Orlando Magic vs. New Orleans Pelicans – NBA, April 1, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| April 1, 2021 12:10 pm PDT

Orlando’s slim chances of making a pre-playoff spot are disappearing like a Houdini Magic act. If they want to stand any chance of catching the Bulls in the tenth spot, then they have to start winning games. The Pelicans are also in the hunt for a pre-playoff spot in the west. However, their chances seem more realistic than the Magic’s. With that said, they must win tonight and not take the Magic too lightly.

Especially as they have lost the previous four matches against them, the Magic appear to enjoy playing against the Pelicans, and they have scored at least 130-points in their last two games against them. They have also enjoyed visiting New Orleans and have come away with the victory on their previous three visits.

Orlando has averaged eight more points than the Pelicans over their previous ten encounters, and they have been leading by an average of six points at halftime. Therefore, the Pelicans will need to start tonight’s matchup much better.

Magic vs. Pelicans Match Odds

Magic (+10.5) -110
Pelicans (-10.5) -110
Magic To Win +475
Pelicans To Win -590
Over 223.5 Points -110
Under 223.5 Points -110

Although the Pelicans seem invigorated recently, I didn’t expect the handicap to be quite so big. There previous three encounters have all been high-scoring affairs, but I would still say the total points look a couple of points on the high side.

Magic News

The Magic can’t get a run going, and they haven’t managed to win back-to-back games for well over five weeks now.

Although they have only won three of their previous 16 games, those three wins came in their last seven matches. They will also take encouragement from their surprise victory over the Clipper’s last time out.

Orlando started the game slowly and could only muster up 13-points in the first quarter. They trailed by 14-points at halftime and appeared to be on their way to another routine defeat. However, they had other ideas, and they fought back tremendously to pick up a seven-point victory. Here are some images from that memorable victory.

Orlando has been abysmal on the road this season, and they have only managed to pick up six wins from their 22 Road trips. Their win over the Clippers ended a run of seven straight away day defeats.

However, their defense has been much better in their last two away games against two special attacks in the Lakers and the Clippers. They reduced both teams to scores of 96 points, which they haven’t been used to. Many have said they both took the Magic lightly and whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but for Orlando, it is a significant improvement regardless.

Now, let’s take some time to look over what trends online bookies are keeping in mind when reviewing betting odds:

Latest Betting Trends for Orlando
Bet Type Trend
ATS They have won four of their previous five matches.
Total Seven of their last ten games have gone under the betting total.
ATS The Magic have only lost one of their previous six matches against the Pelicans.
Total All of their previous five games on the road have gone under the points total.
ATS Orlando has won four of their last five games in New Orleans.
SU They have only won two of their previous eight matches against west coast opposition.
SU The Magic have lost four of their last five games against teams based in the Southwest Division.

The Magic has an awful defense that ranks last in the field goal percent averages.

However, they have a good defense that has gotten better as the season has gone on. They are conceding on average 110 points per game which, if their attack improved slightly, would make them competitive most nights. They remain disciplined throughout the game, and this doesn’t falter even if they find themselves behind in games which I like.

Their biggest asset is their defensive rebounding which is amongst the best in the NBA this season. Their offensive rebounding isn’t too shabby either, making them the third-best rebounding unit in the league. Presumably, their offensive rebounding is good because they get so much practice with all their wayward shots.

However, if they improved upon the number of steals they make per game, combined with their impressive defensive rebounding game, they would see a lot more of the ball each night.

They also have a low blocking average which is another area they can certainly improve in. The Pelicans are also poor at making blocks, so don’t expect to see many made tonight.

The Magic have a long list of injuries which includes Harris, Isaac, Fultz, and Anthony. Mane remains a doubt to feature also.

Pelicans News

The Pelicans seem rejuvenated recently, and they have won back too back games for the third week in a row. However, they have failed to make it three wins in a row on their previous two occasions.

They will feel this is their best opportunity to change that coming up against the lowly ranked Magic. New Orleans has now won four of their last five games and is playing some of their best basketball season at present.

They have a good record at home of 14 wins and 11 defeats from their 25 matches played at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans have won four of their previous five home fixtures, with their only loss coming against the Denver Nuggets. They started that match well and took a nine-point lead into the second half. However, they faded badly and went on to lose the game.

This will be music to Orlando’s ears as they have come on strong towards the end of games recently, and they showcased that against the Clippers last time out.

Latest Betting Trends for New Orleans
Bet Type Trend
ATS The Pelicans have won four of their previous five matches.
Total Five of their last six games have gone under the betting total.
Total The total has gone under in ten of their previous 13 matchups against the Magic..
ATS They have only lost one of their last five home games.
Total Only four of their previous 15 matches against Eastern Conference opponents have failed to go over the points total.
SU New Orleans is 1-4 in their last five games against teams from the Southeast Division.
SU They have only won one of their previous five matches played in April.

The Pelicans have one of the best attacks in the league this season which is largely down to a high field goal percentage of a little under 49%. Oddly for a team that is so accurate from close range, they have a meager success rate from the free-throw line.

They have the best offensive rebounding figures in the league, and when you’re making almost one in every two shots anyway, this is a lethal combination.

However, their defense lacks and needs a lot of improvement if they are to make the playoffs this season. Their marking has been a particular concern, and they are allowing their opponents to score far too freely.

The Pelicans are also a well-disciplined team, so expect a nice clean game tonight.

New Orleans has a young team that could blend into a force to be reckoned with over the coming years if they can keep together.

It’s centered around Zion Williamson, and they will need him to stay fit for the remainder of the season if they are to stand any chance of making the playoffs. However, they had a scare in their win over the Celtics when it appeared that he received a nasty thumb injury that could keep him out for a while. Thankful for them, the signs appear good, and he should miss very little game time, if any.

As well as Williamson, Ball remains a doubt as he struggles with a hip injury.

Magic vs. Pelicans Betting Pick

The Pelicans are playing some excellent basketball at present, and they will be confident of picking up the win tonight. However, the Magic will have other ideas, and they have already reduced two excellent attacks to small scores on their previous two games, so facing tonight’s excellent offense will be nothing new to them.

There was a lot to like about their win over the Clippers, and they should take great encouragement from that performance. They also have an outstanding record against New Orleans.

I will take the Magic with the handicap to win this one.

Pick
  • Magic (+10.5)
    -110

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