Orlando Magic vs. Toronto Raptors Pick
Orlando Magic (38-39 SU, 41-35-1 ATS) vs. Toronto Raptors (54-23 SU, 34-43 ATS)
When: Monday, April 1st, 2019 – 7:30 PM ET
Where: Scotiabank Arena – Toronto, ON
TV: FSN / TSN
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: ORL +8.5 / TOR -8.5 (Intertops Sportsbook)
Power Rankings: Toronto -6
Takeaways From Orlando and Toronto’s Most Recent Games
In hopes of stealing a playoff spot in the East, the Magic have been playing at a magical level. Orlando has gone 6-2 both straight up and against the spread in their previous eight matches. Most recently, the Magic were in action on Saturday at the Indiana Pacers where they got a big win as a small 1.5-point underdog. Orlando defeated Indiana by a score of 121-116.
The Raptors extended their winning streak to three games after they made quick work of the Chicago Bulls on Saturday. The Raptors covered as a double-digit favorite for the second straight game after they mauled Chicago 124-101 as a 10.5-point favorite in the Windy City.
How the Public is Betting the Orlando-Toronto Game
At the time this article was written (Monday morning) there have been no line movements in the Point Spread and Over/Under markets.
The Magic have now flexed their muscles in this series as they have won the last two matches and covered in the previous three contests. Most notably, Orlando staged an upset of the Raptors in the Great White North in February. Closing as a seven-point underdog, Orlando thumped Toronto 113-98.
Neither team has indicated injury concerns to key personnel heading into this pivotal match-up.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Both teams enter into this contest on two days’ rest. For Toronto, this is one quick home game for the Raptors before they head off on a two-game road trip that starts on Wednesday in New Brooklyn. For Orlando, this is the last contest in a four-game road trip. The Magic are back home Wednesday to host the New York Knicks.
Can Orlando’s Defense Pave A Way To Another Win?
Orlando are owners of a top-five scoring defense that gives up just 106.3 points per contest on average (5th in the NBA). The Magic’s defense gives up 2.1 less points per game compared to their Toronto counterparts that also own a top-10 defense in their own right at 108.4 points per match (10th overall). Combining the defensive advantage along with their edge in the turnover department, the Magic will look to make the most of their possessions and curtail the Raptors seventh-ranked scoring offense (114.3 points per game) to stage another upset bid. After all, the Magic held the Raptors to under 100 points in each of the two victories that comprise their winning streak against Toronto. Expect the Magic to rinse, wish, and repeat this approach in hopes of extending the win streak to three games.
Will Toronto Resume Supremacy In Shooting To End Magic’s Success?
Overall, Toronto’s is the better shooting team offensively and they are the stronger side in undermining their opponents’ shooting operations. On the year, the Raptors sit sixth in field goal efficiency (47.3%) while they have been disruptive of their opposition’s field goal efficiency limiting them to a fourth-ranked 44.9%. The Magic normally shoot 45% from the field (22%) while opponents shoot 45.4% from the field against them (11th in the NBA). On paper, this would be a clear-cut mismatch for the Raptors to take advantage of. However, in the February 24th meeting the Magic somehow shot 46.2% to Toronto’s 41.8% despite the Raptors having the home court advantage. To summarize, a lot of things went right for the Magic while a lot of things went wrong for the Raptors. Nevertheless, even the best teams in the NBA could have a cold night while teams that normally don’t shoot that great can catch fire. This happened simultaneously for both parties on that fateful Winter night but do not expect a repeat performance. Toronto will focus their strategy on outshooting the Magic. Should the Raptors find themselves able to do so, a win and a cover is certainly within reach.
Building upon Orlando’s recent spate of profitability in this series, the Magic are 4-0-1 ATS in the last five meetings between these two sides. In addition, the Under is 5-1 ATS in the last six contests between these two opponents.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Toronto -8.5
Orlando trails divisional rival and eight-seed Miami by half of a game, are one game behind present seventh seed Brooklyn, and 1.5 games behind Detroit who sits in the sixth position. The Magic are not in a position where it can be affording to lose games if it hopes to sneak into the playoffs. Yet sportsbook like Intertops opened the club as big 8.5 dogs here. Orlando has just four games left on the season after this contest, two of which are on the road. This is especially disconcerting for the Magic given the fact they are 15-23 SU away from Orlando this year. On paper, the Raptors appear to playing for less as they are pretty much a lock for the number two seed in the east but unfortunately Toronto has an incentive to bring their A-Game. The proverbial saying holds true here: revenge is a dish best served cold. For Toronto, they will be looking to avenge the upset loss in February and it will come at the most inopportune time for the Magic. Toronto will put their foot to their floor and never look back. I expect the Raptors to win this one by double-digits.