Knicks vs Magic Picks, Prediction Today | Friday, Dec. 29

Knicks vs Magic Picks, Prediction Today | Friday, Dec. 29 article feature image
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David Sherman/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Julius Randle #30 of the New York Knicks.

Knicks vs. Magic Prediction, Picks for Friday, Dec. 29

Friday, Dec. 29
7 p.m.
League Pass
Knicks +2

Here's everything you need to know about Knicks vs. Magic on Friday, Dec. 29 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.

The Knicks and Magic hope to get back in the win column when they lock horns on Friday night in the Kia Center. In comparison, both are coming off a defeat, yet how one of those teams lost could be a concern.

Orlando opened as a one-point home favorite, but it's now laying two points at one sportsbook after receiving market support.

However, this is one of those games where it feels like the wrong team is favored. I'll expand on that and explain why the Knicks are every bit of a live dog in this matchup.

Let's get to our Knicks vs. Magic prediction and pick.


Knicks vs. Magic Prediction

Pick: Knicks +2

Knicks Betting Outlook

The Net Rating is an excellent place to begin our assessment of both teams, as NBA.com ranks New York ninth (2.3 Net Rating) in this category, while Orlando is 11th (2.3 Net Rating). Things seem to click offensively for this Knicks team that TeamRankings lists 10th in efficiency, scoring 114.3 points per 100 possessions.

As for Orlando, it ranks 23rd in efficiency with 109.4 points per 100 possessions.

One thing about the Knicks is that they're a very balanced team. New York ranks 14th in percentage of points from 3-pointers.

The Knicks are more than capable of attacking their opponents inside the paint and on the perimeter.

But the biggest surprise of this Tom Thibodeau-led team has been on the defensive end of the court. New York is down to 18th (112 points allowed per 100 possessions) in defensive efficiency after finishing 14th (110.2 points allowed per 100 possessions) last season.

The one saving grace for New York is that it'll be up against a Magic team that struggled to put the ball in the cup in its last outing.


Magic Betting Outlook

Orlando's most significant improvement this season has been its defense. It moved from 17th (110.6) in efficiency to fourth (107.3), resulting in roughly three fewer points allowed per 100 possessions.

This team is playing above expectations, considering its win total was 36.5 to start the season. At 18-12, Orlando is roughly halfway there with 52 games remaining on its schedule.

However, if you had to be critical, you'd likely point to the Magic's offense. Orlando sits just 23rd in efficiency, scoring 109.4 points per 100 possessions.

Although Orlando does an excellent job inside the paint, ranking second with a scoring average of 55.9 points, it seems to ignore the perimeter game.

Orlando sits dead last in 3-point attempts (29.7 per game) and 3-point field goals (10.0 per game).

The Magic almost have to play a perfect game every night if opposing teams will outshoot them from behind the perimeter. I have my doubts about the sustainability of that strategy on a nightly basis.

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Knicks vs. Magic Picks, Odds

Friday, Dec. 29
7 p.m.
League Pass
Knicks Odds
SpreadOver/UnderMoneyline
+2
-110
226.5
-110 / -110
+100
Magic Odds
SpreadOver/UnderMoneyline
-2
-110
226.5
-110 / -110
-119
Odds via DraftKings . Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Although the Knicks are coming off a 129-120 loss to the Thunder, I liked the comments coming out of their locker room. Thibodeau acknowledged his team's sluggish start and pointed to turnovers as their biggest fault in the game.

"We started slowly. We were playing from behind. I thought we had a pretty good resolve. We didn't let it get away from us, but then we couldn't finish it in the end," Thibodeau told reporters. "I thought our turnovers hurt us, and some of that is they're coming after the ball…I thought the rebounding was good enough, but the turnovers put them in the open floor, so it gave them a cushion."

As for Orlando, head coach Jamahl Mosley might've given away the scouting report on how opponents should attack his team following a 112-92 loss to Philadelphia.

"I thought they did a really good job of plugging the paint and our ability to navigate that," Mosley said in his postgame press conference. "You have to give them credit for recognizing the game plan and executing it at a high level."

New York does have the physicality that can trouble Orlando in the front court. The Knicks rank eighth in opponent points in the paint with 46.9 per game.

They can also play defense without fouling, as they are fourth in opponent free throws allowed (20.1 per game).

This matchup more than suits New York if it doesn't have to worry about a perimeter threat from Orlando. I recommend taking the two points with the visitors.

Pick: Knicks +2

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