NBA Picks: Mavericks vs. Magic

Jordan Sharp

Sunday, January 20, 2013 5:01 PM GMT

Sunday, Jan. 20, 2013 5:01 PM GMT

The Mavs take to the road tonight, for an early evening battle with the Magic in Orlando. NBA Odds for this one opened favoring Dallas by 3. But can the struggling Maverick cover a measly 3 points?

NBA Picks: Mavs vs. Magic

Season Straight Picks record: 61-42-4 ATS

With three NBA Picks for tonight, I’m hoping to have another monster day in the Association. There may be only four games on the schedule, but that doesn’t matter as I have another game with value this evening. 

Mavs struggling to fit in

Like some champions of the past, the Mavs were the epitome of a one and done in the Finals. Unlike the Spurs who have created a dynasty in Texas by winning four championships in the last 15 years, the Mavs won the title, were a low seed and first round loss in the playoffs last season, and now it appears they are destined for the lottery.

Dallas is 17-24 SU and 22-19 ATS on the season, but it just isn’t enough to get excited about for both records. The Mavs are still in the playoff picture, but they will have to have a great second half of the season, as they sit behind three teams still not in the playoff picture.

Even after going on a four game winning streak, (halted by the 52 points from Kevin Durant the other night) the Mavs still need to do work. Their defense is one of the worst in the NBA, and a far cry from their performance in the playoffs two seasons ago.

This is a very different team however, and while they aren’t as deep as most teams, their first six or seven guys are as good as any. With Nowitzki back and playing at a high level, and OJ Mayo still having a career-defining season, the Mavs are good, but are they good enough to make the playoffs and even do anything in them? I don’t think so.

Magic threatening

Although injuries really hurt them at the start of the season, the Magic are starting to play very well for a team that was supposed to be one of the worst in the NBA. Their record is deceiving, and even after going on a ten-game losing streak in December and January, the Magic have won two of their last four, and are only six games out of a playoff spot.

The key for Orlando is health, because they have proven their capabilities when fully healthy this season. They just got back Glen Davis, who was having a career season before he got hurt back in November, and guys like Jameer Nelson, Aaron Afflalo and Nikola Vucevic are also all having career seasons.

Nelson and Davis are both a bit banged up, but there doesn’t appear to be anything really serious about their bumps and bruises, and I think both will play tonight. 

[gameodds]5/134447/43/us[/gameodds]

The Sharp Pick

Lines for this game were very late coming out, and they favor the Mavs at -3 here on the road. I understand the Mavs have been playing a lot better as of late, but at home, the Magic are tough to beat. I think the Magic will come to play and get the cover. As long as they slow down Nowitzki enough, this team is solid enough defensively to get a win. BetOnline and Bookmaker are still at +3, but the betting odds at some of the books have moved to 3.5.

My Pick: Magic +3.5 (Shop around for best price)

Also, see my pick on the Thunder vs. the Nuggets!

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