NBA Picks for Magic vs. Raptors

Jason Lake

Sunday, February 23, 2014 12:53 PM UTC

Sunday, Feb. 23, 2014 12:53 PM UTC

Aaron Afflalo will not be playing for the Orlando Magic on Sunday when they visit the Toronto Raptors. Is the NBA betting market even paying attention to this important news?

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to February 21 inclusive:

65-54-1 ATS

18-14 Totals

Another day, another opportunity to bet on the Toronto Raptors. But have they already reached their peak in the NBA betting market? The Raptors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 98-91 Friday night, but they allowed the Cavs to sneak in the matador cover as 8-point road dogs, leaving Toronto at 4-3 SU and 2-4-1 ATS in its last seven games.

Next up for the Raps: the Orlando Magic, who stuck with the New York Knicks (–3.5 at home) on Friday and eventually pulled off the 129-121 victory in double overtime. The Magic may have won the game, but they lost arguably their best player in the process. Aaron Afflalo (17.6 PER) sprained his right ankle and didn’t make the trip across the border. As a result, Toronto has opened as a fat 10.5-point favorite on Sunday’s NBA odds board with total of 193.

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Northern Touch

It’s not every day the Raptors are double-digit favorites. This is just the second time it’s happened all season; the first was on Jan. 13, when the league-worst Milwaukee Bucks visited the ACC as 10.5-point puppies and lost 116-94. Toronto has been feasting on lower-level competition this year, going 18-9 ATS against losing teams and 9-5 ATS when favored by at least six points.

That includes the last time these two teams met, which was also in the Great White North. On Jan. 29, the Magic were getting 9.5 points against the Raptors, who took an early lead and stayed on top in a 98-83 final. Afflalo played in that game and was held to 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting. And while Orlando was at full capacity, Toronto was without DeMar DeRozan (18.4 PER), who was sidelined with a sprained ankle.

Is There Anybody Out There?

So why have the NBA lines moved by just the single point with Afflalo out, and DeRozan and Co. in? Perhaps out of ignorance. This is about as close as you can get to a mid-major matchup in the NBA; neither of these two teams gets much national television coverage, unless that nation is Canada – Sunday’s game is a 6:00 p.m. ET start on TSN, by the way.It isn’t just DeRozan coming in to work for the Raptors, either. Patrick Patterson (18.0 PER) missed the previous game against the Magic with a broken nose; he’s played excellent basketball since joining the team in the Rudy Gay trade, backing up Amir Johnson (15.1 PER) at power forward and often outplaying the incumbent. And for good measure, the Raps balanced their bench by picking up guard Nando De Colo (13.5 PER) from the San Antonio Spurs at the trade deadline, in exchange for little-used PF Austin Daye.

Big Bang Baby

While we’re at it, we should mention that Glen Davis (13.9 PER) is also not a part of Sunday’s proceedings after starting at power forward the last time Orlando went up north. Davis reached a buyout settlement with the Magic and is expected to clear waivers on Monday. He’s rumored to be on his way to either the Los Angeles Clippers, Brooklyn Nets, or perhaps the Miami Heat.

It’s possible the Raptors have run out of steam against the NBA lines, but a point or two here and there, and they’d be 4-3 ATS in their last seven. And given the changes in personnel since the last time these two teams met, there’s no reason to think Toronto can’t cover the spread again on Sunday. One of these teams is trying to nail down the No. 3 seed in the East, and it’s not the Magic.

NBA Pick: Take the Raptors –10.5 (–104) at Marathon

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