The Orlando Magic will be at the Verizon Center in Washington DC tonight to pay the Washington Wizards. The Magic have an 11 – 4 record which puts them in first place in the Southeast division and 2nd overall in the Eastern Conference. They will be up against the Washington Wizards, a division and conference rival, who have a 5 – 9 record and are 5th in the division and 12th in the conference.
While anything can happen in professional sports, and in particular the National Basketball Association, betting on this game is more a matter of trying to figure how much the Wizards will lose by than who will win. Oddsmakers have, of course, favored the Magic to win. My betting site has the betting line at the Orlando Magic -6.5. The over under line is 194.5 so oddsmakers predict a lower scoring game.
Match-Up and Comparison
The Orlando Magic, with Dwight Howard, are a perennial playoff team and the Wizards are a regular entry in the draft lottery at the end of the year. These are two teams that are completely different types of organization. The Magic go into games expecting to win and the Wizards go into games hoping not to be embarrassed or on a good day to get lucky and squeak one out.
The game of basketball is all about match-ups and you can be pretty certain that, at the center position, Dwight Howard (6’11” 255 lbs) will dominate JaVale McGee (7.0’ 252 lbs). The match-up that will be fun to watch is at the point guard position with veteran Magic guard Jameer Nelson (averaging 14.9 PPG, 2.8 RPG, 7.0 APG) against the Wizards rookie sensation John Wall (18.0 PPG, 3.60 RPG, 9.1 APG). John Wall is the one result of the Wizards time in the draft lottery that is paying off and Wall is a challenger for rookie of the year honors. I don’t think he will win it but he is in the running.
Both teams are lower scoring teams and neither team has done well against the point spread this season. Stan Van Gundy, The coach of the Orlando Magic, is defensive minded. This year the Magic have scored an average of 99.1 points per game and have allowed an average of 100. Since they have a winning record this means that when they run up against a team that their defense does not handle well, they lose big. The Wizards should be a team that the Magic defense will have no problem with. The Magic are averaging 97.8 points per game and allowing an average of 100.2 points per game.
Summary and Pick
The last time these two teams played was on October 28th in Orlando where the Magic won by a score of 112 to 83. That is a 29 point difference. I don’t believe that playing on the Wizard’s home court is going to make that much of a difference so I fell pretty comfortable with a betting line of the Magic -6.5. The over under seems to be spot on at the sportsbook, with oddsmakers putting the line at 194.5 and the previous match up between these teams resulting in a 195 total points. I think I will stay away from the over under on this game and just bet the Magic -6.5 to win.