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Raptors-Magic Series Betting Preview: Does Orlando Have Upset Potential?

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Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Nikola Vucevic, Kyle Lowry

  • The Toronto Raptors and Orlando Magic tip off their first-round series on Saturday (5 p.m. ET on ESPN).
  • Matt Moore analyzes the matchup and whether there's value on either side.

No. 2 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 7 Orlando Magic

Odds: Raptors -1400 | Magic +800
Key matchup: The D.J. Augustin-Nikola Vucevic connection (yes, seriously)

The Magic need to run this about 10,000 times:

Marc Gasol just isn’t the same guy in terms of mobility that he used to be. Meanwhile, D.J. Augustin — against all odds– had the best net rating of any Magic rotation player against the Raptors this season.

With Augustin on the floor, the Magic were +18.2 per 100 possessions. They clocked the Raptors. Using Nikola Vucevic in capacities like this create quality, easy looks. And Toronto won’t switch that unless it absolutely has to, and if it does, it creates other problems with how sneaky Augustin is.

This is the one kind of area you can see the Raptors struggling in. Even if they switch out Gasol and put the slicker Pascal Siakam at 5 to guard Vucevic, you then give up size to Vucevic in the post.

More than any other player, Vucevic can give his team a chance to win — but he has to have massive games every single night in this series.

VALUE PLAY: Magic +800

It’s probably a stay-away, but I don’t mind taking the upset here.

Toronto is led by totally different players from the ones who were so bad in the playoffs year after year, but there’s still some baggage. Those things can linger.

Kawhi Leonard’s future with the team is up in the air, which can cause tension. Gasol has helped transform their offense, but in specific matchups, he can struggle.

The Magic split the season series, and if they win Game 1 on Saturday, the whole thing flips.

I expect Orlando to win and would tell you to stay away from betting this on the series line and instead focus on the game-by-game plays, but if you need one, I think the Magic are pesky enough to make the 8-1 payout a little interesting.

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