Philadelphia 76ers vs Orlando Magic NBA Pick – December 31

The NBA is set with another great night of action on Thursday night. Seven games will be up on the board throughout the night. One of these games will be between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Orlando Magic. These two teams have put up impressive starts to the season and will look to keep it going. This game will tip off at around 6:30 PM Eastern time.

Philadelphia has started off this season with a record of 3-1, which has them tied for second place in the Eastern Conference. The 76ers have been able to get going quickly this season with Doc Rivers in his first season as head coach. Philadelphia will look to move up the ladder in the Eastern Conference with a win over Orlando to take the top spot early in this new season.

The Magic have earned the best record in the Eastern Conference and the league with a 4-0 start to this season. Orlando is the only remaining undefeated team after the Atlanta Hawks fell on Wednesday night. The Magic have gotten things going quickly this season after a first round exit in last season’s playoffs. Orlando will look to keep their streak going to start out this season with a win over the 76ers.

These two teams are fighting near the top of the East early in this season, which should lead to a great game on December 31. I expect both teams to come out hot as they play on New Year’s Eve and look to build up momentum. If either team can control the pace early it might be enough to give their squad an edge on the scoreboard. I expect a back and forth game though to help bring in the New Year.

Previous Matchups

These two teams met up three times throughout last season. The Magic hosted the first game of the season series on November 13. Josh Richardson dropped 19 points, while Ben Simmons finished with 18. It was not enough for the 76ers though. Nikola Vucevic finished with 25 points and 12 rebounds. Aaron Gordon added another 18 points and 13 rebounds to help lead Orlando to a 112-97 win.

The second game of the season series was also in Orlando on December 27. Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid both dropped 24 points and 11 rebounds, but once again it was not enough. Evan Fournier finished with 20 points, while Aaron Gordon scored 19 points and 11 rebounds. Terrence Ross added 17 points off the bench as the Magic squeaked away with a 98-97 win at home.

The third and final game of the season series was during the qualifying round on August 7. Evan Fournier scored 22 points and Nikola Vucevic finished with 21 points and 12 rebounds on the night. Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid each scored 25 points and more than 12 rebounds. Alec Burks added 22 points off the bench, while Al Horford had 21 points to give the 76ers a nice 108-101 win.

These two teams met up three times throughout last season, with the Magic winning two of the three games. Orlando is coming off a win against the Oklahoma City Thunder in their last game. The 76ers knocked off the Raptors in their last outing. The Magic will host this game, where they were able to win twice last season. If Orlando can build off of that, they could earn another upset over Philadelphia.

Top Performers

Joel Embiid is off to a hot start this season. Embiid is averaging 28.5 points and 13.5 rebounds per game throughout his three starts. Tobias Harris has also had a strong season, averaging 17.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. Ben Simmons has averaged 14.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game. Seth Curry is averaging 14 points per game, while Shake Milton has averaged another 10.5 points per game.

Terrence Ross has done a great job for the Magic coming off the bench. Ross has averaged 21 points per game to open up this season. Nikola Vucevic is averaging 20 points and 11.5 rebounds per game. Markelle Fultz has averaged 18.5 points. Evan Fournier is averaging 18 points per game, while Aaron Gordon has averaged 13 points per game for Orlando.

These two teams have seen their best players step up early in the season. Embiid has been almost unstoppable throughout this season, while Harris and Simmons have been great supporting players. Ross has stepped up in a big way off the bench early in this season. Gordon has not been doing great this season and will need to step up a bit in this one if they want to stay undefeated.

Field Goal Shooting

The 76ers have not been great shooting throughout this season. Philadelphia has made 43.5 percent of their shots from the field, which is 25th in the league. The 76ers have also made 30.7 percent of their three point shots, while 51.2 percent of their shots inside the arc. Philadelphia has held opposing teams to a 43.3 percent shooting percentage from the field, which is 3rd best in the NBA.

Orlando has been a solid field goal shooting team this season. The Magic have been able to make around 48.4 percent of their shots from the field, which is 8th in the league. Orlando has also made 34.9 percent of their shots from deep, which is 19th in the NBA. The Magic have made 53.9 percent of their shots in close, which is 11th in the league.

These two teams have been opposite shooting wise this season. Philadelphia has been the much better team on defense though. The Magic have allowed opposing teams to make 49.2 percent of their shots from the field and 58.2 percent of their shots inside the arc, which is 28th and 29th in the NBA. If the 76ers can dominate Orlando inside the arc, it could give them a big edge in this one.

Pick Overview

These two teams are sitting near the top of the Eastern Conference standings, which should lead to a great game on New Year’s Eve. I think that the 76ers have a great chance to hand the Magic their first loss of the season. With Embiid, Harris and Simmons, I think that Philadelphia can force the ball inside, which Orlando has struggled to defend this season.

BetOnline has the 76ers listed as a -3 against the spread. This gives a solid edge to Philadelphia in this one. I agree with this line as the 76ers have the better lineup in my opinion. The Magic have had a strong start to this season, but I do not think they will keep it up for long. I think that Philadelphia will come out fast in this one and control the pace to earn a big win.

Philadelphia 76ers -3
Andruw Burling / Author

Andruw Burling has been writing sports picks since 2017, covering mainly NHL and NBA content, but doing work in other sports as well. Andruw grew up in Las Vegas and has been around sports since a young age. He grew up a huge NHL and NBA fan and continues to use that knowledge in his content today.