NBA Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions: Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets (January 16)
Magic vs. Nets Odds
|Magic Odds||+9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Nets Odds||-9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+350 / -450 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||N/A [BET NOW]|
|Time||6 p.m. ET|
Everyone’s excited to see the new-look Brooklyn Nets… but it looks like we’re probably going to have to wait one more game. As of Friday night, it looks like James Harden is unlikely to make his Brooklyn debut on Saturday unless the trade goes through and all players involved pass physicals in time for the game.
That doesn’t look likely. Kyrie Irving is also out, and the Nets obviously can’t play the players they’re trading away in the Harden deal either.
The Magic are also shorthanded. Orlando is missing Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac for the season, leaving them permanently short a pair of starters. Evan Fournier hasn’t played in a couple weeks either, so that’s three starters down for the Magic too.
So who exactly will play in this one?
Despite all their injuries, the Magic are 6-5 and atop the Southeast Division, but it’s a bit smoke and mirrors right now. Orlando’s offense ranks in the bottom five on the season and even worse in recent games without Fultz and Fournier. The Magic have been missing Michael Carter-Williams, Al-Farouq Aminu, Chuma Okeke, and Mo Bamba, too.
Orlando is averaging just under 98 PPG over its last eight games, with a high-water mark of just 105 points over that span and an ugly 2-6 record, the only wins against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The only saving grace for the Magic has been their defense, but even that rates around league average and has given up 122 PPG over the last four outings against four teams with good offenses. Does this version of the Nets count as that? We’ll see.
Nikola Vucevic is absolutely carrying the Magic right now. He’s leading the team in scoring, rebounding, and even assists now that Fultz is out. Rookie Cole Anthony has moved into the starting point guard role for now but is struggling to score efficiently or create much for his teammates right now. Aaron Gordon and Terrence Ross are doing their thing too, but it falls off quickly from there to names like Jordan Bone, Gary Clark, and Khem Birch playing serious minutes.
The Magic have lost by 42, 14, 22, and 27 over their last four games against the Rockets (with Harden still), Mavericks, Bucks, and Celtics. It hasn’t been pretty. This team needs to get Fournier back out there in a bad way, but it will still be a tough road ahead. Vucevic can only do so much.
And if that’s not enough, the Magic just played Friday night, so this is the second night of a back-to-back after a late night of travel.
For all that bad Magic news, they’re the team leading their division, while the Nets are also just one game over .500 at 7-6. Brooklyn looked awesome out of the gate with huge wins over the Warriors and Celtics but it’s been a rocky road since.
Spencer Dinwiddie went out for the season with a torn ACL. Kyrie looked great but hasn’t played in 10 days and remains a question mark. Kevin Durant has been terrific in his return but missed a week with COVID protocol.
And now there’s the trade. The Nets gave up Caris LeVert, Jarrett Allen, Taurean Prince, Rodions Kurucs, and basically their entire future cadre of first-round draft picks for James Harden. So what will Harden bring this team? That’s a conversation for another day since Harden is unlikely to play here.
Instead, the Nets should be super shorthanded again, like they were a couple nights ago against the Knicks a few hours after the blockbuster trade. That game should give us a decent idea of what to expect from Brooklyn here. Durant and Joe Harris started like usual, along with Bruce Brown, Jeff Green, and DeAndre Jordan. Jordan is apparently the starting center again, while Brown and Green will be top bench options eventually. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Landry Shamet have also become reliable bench pieces and should feature as such here.
Expect a whole lot of Kevin Durant. Durant is averaging 32.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 7.7 assists these last three games, taking on a huge role as a scorer and playmaker with the team shorthanded. I’d expect more of that here, making Durant overs a nice play in props world.
I played Durant over 5.5 assists at even odds and would play an assist over again at 5.5 or even 6.5. You could also play a points + rebounds + assists over as high as 43.5.
Joe Harris has also taken more of a playmaking role with Irving and Dinwiddie out. He’s averaging better than 3 APG in games without Irving and has been a reliable over 2.5 assists play, hitting that over in five of those six games. In a game with so much uncertainty, playing props may be the better way to go in the end.
Nets game totals have gone over in seven straight. Brooklyn does not offer much defense, instead playing a fast-paced game with explosive offense, even with some of the mainstays missing.
This game is an interesting contrast between one fast team that scores a ton and doesn’t defend versus a slow, plodding team that defends relatively well and can’t score to save its life. Early bettors might have hopped on a line as high as 230, when Harden or Irving were expected to play, but that line is falling quickly and looks below 220 and falling further. That could leave some value on the Nets team over, depending on where the line ends up.
The Nets ended up beating the Knicks a couple nights ago but only won by seven. Durant was good, and Brooklyn got a good game out of Jeff Green, but the Nets bench was terrible and Brooklyn had to hold on late. The Magic are somewhat similar to the Knicks, so it would be fair to expect a similar game. Both teams are slow and reliant on their defense with very little offense.
It’s worth noting that the Knicks had scored 89, 89, and 88 in their three prior games before “exploding” for 109 against Brooklyn. And maybe that’s because it was a rivalry game and a rare national television spot for New York, but part of that is just Brooklyn’s pace and lack of defense. Even as bad as Orlando’s offense has been, the Magic are still averaging 98 PPG. If the Magic team over ends up close to 100, that looks like it would have some value too.
With the line jumping around and so many unknowns here, this feels like a stay away for me. I’d lean toward a game over or one of the team overs because of the trends above and the quickly dropping line, and I’d consider a small dice roll on the Orlando moneyline at +320 just on the chance that Durant sits or plays poorly and Brooklyn just has nothing left.
My best play for now are the Joe Harris and Kevin Durant assist overs once the lines post. You can shop for the best line on props at Action Labs.
With so much up in the air, let’s play what we know and live to see another day when we get to see these new Nets for real.
Pick: Joe Harris over 2.5 assists, Kevin Durant over 5.5 assists, otherwise consider an over or stay away