The Orlando Magic (28-41) visit the Phoenix Suns (37-32) on Thursday night! The action begins at 10:10 pm ET. Next, we continue our series of NBA odds with a prediction, a selection and how to watch the Magic-Suns.
Orlando has lost four of its last five games and is ranked 13th in the Eastern Conference. The Magic covered 53% of their games, while 51% exceeded their projected point total. Phoenix has lost three in a row, but still ranks fourth in the West. The Suns covered 54% of their games while 51% dipped. This will be the second and last meeting between the enemies of the crusading conference. Orlando won the previous matchup 114-97 in November.
Here are the Magic-Suns NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel
NBA odds: Magic-Suns odds
Orlando Magic: +7.5 (-110)
Phoenix Suns: -7.5 (-110)
Plus: 228.5 (-110)
Less: 228.5 (-110)
How to watch Magic vs. Suns
Television: Bally Florida, Bally Arizona
Stream: NBA League Pass
Time: 10:00 p.m. ET/ 7:00 p.m. PT
*Watch NBA games LIVE on fuboTV (click for free trial)*
Why magic could cover the spread
Orlando’s track record may not show it, but the Magic are a formidable team that can give anyone a game. The Magic are poor offensively, but they do a great job coming to the line with the sixth most free throw attempts per game. Also, they are a strong rebounding team that ranks 11th in rebounding rate. Perhaps his biggest path to coverage is on the defensive end. Orlando held Phoenix to just 97 points in their previous matchup and they allow 114.6 PPG for the season. While the Suns have a potent offense with Devin Booker back, Orlando’s jocks could certainly give Phoenix trouble on both ends of the court.
Of those aforementioned athletes, rookie Paolo Banchero might play the biggest role on a cover thanks to his all-around game. The Rookie of the Year favorite is averaging 20.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG and 3.6 APG. While his efficiency comes and goes, Banchero has an incredibly high ceiling and the potential to break out on any given night.
As much of a buzz as Banchero has had this season, second-year forward Franz Wagner has made a big leap this season. Wagner is averaging 18.7 points per game on strong 49% shooting. He has become a downed shooter from beyond the arc where he averages 1.7 3-pointers per game on 37% shooting. After a night of misplaced shooting against the Spurs, look to Wagner to bounce back considering Phoenix’s lack of wing defenders.
The X factor for the Magic tonight is point guard Markelle Fultz. Fultz has had a rebound season as the former No. 1 overall pick is on the run since the All-Star break. In his last 10 games, Fultz has averaged 15.7 PPG and 5.7 APG. While he’s not much of a threat from distance, Fultz still maintains a strong 52% field goal percentage over that span. Additionally, he is a playmaker on the defensive end averaging 1.5 steals per game since the All-Star break.
Why Suns Could Cover the Spread
While the Suns are still without Kevin Durant, they are still one of the strongest teams in the Western Conference. Phoenix is well positioned to secure home field advantage in the first round of the playoffs as they await KD’s return. The Suns have a strong defense that ranks fourth in points allowed. They are especially stingy in the paint where they allow the fifth fewest points per game. While they may rank 19th in scoring, that’s mostly due to their slow pace of play. They continue to be very efficient on that side of the court, as they excel at moving the ball and making the extra pass. With the fourth-most assists per game, Phoenix draws plenty of wide-eyed looks from deep. The sixth most efficient 3-point shooting team in the league could have a big night from distance after going just 8-23 in their most recent outing.
The Suns are led by All-NBA guard Devin Booker. Booker returned to stardom after missing a significant portion of the season due to injury, but has been stellar since the All-Star break. In his last nine games, Booker has averaged 32.3 PPG and 6.1 APG. He also remains incredibly efficient, shooting 55% overall and 40% from three in that span. After dropping 30 points in their most recent loss to Milwaukee, expect him to continue hunting shots as the Suns try to break their losing streak.
The X factor for the Suns tonight is big man Deandre Ayton. Like Booker, Ayton has been stellar since the All-Star break. While he’s averaging only 16.1 PPG, his 10.8 RPG shows how he can make an impact in the game even when he’s not scoring. When Ayton is working low, he is very efficient thanks to a 57% field goal percentage.
Magic-Suns Final Pick and Prediction
After a brief skid, I like Phoenix back on track and defending their home tonight.
Magic-Suns Final Pick and Prediction: Phoenix Suns -7.5 (-110)