Cavaliers vs Magic: Game 3 Prediction, Odds, Pick (Thursday, April 25)

Cavaliers vs Magic: Game 3 Prediction, Odds, Pick (Thursday, April 25) article feature image

Pictured: Jarrett Allen of the Cavaliers and Franz Wagner of the Magic for Action Network’s odds, picks, and predictions, for Game 3.

Cavaliers vs Magic Odds

Thursday, Apr 25
7:00 p.m. ET
Cavaliers Odds
-112o / -108u
Magic Odds
-112o / -108u
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Here's everything you need to know about Cavaliers vs. Magic on Thursday, April 25 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today's game.

The Orlando Magic play host to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. ET. They say a series doesn’t start until the home team loses a game, but Matt Moore doesn’t care about your sayings:

Teams with homecourt advantage up 2-0 are 89-5 in first-round overall series results.

— Hardwood Paroxysm (@HPbasketball) April 23, 2024

Now, that sample is loaded with a lot of elite top seeds, and this is a 4/5 matchup, but the fact remains, it’s remarkably hard to come back from down even just 2-0 with both losses on the road. However if they’re going to have any chance, Game 3 is a must, of course, so it’s not shocking to see the Magic as slight favorites despite Cleveland looking the much better team so far.

Cleveland Cavaliers

The key to success for the Cavs these first two games has been to pretty much just be their usual selves. Before the series, I was on Orlando for a few reasons (one of which I will touch on in the next section).

For one, Donovan Mitchell had really not looked himself down the stretch. After the All-Star Break, he missed 18 games across the eight weeks and averaged just 19.5 points (down from 28.4 before the break) on 40.4% shooting (47.3% before). 

Second, this Cavs team, ironically, has never looked its best when it has all it pieces around. Their big winning streak this year came with one big and one guard hurt, and they have often looked their best when missing one or more of their seemingly not-perfect-fit starting five. Their “best” five is incredibly pedestrian by net rating, and it passes the sniff test of just not making basketball sense. There’s A LOT of skill overlap.

However, the first two games of the series has shown there’s also just a lot of skill. The Cavs defense has absolutely clamped the Magic, and it looks like the week off was just what the doctor order for Mitchell.

For this game specifically, I’m eyeing Jarrett Allen’s rebounds. He grabbed 18 rebounds in Game 1 and somehow topped that in Game 2 with a clean 20 rebounds. In four regular season games against Orlando, he averaged only 9.8 rebounds per game, but that number is very deceiving because his minutes were very low in two games. On a per 36 rate, he averaged around 14.5 rebounds, which makes his 12.5 over/under a good look to the over.

Orlando Magic

For Orlando, the offense has been abysmal — full stop. They are 17-for-72 from 3 over the first two games, a dismal 23.6%. However, getting back home could be big for a young team with basically zero playoff experience. The Magic were the fifth-best home team in the entire league this season, and both their offensive rating AND defensive rating improved in the Kia Center. 

However, it’s fair to wonder if it’s enough. Two big factors in my series cap of Orlando before play got underway look a lot different as of now. The biggest swing has been Mitchell. He had looked incredibly poor down the stretch and was about to go up against a team with arguably the best backcourt defender in the league in Jalen Suggs. Well, he’s averaging 26.5 points per game on 46.5% shooting — far closer to his first half numbers than his second half slump.

The other factor is a little more subtle. I loved that Jamahl Mosley had moved Jonathan Isaac into the starting lineup in the final game of the season. He had been ramping up his minutes all season and was ready to give him his highest minutes totals all season come playoffs. However, in a case of missing the forest for the trees, I missed that this wasn’t the best series for Isaac. Mitchell and Garland are a little too small/quick to really use Isaac against, and Jarrett Allen/Evan Mobley aren’t the offensive hubs some other forwards are. 

As such, it is perhaps unsurprising to see that Isaac, after a season-high in minutes in Game 1, actually saw his minutes drop a bit in Game 2. And this is where you have to adjust your priors when it comes to capping the NBA playoffs. My Game 1 best bet was Isaac Over 15.5 points + rebounds (which snuck over the line!). Now, for Game 3, I’m zagging, and am going to be betting the under on his points + rebounds + assists because this just isn’t the perfect series to use that minutes ramp up unfortunately.

Cavaliers vs Magic

Betting Pick & Prediction

With their backs against the wall, and due for at least a little shooting regression, I am making the Magic -1.5 a half unit play. I also am putting a half unit on the under, as they really just haven’t come close to being able to set this total low enough. And although the Magic offense does indeed get better at home, their defense improves by even more, and the Cleveland offense drops on the road. It’s wild to take an under on a total starting with a “1,” but that’s what this series demands.

For player props, I like Allen Over 12.5 rebounds and Isaac Under 16.5 points + rebounds + assists, both as laid out above.

Half unit plays: Orlando -1.5 (-110); Under 199.5 (-110)
Full unit plays: Jarrett Allen Over 12.5 rebounds (+100); Jonathan Isaac Under 16.5 points + rebounds + assists (-130)

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