NBA Picks: Celtics vs. Magic

Joe Freda

Friday, November 8, 2013 1:37 PM GMT

The Orlando Magic moved to a 5-0 spread record in this year’s NBA betting with Wednesday’s 98-90 win over the Los Angeles Clippers. Friday’s league slate now has Jacque Vaughn’s club in its first role as a favorite, hosting the Boston Celtics.

Read our NBA Picks: Friday Night Picks for more free plays.

Magic, Vucevic top Clippers

Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic piled in season-highs of 30 points and 21 boards as part of Wednesday’s triumph, with the Magic cashing as 6 ½-point home dogs. The third-year center knocked down 11-of-19 floor shots, while sinking a perfect 8-of-8 at the foul line.

Magic mates E’Twaun Moore and Victor Oladipo both reached double figures off the bench, uniting to drain 4-of-6 buckets beyond the arc. Oladipo added two of his side’s seven steals, while guard Jameer Nelson came away with a team-high eight assists.

The matchup’s combined 188 points plunged below the ‘total’ of 207 ½, cashing UNDER tickets for my followers. Orlando held the Clippers to 37.9 percent field shooting, while outscoring its visitors in the paint, 44-30.

Celtics end losing streak

The Boston Celtics picked up their first win on the same night, collecting as 4 ½-point home ‘chalk’ in a 97-87 victory over the Utah Jazz. Celtics veteran Brandon Bass notched a team-high 20 points, while adding four rebounds and two blocks.

Bass’ frontcourt mate Jeff Green connected 6-of-13 shots from the field, uniting with guard Jordan Crawford for four assists each. Celtics forwards Kelly Olynyk and Gerald Wallace combined for 17 boards off the bench, while logging one steal each.

Boston surged to as much as a 25-point lead, erasing an early 16-3 deficit by the second quarter. The UNDER moved to 4-1 in the Celtics’ first five games, with the contest’s 184 points ducking beneath the closing ‘total’ of 185.

[gameodds]5/247166/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Back the UNDER in Orlando

Bet365 opened Orlando as a seven-point home favorite, while first posting the ‘total’ at 189. Early wagers on Boston and the OVER had NBA odds makers shifting the numbers to six and 189 ½.

I am backing the UNDER with my NBA picks, looking for another tight matchup at Amway Center as Orlando’s four-game home stand ends.

The Magic have seen the UNDER cash at 2-1 in the stingy trio of duels on their floor, holding foes to 88.7 PPG. Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic leads the Eastern Conference in boards (13.2 RPG), while Victor Oladipo has notched eight steals through his last three outings.

Boston has been kept to its lowest octane away from TD Garden, putting up a meager 84 PPG in opposing arenas. The Celtics have connected from three-point land at a subpar 26.5 percent clip in that span, while center Vitor Faverani answered back with five blocks to keep his rivals in check.

Orlando has ranked a lowly 24th in the league for free throws (71.3 percent), while giving up a rigid 39.8 percent mark of field shooting. The OVER went 2-1 between these rivals in last year’s three meetings, but look for a lower tempo this time around with Rajon Rondo still out for the Celtics with a torn ACL.

NBA Picks:  UNDER 189 ½ at Bet365