Take the Magic over the Grizzlies for your NBA Picks

Jason Lake

Wednesday, February 12, 2014 1:07 PM GMT

The Memphis Grizzlies haven’t been mauling the NBA odds like they used to. On Wednesday, they’ll try to get back on track against the Orlando Magic, who have just beaten the two best teams in the league.

Jason’s record on his early NBA picks for 2013-14, up to February 10 inclusive:

62-49-1 ATS

16-13 Totals

East is West, and West is East. Dogs and cats living together. Somewhere along the line, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Orlando Magic forgot their proper roles in society. The Grizzlies (28-23 SU, 23-27-1 ATS) have dropped the cash in six of their last seven games, while the Magic (16-37 SU, 23-30 ATS) have won three games in a row, including major upsets at home over the Oklahoma City Thunder (–9.5) and the Indiana Pacers (–8). What the deuce? Don’t they understand a high draft pick is at stake?

The Magic will “try” to keep this winning streak alive on Wednesday when they host the Grizzlies, who are coming off Tuesday’s gritty 92-89 nailbiter over the Washington Wizards (+4.5 away). Orlando has been idle since beating the Pacers on Sunday; the opening NBA betting lines for this matchup have yet to be released as we go to press.

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Be Like Mike

Blame Mike Conley (21.3 PER) for making us wait. He’s been out for the past six games with a sprained right ankle, and it’s no coincidence that the Grizzlies have struggled without their All-Star point guard. What’s that? He didn’t get named to the team? Fine, I wasn’t going to watch anyway. The Grizzlies have lots of NBA-ready players at just about every position, but point guard is the exception – little-used Darius Morris (11.9 PER) is the only other “true” pivot on the roster, and he’s been bypassed by rookie SG Nick Calathes (9.9 PER).

There was also a chance that Courtney Lee (16.8 PER) would miss Tuesday’s game after he rolled his ankle on Sunday, but Lee managed to suit up against Washington, although he only hit one of his seven trey attempts. So Memphis fans are understandably very hopeful that Conley will be in action on Wednesday (7:00 p.m. ET). Keep an eye on our injury reports for the latest developments.

Niiiiiiii-ko-la

So how about those Orlando Magic? This three-game mini-streak has moved them ahead of the Philadelphia 76ers for third-last in the NBA standings. Not that the players themselves are trying to lose, of course. In fact, their roster is about as healthy as it’s been all year, and their recent success has a lot to do with the return of 7-foot center Nikola Vucevic (17.9 PER). Orlando is 4-3 SU and ATS since Vucevic came back from his concussion. He dropped double-doubles in five of those games, two of those on Roy Hibbert and the Pacers. Have mercy.

We’re also starting to see some signs of life from Tobias Harris (13.4 PER). This was supposed to be a breakout campaign for the third-year forward after he came over from the Milwaukee Bucks at last year’s trade deadline and posted a 17.0 PER in 27 games. Instead, Harris has regressed back to his original level of play. But he was also slowed down by an ankle injury that was dogging him for the first two months of the season. Harris looked pretty good against Oklahoma City, scoring 18 points and hammering home the game-winning dunk at the buzzer.

As for all that tanking, the Magic are now profitable at home at 14-13 ATS. And they’re profitable against winning teams at 12-11 ATS. There’s still a lot of work to do before Orlando is ready for prime time, and there’s every chance they’ll trade Aaron Afflalo (17.3 PER) before this year’s deadline. But for Wednesday’s game, I’m willing to roll the dice on the Magic even without knowing Conley’s status. You might want to wait for further news, though.

NBA Pick: Take the Magic