If you are searching to find meaning in the meaningless, you may have arrived at the right place. The Sixers have officially clinched their first No. 1 seed in 20 years, leaving them with nothing of value for which to play tonight. Orlando has been in a similar boat for a long time, trading away their core and currently possessing the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference.
Let’s take a closer look the regular season finale between the Magic and Sixers from a betting perspective with a look at the odds, our picks and predictions.
Games like this can often be a fool’s errand for bettors, but we will look to unearth some good value with a pick in the game, as well as a prop bet, along with our analysis.
Magic vs. Sixers Odds (May 16, 2021)
Here’s the line for the Magic and Sixers at DraftKings Sportsbook:
|Sixers||-3 (-109)||-148||O 225.5 (-112)|
|Hawks||+3 (-113)||+123||U 225.5 (-109)|
And here are the current best available odds for the Sixers (may not display on Google AMP pages):
Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Orlando Magic 1st Half Alternate Total Points – Under 48.5 (FanDuel Sportsbook +160)
The Sixers have absolutely nothing to gain in this one. Playing their starters a bunch of minutes or risking anyone’s health tonight would be nothing short of foolhardy. For the Sixers, this game means nothing more than a last chance for Doc Rivers to figure out which fringe players he will dress and give minutes to in the postseason.
Expect to see a ton of the Sixers’ bench in this one, and I would think those guys know the way into this team’s postseason rotation is via defense.
Other than Tyrese Maxey, the bench isn’t being brought in to score a ton of points, like Lou Williams for every team with which he’s played. Rivers needs guys that can facilitate the offense and hold the line defensively for a few minutes while his stars get breathers. As such, while the talent and scoring may suffer today for Philly, I do not believe the effort will. And if the starters do play, I expect them to want to lock down defensively as well to enter the NBA Playoffs with that mindset, as we all know that is what wins (i.e. the Lakers last summer).
Orlando, however, has some minor implications from this game that might see them be less than enthused to play hard. They are currently tied with Oklahoma City for the league’s third-worst record, which is the final spot getting 14.0% odds in the NBA Draft lottery draw. Obviously, a team that traded away their only stars midseason will want to land in the best possible spot for the upcoming draft. We saw evidence of this mentality two nights ago when the Magic played all five starters less than 22 minutes, but the first four guys off their bench logged 26 or more minutes of game time.
While the Sixers will gladly accept a gifted win if it is handed to them tonight, Orlando may do its best to put guys out there who are unlikely to produce a win. Take a look at the early injury report for Orlando to gauge the temperature on that opinion. On top of the laundry list of guys already shut down for the season, the Magic have two guys listed as questionable who combined for 51 minutes, 12 points, 19 rebounds, and 10 assists on Friday.
There is zero reason for the Magic to compete tonight and we should see that from the opening tip. With what we expect to be a defensively-focused Sixers group out there tonight, the Magic should struggle for points throughout, particularly in the first half. They scored just 43 in the first half Friday night and have totaled 48 or less first half points in each of their last four and five of their last six games.
This combination of motivations for the two teams should result in another low-scoring first half for the Magic and a winner for our prop pick here.
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Betting Trends to Know
Some relevant trends to consider before we get to our game pick:
- Orlando has played eight of their last 11 road games under the total against teams with an above .600 home win percentage.
- The Magic have played six of their last eight under against above .500 teams.
- Philly has played five of their last seven under against below .500 teams.
- The Sixers have played 15 of their last 22 under as a favorite.
Magic vs. Sixers Pick
Following the vein of what we described above, we believe the Sixers will be playing a bench-centric lineup for most, if not all, of this one, while the Magic will be unlikely to be putting their best feet forward.
The health of the Sixers’ stars is paramount now that the top seed is locked up. The Magic have the most to gain by losing this one. The injury reports for both teams echo this sentiment. With greatly diminished quality on the court and one team quietly hoping they don’t win, this one should have the foundation it needs to stay under the posted total.
The other night’s game needed every ounce of late effort to push it over, but the Sixers needed that win and played accordingly. Much has changed since then. Orlando has scored 102 or less in each of their last four games and five of their last six, all losses, and have less motivation than ever to put on an offensive display tonight.
These two teams had played six of their last seven head-to-head meetings under the total prior to Friday’s game. None of those games topped 220 total points, with just one topping tonight’s posted number. Philly is a top five defensive team playing one of the absolute worst scoring offenses in the league.
With Philly likely not caring if they win or lose this one, it’s worth noting that they scored just 94 points in each of their last three losses, all of which stayed under the total, with the most recent two producing 202 and 197 total points, respectively.
Our Pick: Orl/Phi Under 217 (DraftKings -109)
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