NBA Pick on Orlando Magic over Boston

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 6:59 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 6:59 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Tuesday.


We like the chances of the home team Tuesday night to bounce back from a home loss to the worst team in the NBA when the Boston Celtics (10-15, 3-7 away) pay a visit to those Orlando Magic (10-20, 3-8 home) at the Amway Center in Orlando, FL at 7:05 ET in a game available on Comcast SportsNet - New England.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Orlando as a small home favorite for this contest with the current line at -2 with odds of -106.

Not as Bad as Record
Now we are not in the habit of giving points with teams that are 10-20 for the season, but this is a small line at home for a Magic team that may have the better foreseeable future between these teams as Orlando does have some fine young talent that belies its record. The Magic are also seeking revenge for a 109-92 loss at Boston last Wednesday when the Celtics still had Rajon Rondo running the point.

Boston of course traded away Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks the next day on Thursday and the Celtics were the losing NBA picks in their first game without him Sunday 100-84 to the Heat in Miami. The Celtics may also have a bright future, but that future is in the long-term provided they use all of the draft picks that they have stockpiled over the next few seasons wisely.

Embarrassing Loss to 76ers
The Magic have the talent to surprise some teams right now, and given that we think they are actually better than the Celtics presently we have no qualms about giving a couple of points at home in this spot. Of course, many would disagree with Orlando being the better team after losing to the previously 2-23 Philadelphia 76ers 96-88 here at home on Sunday, but we actually feel that loss has served to give the Magic some good line value here.

After all, Orlando does have four starters averaging at least 14.5 points at the current time and they are now joined by rookie point guard Elfrid Payton, a recent insertion into the stating lineup that has 17 assists in the last two games.

And that quartet of double-digit scorers has a diverse way of scoring those points, as Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris have the versatility to score from anywhere, Evan Fournier is a long-range three-point specialist and Nikola Vucevic provides an inside presence. In fact, Vucevic remains one of the most underrated big men in the league as he is averaging 18.2 points and 11.8 rebounds and has amazingly posted double-doubles in all 16 games he has played this year.

Life Without Rondo
This will definitely be what Boston Coach Brad Stevens described as an “exploratory period” as the Celtics adjust to life without Rondo, who had been the last remaining piece of the recent Celtic glory years. Even this year with so much undeveloped youth around him, Rondo was leading the NBA in assists with his 10.6 per game at the time he was traded to the Mavericks last week for Jameer Nelson, Brandan Wright, Jae Crowder and some future draft picks.

The initial results in the post-Rondo era were not good as Boston shot just 33-of-83, 39.8 percent from the floor in the loss at Miami with the three newcomers going a combined 4-for-13 from the field with a combined nine points. The Boston starting lineup also got younger with rookie Marcus Smart taking over as the starting point guard, but he produced just three points and four assists vs. the Heat.

On a side note, one of the new acquisitions Nelson now makes his return to Orlando after spending his entire 11-year NBA career with the Magic prior to this season. It remains to be seen how happy Nelson even is to be in Boston, as he signed with Dallas as a free agent looking for a chance to play for a championship, and he cannot be too pleased about being traded to another rebuilding team less than two months into his Mavericks’ career.

Fournier Back on Track
Finally, the aforementioned Fournier has gotten back on track from long range for Orlando, going 7-for-12 from three-point land over the last two games while making a connection with Payton after going just 8-for-31 from deep the previous eight contests, including 0-for-3 vs. the Celtics in Boston.

That in itself should make this a different contest than last week, and combined with the Celtics’ transitional phase, look for Orlando to prevail at home Tuesday.

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NBA Pick: Magic -2 (-106)

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