Orlando Magic vs Miami Heat

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The Orlando Magic will travel a little south to the American Airlines Arena on Thursday night to face off against the Miami Heat in an Eastern Conference matchup. These teams faced off one time this season as Orlando pulled off the 113-107 home win in the season opener. The Magic are 14th in the Eastern Conference with a 13-23 record and are on a five-game losing streak. They are coming off a 115-112 loss to the Atlanta Hawks last Wednesday. The Heat are sixth in the Eastern Conference with an 18-18 record and are coming off a 103-93 road win over the New Orleans Pelicans last Thursday.

These teams are very similar on the offensive side of the floor so it will be interesting to see which team can clamp down on defense. Let’s take a deeper dive into the matchup to decide where we should be placing our wagers.

Center of the Offense

The Orlando Magic have been dependent on center Nikola Vucevic to carry the offensive load this season. He is averaging 24.6 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 0.6 blocks, and a steal in 33.9 minutes on the court. He is shooting the ball well as he is 48.3 percent from the floor, 41.2 percent from beyond the arc, and 85.1 percent from the free-throw line. In his last game against the Hawks, Vucevic played 36 minutes and finished with 29 points, seven rebounds, one assist, and a steal. If he can figure out a way to have a similar game in this matchup, he will thrive.

 

The Orlando Magic have been an average defense to begin the year as they are giving up just 112.2 points per game, which is 16th in the league. In their last game against the Atlanta Hawks, they allowed 115 points on 38-of-85 (44.7 percent) from the floor, 21-of-45 (46.7 percent) from beyond the arc, and 19 free-throw attempts. If they can figure out how to limit the number of open shots from three being taken against them, they can take the next step as a team.

BAM!

The Miami Heat have been relying on center Bam Adebayo to carry the offensive load this season. He is averaging 19.2 points, 9.5 rebounds, 5.4 assists, a block, and 0.9 steals in 33.9 minutes on the court. He is shooting the ball at a great clip with his limited range as he is 56.3 percent from the floor, 33.3 percent from three, and 84.7 percent from the charity stripe. In his last game against the Hawks, Adebayo played 33 minutes and finished with 11 points, two rebounds, and three assists. If he can figure out a way to bounce back in this game, the Heat should be fine.

The Miami Heat have been an above-average defense to begin the year as they are giving up 108.4 points per game, which is fifth in the league. In their last game against the New Orleans Pelicans, they allowed 93 points on 33-of-83 (39.8 percent) from the floor, 11-of-43 (25.6 percent) from beyond the arc, and 20 free-throw attempts. If they can figure out how to defend without fouling in this game, they will be in a better spot here.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Assist percentage is important as a high number means the offense is not iso-ball and instead the ball is moving. The Magic are second in the NBA with 67.4 percent while the Heat are 23rd in the NBA with 58.3 percent. The adjusted defensive ratings are another factor to look at. Orlando is 24th in the league with a 113.2 defensive rating while Miami is fourth in the league with a 108.9 defensive rating. The Magic are 1-3-1 ATS in their last five games while the Heat are 7-1 ATS in the last eight Heat games. The numbers and trends all point towards the Miami Heat covering the spread in this game.

Prediction:
Miami -8

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

The pace has a lot to do with this number so we should look at that. The Magic are 16th in the league with 99.2 possessions while the Heat are 26th in the league with 97.8 possessions. Another important number is the total points from their last handful of games. The Magic are averaging 226.6 total points in their last five games while the Heat are averaging 208.4 total points in the same span. The under has hit in ive of the last nine Orlando games while the Heat had the under hit in five of the last seven games. All in all, go with the UNDER as it looks like the better bet in this game.

Prediction:
UNDER