Let’s look at Orlando's Roster, analyze opponents & weigh the Futures Book Season Team Win Total number(s) currently in the marketplace and make a solid pick from the findings.
The Orlando Magic (25-57, 95.7 PF-101.4 PA in 2014) and new Head Coach Scott Skiles had a very humbling and rebuilding 2014/15 NBA Regular Season, and looking at the team’s current young Roster and weighing it against the other teams in the Eastern Conference, it really seems this will be another really long season in Disney World and that the Magic’s final record may almost be identical to what it was last season. The Magic (5-2 Preseason, 101.4 PF-98.7 PA) will play the Wizards at the Verizon Center in Washington, DC on NBA Opening Night (Oct. 28) on Wednesday (7 p.m. EDT/4 p.m. PDT) in a tough lidlifter for the Magic but at least against a winnable opponent. The Wizards are 3- (Paddy Power) to 4-point (SkyBet) favorites in this game with the Total set at 193½ (Paddy Power) and 194½ (Ladbrokes) at two UK betting shops. Washington is a -170 favorite on the Money Line with Orlando priced at +150 on the takeback (Ladbrokes) while the Magic Team Total Points is at 97½ (Under -125, William Hill) and the Wizards Team Total Points is at 101½ (Under -137, Stan James).
In the Offseason, the Magic drafted 20-year-old SF Mario Hezonja (7-0, 200) from Croatia with the No. 5 overall pick with the NBA Draft, so Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan and the 51-year-old Skiles decided to gamble on a young European who will likely need some time to adjust to both the rugged NBA and his new American culture. And the funky state of Florida certainly has a unique culture, so it may take some time for Hezonja (20/1 NBA Rookie of the Year, Boylesports) to get used to stray Alligators, Disney World and Humidity so thick you can chew it. Anyway, before I lose my post at the Florida Department of Tourism, here’s the Magic’s current Roster. And as you’ll see, it’s a very young and inexperienced one with just two players over 30 years old (Channing Frye 32, CJ Watson 31) on it and three players 21 years old or younger (Rookie Hezonja 20, Aaron Gordon 20, Elfrid Payton 21). Better hide the beer fellas. Orlando Magic Projected Starting 5 and Bench
C-Nikola Vucevic : Jason Smith : Dewayne Dedmon : Nnanna Eghu
PF-Aaron Gordon : Channing Frye : Andrew Nicholson
SF-Tobias Harris : Mario Hezonja [R] : Devyn Marble
SG-Victor Oladipo : Ean Fournier
PG- Elfrid Payton : CJ Watson : Shabazz Napier
Conclusions and Why Orlando Magic Have No Chance (Again) in the Eastern Conference
The Orlando Magic (500/1 to win NBA Championship, William Hill) fired Head Coach Jacque Vaughn and decided to go with former Michigan State and for Magic G Skiles, so maybe this Magic team clamps down some on the defensive end of the hardwood, but still, this team is devoid of a true take-over-the-game leader with PG Payton and C Vucevic (24 Points, 14 Rebounds in 110-107 OT win Tuesday over the New Orleans Pelicans in Orlando) may be the closest thing statistically and SG and University of Indiana product Oladipo may be Orlando’s best possibility mold-wise. This team doesn’t have the kind of deep and experienced Roster other teams in the Eastern Conference do, and the Magic (13-28 Home) won’t be able to manufacture any decent Win Streaks playing in the Eastern Conference with so many improved teams who are honestly much better than this Orlando (12-29 on Road) squad. Many of these average teams will be fighting for the three of the last 8 playoff spots in the conference, but there is little if any chance that the Magic will be one of them. In the conference, logic dictates that LeBron James and the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors and the aforementioned Wizards and PG John Wall will all probably make it back again and may finish 1-2-3-4-5 again in the East. So that leaves the 6th-place Milwaukee Bucks (41-41), 7th-place Boston Celtics (40-42), 8th-place Brooklyn Nets (38-44), 9th-place Indiana Pacers (38-44), 10th-place Miami Heat (37-45), 11th-place Charlotte Hornets (33-49), 12th-place Detroit Pistons (32-50), these 13th-place Orlando Magic (25-57), the 14th place Philadelphia 76ers (18-64) and the lowly 15th-place New York Knicks (17-65) all fighting for those three theoretical spots. So, East Bottom Feeders like Orlando, Philadelphia and New York are all more than likely in for another really long season.
But we’re focusing on the Orlando Magic Regular Season Team Win Total here (33½, Under +110, William Hill) and because none of these other teams should drop off too much and all will be a year more mature and ready to beat other teams they think they should (like the Magic), expect Orlando and new Head Coach Skiles to finish with a very similar record to last Regular Season—probably a range of +/- 3 games from that mark (25-57) or from 22-60 to 28-54. This is much lower than the posted 32½’s (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) and 33½’s in the current market, and worth a shot on the Under 33½, where at William Hill it’s now (Thursday night) priced at +110. Last season, Orlando (200/1 to win Eastern Conference, Boylesports) finished in 5th and last place in the Southeast Division with a 25-37 record—12 games under .500 and 8 back of Charlotte—and the Magic’s (4-12 vs. Southeast Division) 13th place overall in the Eastern Conference was a stanky 13 games back of the 8th-place Brooklyn Nets and a potential Playoff spot. Although Orlando had a decent Preseason (5-2), the Magic (80/1 to win Southeast Division, Stan James) are the type of team that everyone in their conference (15-37 vs. Eastern Conference) and the stronger Western Conference will think they should be beating when they see their name coming up on the schedule, both Home and on the Road. And the Magic had little Homecourt edge, finishing just 13-28 at Home last year, so thoughts of the Postseason (Will the Orlando Magic make the NBA Playoffs? ‘No’ -500, Yes +350, William Hill) or even a .500 record are simply wishful thinking. This team will be bad for years probably, but the pick here is to find that high 33½ in the market and go Under and then just calmly wait for the smell.
ORLANDO MAGIC TEAM WIN TOTAL NBA PICK: UNDER 33½ +110 (William Hill)
ORLANDO MAGIC PREDICTED FINAL RECORD: 26-56