (10 points) in his Starting 5 so this incarnation of the Hawks (14/1 to win Eastern Conference, Totesport) looks a little bit different than last year’s model. In the win over the Lowly Nets, Atlanta (40/1 to win NBA Championship, Ladbrokes) got nice balanced scoring from PG Dennis Schroeder (21 points), C Tiago Splitter (10 points), Tim Hardaway Jr. (8 points), Thabo Sefolosha (7 points) and Shelvin Mack (6 points), And talented depth that can provide scoring and plenty of minutes—something Atlanta (11-10 SU at Home) seems to possess—is always a good thing in the NBA.

 

Series Trends, Logical Reasoning and Pick
Lately, this series has trended to the Orlando Magic (6-2 ATS L8 meetings), and with the opening number high enough (8), blindly backing the underdogs at that number (or more) for a small amount seems better than taking the Hawks and laying the 8 in this spot until you hear that Oladipo (Right Knee) has been ruled Out, meaning Payton (10.8 ppg, 5.8 apg) will probably start at the Point and Fournier (13.9 ppg) at the Shooting Guard spot. If you blindly took (ATS) the Magic the L10 in this series, usually in the role of an underdog, you would have W7 bets and the 3 you would have lost would have not covered by just 1½ (last meeting), 3 and 3½ points. So, this easily a strong enough Trend to put some credence in, even the way the Magic have been playing of late (L6 of 7 SU) as the Hawks had L4 of 6 before their Home-court win over Brooklyn. And 8 points is 8 points, and teams only care about winning and not covering (a Point Spread) so a (getting) 8 points can loom large in a game where the underdog could very well win and the Total is relatively low (201). And Orlando is 7-3-1 ATS in its L11 on the Road and has been a good money-maker away from the Sunshine State so far this season (11-6-1 ATS on Road) although the Magic (7-3 ATS L10 vs Hawks) may have some tiredness issues after having played in England in their last game and having had to travel back here to the States and the Hawks (5-2 SU vs Southeast Division) have covered the L2 meetings, although just barely.
The last meeting—and first one of this season between the two saw the Hawks top the Magic, 103-100 in Orlando last month (Dec. 2o) and cover ATS as a 1½-point favorite (Total 201). The Magic have covered 3 straight in Atlanta losing by 7, 6 and winning outright by 17 as a 7-point underdog (November, 2013). And it seems the Under is the way to go here with Orlando (18-21-0 O/U) games slightly skewing to the Under, the Under 7-2 ATS the Hawks L9 vs. The southeast Division and especially with the Under a powerful 21-5 the L26 in this frequent series played here in the city of Atlanta (80.1%) although the Over is a strong 12-3 ATS in Atlanta’s L15 overall, so buyer beware there although none of those 15 games in this series involved one of the teams having had to take a plane back 4,336 miles over an ocean to play the next game between the two and (late, 5 p.m. EST) afternoon starts a rarity, usually only happening during an occasional weekend game, so that as well as Victor Oladipo’s (Right Knee Sprain) absence may have some small effect on overall pace and scoring. Add Under as the NBA Pick.