Orlando Magic 2021 NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Steve Clifford’s Team Won’t Regress
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: Steve Clifford of the Orlando Magic
Magic Win Total Odds
The Case for the Over
The Magic suffer from what is referred to in politics as an enthusiasm gap. If the Magic had played 82 games at their win percentage after the bubble, they would have won 37 games, two more than the lowest total on the board.
They lost DJ Augustin in free agency and Jonathan Isaac to injury, sure. But the rest of the core is there. Markelle Fultz continues to develop; he averaged 15.7 points and 6.7 assists per 36 minutes last season. Aaron Gordon is still a net positive, even if he continues to believe he’s more than just a Shawn Marion replicant (which is an ideal role for him).
Nikola Vucevic is still there, still plugging away, and Steve Clifford is there, so the defense is going to top-12 again.
The bar here is painfully low.
The Magic don’t tank; they are yet another team toiling for a playoff spot with no real title aspirations. They won’t be much better than last season, but they likely won’t be worse, either.
The Case for the Under
Augustin had the best on-court net rating of any Magic player last season. Granted, that was mostly because his defensive rating was 6.3 points better on-court than off. But still, Augustin is a major loss.
Wes Iwundu was one of the team’s best defensive players. Without him, the Magic defense takes a step back and there aren’t enough weapons to keep it above water. Orlando’s offense has been bad for several seasons, and while Fultz may be able to fill or even slightly exceed Augustin’s impact and production, who then fills Fultz’s role? Michael Carter-Williams? OK, then who fills in that role?
This is the issue. Maybe that’s first-round pick Cole Anthony. But rookie point guards often struggle.
There’s no replacement for Isaac. There’s no reason to think Gordon will make a leap.
The Magic should have reconfigured the team this offseason, but they basically ran it back. They don’t have to be much worse to hit the under. They just need a slight degradation, and that’s basically what their offseason was.
Orlando Magic Win Total Bet
The key here is to not confuse Orlando’s place among the league, or their capacity to win a playoff game with their range of win totals.
The Magic will sneak up on a fair amount of teams. They have seven “True Rest” advantage games (rested vs. unrested opponents) in the first half of the season. Teams dealing with injuries or on long road trips will get caught by them. They play hard and disciplined, if not well.
This isn’t a young team, these are veterans mostly in their primes. Steve Clifford sets a tone, and while the offense will still struggle and they’ll be overwhelmed at times, they can get to 31.
A relevant matter? At a 72-win pace last season, their win percentage would have netted 33, and that was after the bubble which was almost entirely playoff teams. With an average schedule, they likely finish over 35.
It’s hard to find soft numbers for overs. The high range for the Magic is likely 36-to-38. The low range is likely 25-to-28. It’s a sharp number, but there’s little reason to believe that the Magic will ever turn to tanking, especially not in a pandemic-influenced season. Ownership will want the playoff revenue.