Cavs vs. Magic
The return of Nikola Vucevic the other day is huge for this team, and even in his first game back, he double-doubled and helped the Magic get a much-needed win. Orlando has been getting progressively healthier as the season progresses, and especially with Vucevic back, this team suddenly is far from a push over. I expect Vucevic to be a huge factor tonight against Andrew Bynum and the Cavs, both offensively and defensively.
Another guy making his return for the Magic is Tobias Harris, who with the exception of 16 minutes a couple of weeks ago, has missed the entire season. Although Harris will likely be eased back into the lineup, his return is going to do good things for this team at the small forward position, and reports have him playing on Friday.
Tonight on the road, I doubt the Cavs have a very good game. They are giving up over 103 points per game on the road this season, and even though Kyrie Irving blew up against the Knicks the other night, he has been far from consistent or efficient this season, and going up against the Magic isn’t easy. I expect to see plenty of Victor Oladipo guarding Irving if Irving is having a solid game, and if that’s the case, I doubt the Cavs win this game.
The Magic are 6-1 SU in their last seven matchups in Orlando against the Cavs, and they are 10-3 SU overall in their last 13 meetings. Cleveland is only 2-11 ATS in their last 13 road games, and even though the Cavs covered all four of their games against the Magic last season, this is a different team this season. Look for the Magic to cover here.
My Pick: Magic -2
Kobe Bryant is slowly getting back to his old ways, but the Lakers might need a 2003 flashback in order to win this game in Oklahoma City. The NBA Odds have the Thunder as a -13 favorite with a total of 207 ½, and instead of betting this lofty spread, I am all over the total tonight of 207 ½. The over seems to have plenty of value tonight, and besides Kobe, there are still plenty of reasons to like the over tonight.
The Lakers are one of the worst road defensive teams in the NBA, giving up over 107 points per game on the road. Coincidently, that’s about as much as the Thunder score when playing at home, so realistically, 110 points from OKC tonight might be right around their final score. If that’s the case, the over is going to have great value this evening, and I am taking a bite.
The over has cashed in five of the last seven matchups between these two teams, and the over is 4-1 in the last five times these two have played in Oklahoma City. The Lakers are the #1 three-point shooting team in the NBA, and I think they will be shooting plenty of 3’s tonight to counter the Thunder’s offense. OKC is the 2nd best home scoring team in the NBA, and with how well Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant play against the Lakers, look for a higher scoring game tonight.
My Pick: Over 207 ½