Magic vs. Celtics Odds & Pick (Sunday, August 9): Brace For a Scoring Shortfall
Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images. Pictured: Brad Stevens of the Boston Celtics, right, talks with referee Kane Fitzgerald #5
- Reed Wallach breaks down betting odds and offers his predictions and picks for Sunday's matchup between the Magic and Celtics.
- After scorching-hot shooting over its previous two games, is Boston in a letdown spot against Orlando this evening?
- Find out why Wallach is betting against Boston's 3-point shooting and backing the under on the game total.
Magic vs. Celtics Betting Odds
|Magic odds||+9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Celtics odds||-9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+350/-450 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||220 [BET NOW]|
|Time||5 p.m. ET|
In a battle of two playoff-bound teams, the Celtics and Magic will continue to play themselves into form ahead of the postseason starting next week.
Boston took the first two meetings of the season, winning in Orlando as a 3-point underdog, 109-98, and then again in early February, 116-110, covering as a 5.5-point favorite.
Orlando has cooled off after a hot start to the bubble with some unfortunate injuries. Jonathan Isaac tore his ACL during the first weekend of games and Aaron Gordon is now hobbled with a hamstring injury and is questionable for this game; Gordon also missed Friday’s game against the Sixers.
The Magic are posting a slightly better net rating in the bubble than the regular season, going from -1.1 to +.3 since the restart which could be due to Steve Clifford letting his team push the tempo a bit. Orlando is playing three possessions faster in this stretch and still maintaining its defensive identity to an extent. Orlando’s defense is slightly worse, but with scoring up across the league, this team still prides itself on its defensive identity.
Orlando is coming off three straight losses, all against Eastern playoff teams, so this seems to be more of a tricky part of its eight-game stretch rather than a team that is falling apart.
However, the loss of Isaac may have taken some wind out of the Magic’s sails as he is the team’s most promising prospect. If Gordon is unable to go, the Magic are down two of their top wings. Orlando has been much better with the former Arizona standout on the floor in the bubble, going from +13.2 when he is on the court to -10.3 when he sits.
News got more grim for Orlando in this one, as Evan Fournier was ruled out. He, Gordon and Nikola Vucevic have yielded positive returns on the floor together as the Magic are +35 in those cases.
It is starting to click for Boston. After losses to Eastern Conference contenders Milwaukee and Miami, Boston’s offense broke out against Brooklyn, blitzing the Nets to the tune of 149 points. The offensive explosion continued Friday night, dropping 122 points on Toronto in a 22-point win as a 1.5-point underdog.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown have established that they are back in rhythm, but the team is still waiting on Kemba Walker to get it going. The prized offseason acquisition for the Celts has been on a minutes restriction with a knee issue since the restart, playing 22 minutes on Friday night, scoring 17 points and was a +17 on the floor. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come as the C’s have struggled with him on the floor. Boston’s offense is 17 points worse per 100 possessions when he is on the court and the defense slips by more than eight points as well.
For the Celtics to make a title run, it is going to have to come from more than Tatum and Brown. Walker’s health is going to be paramount. It is encouraging to see him getting ramped up, and the hope is that his minutes continue to go up with a few games remaining before the postseason.
Betting Analysis & Pick
This could be a good spot to sell high on Boston’s offense. Coming off a massive win over Toronto, the Celtics may let their guards down against a frisky Orlando team hungry for a win. With Gordon’s status up in the air, it’s tough to take the 6.5 so I would wait for that, but I do think the under is the correct play.
Boston has shot the lights out from the 3-point line over the past two games on a high volume, hitting at a 42% clip on 85 shots from beyond the arc. Orlando is the fourth-best team at defending the three since the restart, and that is on top of the fact that Boston is in sixth — both teams are forcing their opponents to shoot under 34%.
While Orlando is playing faster, and Boston is hot on offense, this total seems inflated and this could be more of a slog of a game. With no Gordon or Fournier, Orlando may struggle to score and generate clean looks against a sturdy Boston D.
I recommend the under, but wouldn’t play it past 220.
Pick: Under 220 [Bet now at FanDuel. NJ, PA, CO, IN and WV only.]