The NBA restart arrives on July 30th with two games. One day later, we really dive back into the 2019-20 NBA regular season with a nice six-game schedule.
One of the games hitting the hardwood on that Friday is a tense clash between the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets. I say tense because both teams have a tenuous grasp on a playoff spot, and one will grow closer to losing it.
It’s still quite the stretch that either of these teams even has to participate in a play-in series, of course. When looking at odds for which teams will make the 2020 NBA playoffs, the Nets (-10000) and Magic (-5000) look like locks.
That said, seeding has to play out, and neither team is guaranteed a playoff spot just yet. Let’s take a look at this clash on July 31st and see how things could unfold with my Magic vs. Nets prediction.
Magic vs. Nets Odds
Magic (-4) -110
Nets (+4) -110
Magic to Win -190
Nets to Win +165
Over 212 -110
Under 212 -110
The Magic open as understandable favorites at Bovada. They’re literally the only team that plays in Orlando and technically will have home court advantage for the rest of the season.
Spencer Dinwiddie also tested positive for the coronavirus and may not play, although recent reports suggest he’s considering a return.
Regardless, Orlando makes total sense as the favorite here. Even so, their 4-point spread advantage really isn’t egregious.
This is a low total, but you’ll want to consider how slow Orlando can be (25th in pace), as well as both team’s ability to defend (8th and 9th in defensive efficiency).
That could play into this being a grind-it-out, low-scoring affair. It’s probably not the most attractive game for sports bettors, but it may still be a nice spot to nab some betting value.
Based simply on a lack of bodies, it’s hard to get too excited about the Nets in this spot. They are currently looking safe for the playoffs, but it’s worth wondering what condition they’ll be in as they back into postseason play.
Orlando isn’t some formidable matchup. The Magic grind out many of their wins, play slow, and can rarely be trusted offensively.
That said, the Magic do have the clear home court edge, they are up 2-0 in the season series, and they’ve won each of the last three meetings. Throw in Brooklyn’s lack of star power and depth, and it’s awfully easy to fall in love with Orlando here.
Bettors do need to consider the potential return of Dinwiddie, of course, while the Nets happen to be pretty deep. Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen should find themselves working into bigger roles than usual, which could end up making the Nets a tougher out than expected.
Prediction and Pick
Brooklyn’s youngsters could steal the show here, but logic leans toward the hometown Magic getting the win.
Orlando should be a lot more cohesive, as most of their players will have been in town prior to the NBA relaunch, and they’ll also be more accustomed to the surroundings.
The Magic also have more star power and better depth, while they’ve been the aggressors in this series lately. Brooklyn could always throw bettors a curveball to start the NBA’s return, but betting on the Magic looks like the play here.
Orlando straight up (-190) doesn’t really move the needle, so the best play here is for the Magic to cover. They’re just 31-32-2 against the spread this year, but they’re 16-13 ATS when favored.
The Nets are on the road and shorthanded. Orlando should get the win here, and asking them to get it by five points isn’t much of a demand. Just make sure you back them at the Bovada sportsbook, where you’ll find their best price.
Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.
When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.