On Wednesday night, the JOEL EMBIID-less Philadelphia 76ers travel to Orlando to take on MARKELLE FULTZ and the Magic. Let’s get into this bad boy in our Sixers-Magic betting preview.
At 7-3, the Sixers find themselves in second place in the Atlantic Division and fourth place in the Eastern Conference, while the 3-7 Orlando Magic are off to a disappointing start which has them in fourth place in the Southeast Division and thirteenth place in the Eastern Conference.
Now That the Magic Has Gone
All of the preseason hype that surrounded this Orlando Magic squad, including handing out large deals to Nikola Vucevic (4yr, $100m), Terrence Ross (4yr, $54m), and Al-Farouq Aminu (3yr, $29m), has faded.
Add to that the return of trade deadline acquisition Fultz, and pundits expected the Magic to be in the mix for the fifth seed. It hasn’t panned out yet. Joe Cocker’s lyrics ring true for Orlando fans:
In my life
I’ve seen sorrow
Heartache and pain
I’ve been burned by the sunshine
And drowned in pouring rain
And those are not threes it’s raining– the Magic are last in the league shooting 28% behind the arc.
And yet, they are 2.5-point favorites over the Sixers.
Sixers vs. Magic Odds
Here’s the line for the Sixers and Magic at DraftKings Sportsbook PA:
- Spread: Sixers +2.5, Magic -2.5
- Moneyline: Sixers +118, Magic -139
- Total: 206.5
Something to keep in mind per “Big Bet Bob”: “Road dogs of three points or less on the second night of a back-to-back are 87-63-4 ATS, but only 16-17-1 when they’re dogs of 1.5 points or less.”
Bets We Like with a Sixers Win
Sixers Win and Under the Total Points Line (+295)
The Sixers are coming off a win over the Cleveland Cavaliers that saw the teams combine to go under the total points line. Add to that the fact that seven of the Magic’s last eight home games against opponents on the second leg of a back-to-back have gone under the total points line, and you have a recipe for a solid likelihood of hitting the under. There’s one issue with this bet as it currently stands: the Sixers are 7-0 as the favorite and 0-3 as the underdog this season. Something has to give though, right?
Given that the Sixers will be sans Embiid and that the Magic can’t shoot, the under feels about right in this one.
Sixers Win by 1-5 Points (+450, FoxBet)
The line variance has been all over the place today. The fact is, the sportsbooks seem to expect an extremely close game. Unless the return of Al Horford shoots the Sixers to an extended lead early, it stands to reason this could be a five-point game with two minutes remaining. It’s also worth nothing that the Sixers and Magic have seen three of their last matchups finish with a differential of five points or less.
Bets We Like with a Magic Win
Magic Win and Under the Total Points Line (+260, DraftKings)
See the equivalent bet with a Sixers win above for all rationale. There’s been some line movement today from the Sixers being a three point favorite to 2.5pt underdog. The Sixers are 0-3 in games where they’ve been established as the underdog. Conversely, they’re 7-0 in games as the favorite.
Magic Win and Nikola Vucevic Over 19.5 Points (+333, FoxBet)
FiveThirtyEight gives the Magic a 71% chance of winning with a -5.5 point line. Given that -139 implies an only 58% chance of winning, there’s some value here with a bet on the Magic.
With that in mind, here’s a near lock of a player prop if you believe Orlando will win: You can find it over at FOX Bet PA. In eight career head-to-head matchups between Nikola Vucevic and Joel Embiid, the Magic center has averaged 19.6 points per game, which is slightly higher than his 17.1 points per game average this season. In his last three games against Embiid -all during the 2018-19 season- Vucevic posted 27, 30, and 28 points. The latter two totals were achieved in wins. With the news that Joel Embiid is out, the question becomes how Vucevic will fare against Al Horford. In three games against Horford and the Celtics a season ago, the Magic were victorious in all three contests, with Vucevic posting 24, 16, and 25 points in each contest.
I’d avoid picking the spread– lots of movement here. There is some value in the FOX Bet +450 win 1-5 win margin for the Sixers, or a Magic moneyline play. If you choose to play the spread, keep in mind that the Magic have failed to cover the spread in seven of their last games games against Eastern Conference opponents.
Pick: Take the under.