Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks NBA Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Monday, Jan. 18)
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Immanuel Quickley.
- Coming off an impressive 30-point win over the Celtics on Sunday, the Knicks take on the Magic to kick off play on MLK Day.
- New York's defense has been stellar under Tom Thibideau, while Orlando has struggled offensively due to a few injuries to important contributors.
- Kenny Ducey isn't worried about the Knicks playing a back-to-back. He explains why he's backing them on Monday.
Magic vs. Knicks Odds
|Magic Odds||-1.5 [BET NOW]|
|Knicks Odds||+1.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-120 / +100 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||207.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||12 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
We kick off a loaded slate of NBA action on Martin Luther King Jr. Day with the Knicks and Magic, a game that promises to be hotly contested given the massive win New York had on Sunday and Orlando’s affinity for close games of late.
Playing the second leg of a back-to-back, will the Knicks succumb to fatigue and fail to exploit the Magic’s struggling defense, or will we see a repeat of Sunday’s tantalizing offensive performance?
Let’s dig into the numbers to see if we can solve this riddle, or find some value elsewhere in this game.
After starting the season engulfed in flames with four straight victories and four covers against the spread (ATS), the NBA has extinguished the Orlando Magic, who have fallen to 6-7 and covered just three of their last nine spreads.
In their last game, the Magic fought to a 122-115 loss to the Nets in James Harden’s debut for Brooklyn. It might actually have been Orlando’s most impressive performance in weeks.
We can cut the Magic a little bit of slack, though, considering they’ve been decimated by injuries. They have lost Markelle Fultz and Jonathan Isaac for the season, don’t have any timeline for Al-Farouq Aminu’s return and are now without Evan Fournier and Michael Carter-Williams, who were playing a significant role for this team.
Fournier and MCW have been ruled out against the Knicks, meaning Orlando will once again be thin at guard and on the wings.
Those two losses have been significant because Carter-Williams, though he averaged just under 23 minutes, led the Magic in defensive efficiency, and Fournier boasted the best Offensive Rating on the team at 113.7. As a result, the Magic have given up the second-most points per 100 possessions since Jan. 4, when they lost both players, and have also scored the second fewest, with an Offensive Rating of 102.2.
Simply put, nothing is working for Orlando on either end of the floor, but the offensive end is far more concerning when you consider what the Magic are up against in the surprisingly decent Knicks.
New York Knicks
New York has had a top-10 defense so far under new head coach Tom Thibodeau and while the offense has left something to be desired, they’ve performed just fine over the past three games, capped off by a 105-point outing and a 30-point win over Boston on Sunday.
Orlando could be left in a situation on Monday where it simply can’t score, so the fact that the Knicks’ offense has struggled won’t even factor into the result. The Magic must find a way through Thibs’ defense.
The Knicks absolutely took it to the Celtics on the front end of a back-to-back, managing to put the game so far out of hand in the third quarter that they were able to manage the minutes of their key players. Julius Randle played a team-high 31 minutes, but no other Knick eclipsed the 30-minute mark, which means the chances of New York coming out sluggish on Monday afternoon are slim.
The Knicks have gone 1-1 in the second leg of back-to-backs this season and are 1-1 ATS in those contests. The win came after a blowout to loss to the Sixers when the Knicks were able to rest almost all of their players, except for Randle and RJ Barrett. The loss was following another loss to the Nuggets the night prior, where four of the five starters played 32 minutes or more.
Obviously, this is a small sample, but there is certainly something to be said for teams having the ability to rest their best players on the front end of a back-to-back.
The aforementioned Knicks defense has been superb this season, ranking ninth in defensive efficiency, and it will be licking its chops looking at this depleted, offensively inept Magic team. New York ranks eighth in the NBA over its last three games with a +6.3 Net Rating despite just a 15th-ranked offense over that span, highlighting just how well the Knicks have defended and how good this team could actually be if it found a way to score more.
One player that has made a huge impact for the Knicks of late on the offensive end has been rookie point guard Immanuel Quickley. New York is scoring 3.6 more points per 100 possessions when it has the first-round pick out of Kentucky on the floor, and he’s given a boost to Julius Randle (+11.7 Net Rating), who’s the team’s biggest threat on offense.
Quickley has averaged roughly 20 points in just 23.6 minutes over the past three games, and the Knicks would be wise to get him some more run here in a soft defensive matchup that he can exploit. Orlando has allowed the third-most points per game (27.1) to opposing point guards this year.
There’s obviously a lot more to this matchup with such a close line, despite the lopsided picture I have painted. Fatigue could absolutely be a factor for New York on Monday despite the rest some of its players got late against the Celtics, and there’s no guarantee the Knicks will be able to score enough to pull away on Monday, despite the easy matchup.
That said, the recent play of Quickley and the overall performance and effort put forth by this Knicks defense leads me to believe that in what could turn out to be a sloppy game, New York will prevail.
I considered playing the under here, given how great the Knicks have been on defense and how putrid the Magic offense has been, but the possibility of New York running it up on this group of turnstiles is too much for me to take on.
Considering how much rest New York’s key pieces had on Sunday, I think this line should be a little further towards the Knicks and I’d bet them as favorites up to three points.
Pick: Knicks +1.5 (-110), up to -3
Player Prop to Watch
Nikola Vucevic over 3.5 assists (+104)
If you’ve been reading our props columns this season, you know we’ve been playing Nikola Vucevic early and often. Vooch has been an absolute monster for the Magic.
He’s averaging 22.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 3.8 assists a game and is carrying a beat-up roster that’s somehow leading the division despite missing three starters.
In his last six games without Fultz (including one in which Markelle played 11 minutes), Vucevic is averaging 4.5 assists per game. He’s had at least three in all but one of those games and has gone over 3.5 in four of the six games.
We’ll never complain about early weekday basketball, but this Magic and Knicks game could be pretty ugly, featuring a whole lot of defense and not much offense.