Magic vs Celtics NBA betting picks and predictions: Playoff berth drives Magic
Nearing the end of the regular season in the NBA it’s uncommon to see two teams want to win more than Boston and Orlando Sunday night. With a win Boston would clinch fourth place in the Eastern Conference and all-important home court advantage over the Pacers in the first round, while Orlando is in seventh place but just 1.5 games ahead of ninth place Miami in the standings. We break down this Sunday night matchup.
Orlando has been playing with more offensive urgency recently. Although they average just 27.4 points per game during the opening quarter over the season, they’ve upped that number to 34 ppg over their last four games. And that’s not just because of a 42-point first quarter against Atlanta on Friday, they also scored 32 points in the first quarter against Indiana and 36 against Toronto.
Take the Over on their 1Q team total.
Prediction: Orlando first quarter points – Over
First Half Bet
Both of these teams have been playing well in the first half of recent games, with Orlando sporting a first-half scoring margin of +12 while Boston has a margin of +9.7.
However Boston, could have the edge with homecourt advantage. On the season they have a +4.3 scoring margin at TD Garden, while the Magic have a 1H scoring margin of +0.9 away from Orlando.
Back the Celtics to go into halftime covering the spread.
Prediction: First Half Spread – Boston -2.5 (-110)
The Magic have played strong defense all season but are vulnerable to opposing point guards, allowing them to hit 45.4 percent of their shots, the fourth-highest number in the league. Kyrie Irving should have a big role today with both of Boston’s back-up guards possibly sidelined (more on that later). Nobody in Orlando’s backcourt can guard Irving so expect him to take – and hit his fair share of shots, back the Over on his points.
Full Game Total
Orlando allows the fifth-fewest ppg in the league at 106.5 while Boston is just three spots behind them with 107.8 ppg. But oddsmakers have taken notice and adjusted the O/U totals accordingly. They might actually be skewing a bit too low actually given the recent trends each team has.
The Magic have cashed in on the Over in each of their last five games while the Celtics are 10-4 to the Over in their previous 14. With the Magic offense averaging 123.3 ppg over their last four games, and scoring at least 109 points in each game expect them to push the pace a bit more than usual tonight. Back the game total Over.
Prediction: Over 216.5 (-110)
Full game Side
Boston will want to win, but arguably won’t have the same level of motivation as Orlando who could easily get bounced from the playoff picture if they lose their last two games.
The Celtics are 0-7 ATS in their last seven games at home, while the Magic are 8-3 ATS in their previous 11 games overall and have also been a great cover against quality opponents going 7-2 ATS in their last nine against teams with a winning record.
The Celtics also might not have their customary depth with Jaylon Brown unlikely to suit up and Terry Rozier questonable with illness as well, so they might start to fade down the stretch. We’re backing the Magic to cover tonight.
Prediction: Orlando +4.5 (-110)
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