San Antonio Spurs (47-23) +2, 190 at Orlando Magic (46-26), 7 pm Eastern Tuesday, NBA TV
by Zman of Predictem.com
The defending NBA champion San Antonio Spurs have struggled at times this season, but are still in very good shape to make a springtime run. Meanwhile, the Orlando Magic have seemingly been on cruise control since taking a big lead in their division months ago, and are probably itching to get the playoffs started. That’s the situation as these two teams hook up for an interesting inter-conference battle Tuesday night in central Florida.
NBA Bookies list Orlando as two-point home chalk for Tuesday’s game, with a total of 190. The Magic are also posted at right around -125 on various Vegas moneylines, with San Antonio getting +110 as road underdogs.
San Antonio had lost six of seven games but has now won three in a row after winning in Dallas Sunday 88-81, despite shooting just 33% from the field. So while the Spurs are in third place in the Southwest Division and sixth in the Western Conference standings, they’re only one game out of first place in both races.
On the other side of this match-up, Orlando lost at Atlanta Saturday 98-90, its second defeat in its last three games. But the Magic have won 14 of their last 19 games, and are pretty much locked into the three spot in the Eastern Conference; they lead the Southeast Division by 8 games over the second-place Washington Wizards, and trail the second-place Detroit Pistons by five games and lead fourth-place Cleveland by 5 games in the East standings, with just 10 games to play.
In the first meeting this season between these two teams, San Antonio blew open a close game with a 35-20 fourth quarter in beating Orlando 128-110 Nov. 21 in Alamo City, covering the spread as six-point home favorites. The Magic actually shot 56% from the floor for the game (the Spurs shot 50%), but while Orlando committed 13 turnovers, San Antonio set a franchise record by committing just three, which helped them take 18 more shots than the Magic. The game also breezed by its total of 188 by 50 points!
Last season, these two teams split two games, San Antonio winning 98-74 and Orlando 106-104. So the last three games in the series between these two teams have averaged 207 total points.
This season, the Spurs are 32-38 against the spread, 19-17 straight up and only 14-22 vs. the numbers on the road, while the Magic are a profitable 44-26 ATS, 23-13 SU and 21-13-2 vs. the numbers at home.
Tuesday’s game may well be decided on the perimeter; the Magic average 25 three-point attempts per game, second-most in the league, and are hitting at a 39% rate from long range, which ranks 4th. But the Spurs rank 2nd in 3-point defense at 34%.
Orlando ranks 6th in the league in point differential at +4.9 per game, San Antonio 9th at +4.5.
The Spurs are shooting 45% from the field this season, 37% from 3-point range and 77% from the free-throw line. At the other end of the court, the Magic are shooting 47% from the floor and 73% from the line.
San Antonio ranks 6th in the league in FG defense at 45%, Orlando 9th, just a few percentage points higher. And these two teams are tied for 12th in the league in rebounding at +1.0 per game.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rank the Spurs 7th at 94.9, the Magic 10th at 94.7. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.4.
The o/u is 28-42 in San Antonio games this season, which are averaging 187 total points, while the totals are 34-36 in Orlando games, which are averaging 205 points.
Zman’s Pick: Lay the points with Orlando.