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Thursday NBA Betting Odds & Picks for 76ers vs. Magic: Bet On Philadelphia to Cover Number

Thursday NBA Betting Odds & Picks for 76ers vs. Magic: Bet On Philadelphia to Cover Number article feature image

Stacy Revere/Getty Images. Pictured: Ben Simmons.

  • The 3-1 Philadelphia 76ers take on a red-hot, undefeated Orlando Magic team Thursday in NBA action.
  • Can the 76ers halt the Magic's win streak or will Orlando's depth be enough to overcome its foe's star power?
  • Phillip Kall previews the showdown and shares his betting pick below.

76ers vs. Magic Odds

76ers Odds -2.5 [BET NOW]
Magic Odds +2.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -140/+215 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 216.5 [BET NOW]
Time 6:30 p.m. ET
Odds as of Wednesday night and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.

Built on a team-based philosophy, the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat are the only NBA teams to play 10 players at least 16 minutes per game. Having the extra depth allows Orlando to configure lineups that attack their opponents’ weaknesses. 

However, as Mike Tyson famously said, “Everybody has a plan ‘till they get punched in the mouth.”

Against the 76ers, that will be exactly what happens, thanks to superstar center Joel Embiid. With 28.3 points and 13.3 rebounds per game, Embiid has been the driving force in Philadelphia’s three wins. 

With two different approaches to roster structure, this game will be an excellent one to watch. Let’s see if we can find an angle with value to back.

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Philadelphia 76ers

At 3-1, a 24-point blowout loss to the Cavaliers separates the 76ers from being undefeated. This loss came in the second game of a back-to-back, when Embiid sat out of the game for rest. While a blowout always hurts, this one is understandable considering their star was out and they made several major moves this offseason. 

Offensively, the presence of Embiid essentially determines whether the offense will function. With him on the court, Philadelphia dominates with an Offensive Rating of 111.4, good for 10th-best in the league per Basketball Reference.

Without him on the court, this rating tumbles down to 95.0 — so low even the Raptors’ atrocious 96.9 laughs at it. 

Against the Magic, Embiid playing will be even more crucial, as their defense is based on forcing teams off the 3-point line. Having a big man who can punish teams inside will have Orlando thinking twice about allowing a 58% field goal percentage on 2-point shots.

While Embiid takes the lead offensively, point guard Ben Simmons sets the tone for the defense.

Ranking third in Defensive Win Shares with 0.4 — these are low as it’s early in the season — Simmons leads the 76ers to a team Defense Rating of 99.9, third-best in the NBA. 

Facing Orlando will be a test for the 76ers’ defense, as the Magic play an unusual style for today’s NBA. Orlando leads the NBA in percentage of 2-point field goals (70.9%) but is dead-last in field goals from within three feet of the basket (13.5%) per Basketball Reference. This means they focus on attacking in the midrange.

Slowing them down will come down to each Philadelphia defender doing their job. Fortunately for the Sixers, their recent success shows they are up to the task.

Orlando Magic

With a 4-0 start, Magic fans have to be pleasantly surprised with their team. While no win comes easy, the Magic benefitted from facing teams that have started slowly, as all are .500 or worse. A win over Philadelphia would go a long way in showing Orlando is the real deal.

While Orlando’s success comes from a whole team effort, Terrence Ross stands out as the player to take his game to another level.

Ross typically assumes the role of streaky scorer you feed on good nights and bench on bad ones. This year, Ross improved his shooting efficiency to 51.8%, compared to 40.3% last season. Maintaining that mark may be a fantasy, but even falling back to 45% would be a massive improvement.

Finding scoring early in the game might be difficult thanks to Philadelphia’s smothering defense. However, Orlando excels at forcing turnovers. Against the Sixers, who average 18 turnovers per game, opportunities to create points off turnovers will present themselves.

Another area the Magic excel is drawing fouls and getting to the free throw line. Against Philly, drawing fouls could have the added benefit of forcing Embiid into foul trouble. If this happens, the Magic would gain a large edge as we witnessed the poor play of the Sixers against the Cavs.

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76ers-Magic Pick

The 76ers play excellent defense paired with a classic inside-out game on offense. Behind Embiid on offense and Simmons on defense, this team follows an elite-level player on both sides of the floor. 

Utilizing a team built on depth and scheme, the Magic have started out red-hot at 4-0. This success comes behind efficient shooting from mid-range and forcing teams to beat you from 2-point range. 

Against Philadelphia, this gameplan will be put to the test. With excellent man defense, those shots will have an extra layer of difficulty. With Embiid in the post on offense, forcing the ball inside will likely backfire.

Per The Action Network odds page, the line for the game opened at Philadelphia -2 and moved to -3 in a matter of hours.

I am siding with the market on this one and thinking that Orlando is fortunate to be 4-0. Back the 76ers to win and cover behind the star power of Embiid and Simmons.

Pick: Philadelphia -3 to -4.5

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