Orlando Magic vs. Denver Nuggets Preview and Pick

Orlando Magic (23-14) +4 , 218 at Denver Nuggets (21-13), 9 pm Eastern Friday
by Zman of Predictem.com

A first-place team on a recent downswing goes up against a second-place team on the upswing when the Orlando Magic visit the Denver Nuggets Friday night in the Mile High City.

NBA betting boards have Denver posted as a 4 1/2-point home favorite for Friday’s game, with a total of 218. Also, while the Nuggets are listed at around -230 on various Vegas moneylines, Orlando is getting +190 as a road underdog.

Orlando broke a three-game losing streak with a 113-106 win over the Clippers in LA Wednesday. But since starting this season 16-4, the Magic have gone just 7-10 since then.

On the other side of this match-up, Denver had a three-game winning streak snapped in a 137-115 loss at Phoenix Monday night. Still, after starting this season 9-8, the Nuggets have gone 12-5 since then.

Heading into Friday’s action, Orlando leads the Southeast Division by four games over the second-place Washington Wizards, while Denver sits in second place in the Northwest Division, just a half-game back of the first-place Portland Trailblazers.

These two teams have split their two games each of the last four seasons, with the home team winning the last nine meetings in this series. In the only meeting between these two teams since the Nuggets acquired G Allen Iverson last December, Denver beat the Magic 111-101 in Colorado last February.

This season, Orlando has been absolutely great on the road and as a ticket casher. The Magic are 24-13 against the spread, and 16-6 straight up and an amazing 17-5 vs. the numbers away from home.

Meanwhile, Denver is 17-17 ATS this season, and 14-5 SU and 10-9 vs. the numbers at home.

Statistically speaking, these two teams are very similar. Orlando ranks 9th in the league in per-game point differential at +3.3, while the Nuggets rank 10th at +3.1. The Magic are shooting 46% from the field as a team, 36% from 3-point range and 72% from the free-throw line, while Denver is shooting 46% from the floor, 34% from beyond the arc and 75% from the line.

And while Orlando owns a +.2 rebounds-per-game average, the Nuggets come in at -.5 RPG.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rank the Magic 8th at 93.8, Denver 11th at 92.2. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 2.6.

The o/u is 19-18 in Orlando games this season, which are averaging 204 points per, while the totals are 17-17 in Nuggets games, which are averaging 210 points.

Zman’s Pick: Take the Magic +4.5.