NBA Picks: Orlando To Magically Cover ATS vs. Grizzlies In Memphis

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, January 25, 2016 7:42 PM GMT

Monday, Jan. 25, 2016 7:42 PM GMT

It could be time for a correction when two teams on deceptive streaks meet on Monday night as the slumping Orlando Magic visit the seemingly hot Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum.

 

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NBA Pick: Magic +5½ 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Some correction could be in order with the underdogs holding some value Monday night when the Orlando Magic (20-22, 23-18-1 ATS), losers of nine of their last 10 games, pay a visit to the Memphis Grizzlies (25-20, 20-24-1 ATS), who have won six of their last eight games and nine of their last 10 at home here at FedExForum in Memphis, TN at 8:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Southeast.

The point spread at Heritage Sports has Orlando as a moderate road underdog for this contest with the current line at +5½ on the NBA odds board at odds of -105.

 

Penchant for Close Games Finally Bit Grizzlies
Yes the Grizzlies have won six of their last eight games overall, but four of the last five wins were by three points or less, which explains why Memphis is only 4-4 ATS in those last eight games, and that habit of playing close contests bit the Grizzlies in a 106-101 loss to the Timberwolves at Minnesota on Saturday, snapping a deceptive four game winning streak where an eight-point win over the New York Knicks was the only victory by more than three points.

The Magic are heading the other way in the standings as the losing NBA picks in five straight games straight up and in nine of the last 10, but at least Orlando continues to play hard with two of the losses during the five-game skid coming in overtime including the 120-116 defeat to the Charlotte Hornets in their last game Friday. Also, Orlando remains a tad underrated overall as evidenced by its winning 23-18-1 ATS record, while Memphis is just 20-24-1 ATS.

 

New Personality for Memphis?
Relatively quietly, the Grizzlies have now made the NBA Playoffs five straight seasons, which is the fourth longest active streak in the league behind the San Antonio Spurs (18), Atlanta Hawks (8) and Chicago Bulls (7), and Memphis even held a 2-1 series lead on the eventual NBA Champion Golden State Warriors last year. This streak has been keyed by suffocating defense and a plodding methodical offense, but could the Grizzlies be changing their stripes this year?

Granted Memphis is once again 26th in the NBA is scoring and sixth in points against, but there are trends on both ends of the court signaling some change. Offensively, even when losing in Minnesota Saturday, the Grizzlies uncharacteristically topped the 100-point mark the fifth straight game. In past years, such a feat would have probably meant resounding victories, but the defense has not been up to its usual standards allowing 100.4 per those same five contests.

In fact, although the Grizzlies are allowing 98.9 points per game, they are only 16th in the NBA in field goal percentage allowed at 45.0 percent, so the red flags were already there on that end of the court. It also does not help that Marc Gasol is playing hurt right now and matched his season low with just two rebounds on Saturday after being questionable before the game with his bruised left knee, and guard Tony Allen is questionable tonight after missing the last two games.

 

Vucevic the Walking Double-Double
The Magic are certainly in a transition period this year and they were picked to finish last in the Southeast Division before then season, which is exactly where they are right now. However, they have the best record of any last-place team in the NBA at 20-22 and remain only 4½ games behind the first-place Atlanta Hawks in a very tight division even with the lone win in the last 10 games.

The Magic have actually assembled a good young starting five with Elfrid Payton running the point, Victor Oladipo as the shooting guard and three good scorers up front in forwards Tobias Harris and Aaron Gordon and center Nikola Vucevic. Orlando also has a nice three-point shooter off the bench in Evan Fournier to provide instant offense as the sixth man, so this is a team that seemingly has a bright future and could threaten for a playoff spot this year.

The fact that the Magic have continued to be competitive even while fighting through their worst slump of the season is a very encouraging sign for a young team, and tonight could be a nice spot to get back on track, especially with Vucevic, who is averaging 16.8 points and 8.6 rebounds and who has recorded four straight double-doubles, being in a position to possibly dominate Gasol in the pivot with the latter currently hobbled.

 

Magic Stepping Up vs. Western Conference
Finally, it is interesting that the Magic have not been intimidated when facing teams from the stronger Western Conference, instead going an outstanding 19-7-1 ATS in their last 27 games vs. the West! Also, the Grizzlies are 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game, and the road teams are 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings between these clubs.

With the Grizzlies not really playing exceptionally well even while winning games lately and the Magic being better than they have looked as of late, look for that uncanny Orlando success vs. the Western Conference to continue while visiting Memphis on Monday.

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