Make the Magic, Nets ‘Over’ One of Your NBA Picks Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, December 14, 2015 7:03 PM GMT

Monday, Dec. 14, 2015 7:03 PM GMT

There could be a higher scoring game than the raw year-to-date numbers may lead you to believe Monday night when the Orlando Magic make the trek north to visit the Brooklyn Nets.

 

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NBA Pick: Magic, Nets ‘Over’ 198 (-106)
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Although it may not be obvious at first glance, there could be a deceptively high scoring game Monday night when the much improved but slumping Orlando Magic (12-11, 15-7-1 ATS) pay a visit to the improving Brooklyn Nets (7-16, 14-9 ATS) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY at 7:35 ET in a game available on YES.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 198 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -106.

 

Both Teams Covering ATS Regularly
Believe it or not, these have been two of the best ATS bets in the NBA through the early going despite their mediocre records. The Magic have been Eastern Conference doormats for several years and there was good reason that their odds were set at 300-1 on the NBA Futures before the season, yet we have reached mid-December and Orlando is still over .500 at 12-11 straight up even with three losses the last four games while going a scintillating 15-7-1 ATS.

The Nets on the other hand probably underperformed over the first month of the season for Coach Lionel Hollins while oftentimes resembling the second worst team in the Eastern Conference, besting only a Philadelphia 76ers team that is currently 1-24 as an NBA pick. Brooklyn is playing much better lately though, and rather surprisingly the Nets are sitting at a nice 14-9 ATS.

 

More Bargnani Means More Points?
The Nets have continued to struggle defensively though even while going 4-3 in their last seven games (5-2 ATS) after beginning the season at 3-13 in their first 16 games. The Nets are 22nd in the NBA in points against at 102.5 per game, but they have actually been worse than that because they play at a slow pace, meaning they are allowing all those points over fewer possessions than most other teams.

Furthermore Brooklyn is actually getting a little worse allowing an average of 104.6 points on 46.5 percent shooting over the past five games. At the same time the Nets are just 26th in points scored with 96.6 per game. However, the recent Nets improvement is directly correlated to the recent improvement of the Nets’ offense, which has now reached 100 points in three straight games.

It has helped that Andrea Bargnani has returned after missing five games with a hamstring injury, and he has been an offensive force his two games back, scoring 23 points vs. the 76ers on his return and then scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter alone vs. the Clippers on Saturday, keying a 37-point final stanza for Brooklyn that nearly erased a 14-point deficit in the 105-100 loss. Look for more extended minutes for Bargnani going forward and facing Orlando helps.

 

Magic Defense Struggling Lately
Wait, why would facing an Orlando defense ranked 10th in the NBA in points against at 99.2 per game and fifth in field goal percentage allowed at 42.8 percent help the Brooklyn offense? Well, because the Magic have a nice nucleus of offensive players in Evan Fournier, Elfrid Payton, Nikola Vucevic, Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo, but none of them are really considered defensive stalwarts, so the early season defensive success may have been a mirage.

And the regression of the defense is now in progress, although that may not be obvious when looking at the 97.8 points allowed over the last five games. Keep in mind though that includes an outlying 85-74 win over the Nuggets where Denver shot 33.3 percent from the floor. If you toss that contest and look at the other four games out of the last five, Orlando allowed 103.8 points per game on a generous 49.0 percent shooting in those games!

Granted the Orlando offense has slumped to 93.8 points per game those last five contests, but this looks like a nice bounce-back spot for a unit still averaging nearly 100 points over the whole season (99.9) vs. a poor Brooklyn defense, especially if the Magic are able to quicken the pace a little as they often do.

 

Nice ‘over’ Road Run for Orlando
Finally, mainly due to the recent difficulties of the Orlando defense, the ‘over’ is now 5-2 in the Magic’s last seven road games with the five ‘overs’ averaging a whopping 207.8 points, which is nearly 10 points higher than this posted total.

When you then add in the recent improvement of the Nets’ offense, look for that Orlando ‘over’ trend on the road to continue when it visits Brooklyn on Monday.

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