The Atlanta Hawks are coming off one of their most convincing upsets of the season Saturday and tonight in Orlando, it’s the Magic who are on the ropes as they look to even this series at one game apiece.
Online sportsbooks have listed the hometown Magic as an 8.5-point favorite and given the Magic’s ATS record as big chalk, it’s no surprise to see more than 70-percent early action on the underdog. Including Saturday’s loss, where the Magic were also laying -8.5, Orlando has lost eight-straight games ATS when laying -7 points or more.
Brian Taylor, manager at Sportsbetting.com, stated “the sports betting public haven’t warmed up to Orlando in this one. After that straight up loss as a big favorite stung bettors the other night, they’re reluctant to back this Magic team as big favorite again. We’re currently sitting with 71% of the action on the underdog Hawks”.
The Hawks stumbled into the postseason, losing six in a row straight-up (1-5 ATS) but with five-straight ATS covers against the Magic it seems Atlanta couldn’t have asked for a better first round opponent.
Atlanta shot an impressive 51.4-percent (38-for-74) in the opener and held the Magic to just 6-of-22 from beyond the arc. Turnovers, which plagued the Magic throughout the season, once again caused nightmares for Dwight Howard as Orlando handed the ball over 18 times – the most of all 16 playoff teams.
OUT OF TRICKS
The ‘magic’ number for Orlando, according to coach Stan Van Gundy, is a maximum of 14 turnovers per game. And while that would be considered an improvement for a club that ranked 25th in the league with 14.9, the fact that they gave up the ball 18 times against Atlanta is a disturbing fact. Only one team in the league, the New Jersey Nets (12.5), created fewer turnovers than Atlanta (12.3) in 2010-11.
NBA PLAYOFF PICK
It wasn’t a fluke that Orlando won 52 games...and they haven’t lost back-to-back home games since March 4-7. One of the focuses for Van Gundy after any terrible performance was better ball control and the usual result was a lower scoring game. That March 7th game stayed under, as did the March 30th trip to Atlanta on the heels of a 113-106 loss to the Knicks. The total for this game has been set at 183.5 and we are projecting a low final.
Pick: Take the Under 183.5.