Thunder vs. Magic NBA Pick – November 29th

The Cleveland Cavaliers did not disappoint on Tuesday night, as they mopped the floor with the Miami Heat and got me my fourth consecutive win. Even a LeBron James ejection for the first time in his career during a regular season game couldn’t stop the Cavs, who ended up covering and converted a solid -185 straight up bet, as well.

Hopefully you followed along with that bet and even did some line shopping, as a few other NBA betting sites out there might have given a little more wiggle room on the Cavs.

Last night offered a shaky slate, so I took the bet I liked the most and ran with it. The win pushes me up to 7-3 with my NBA picks this year and sends me into a loaded Wednesday night NBA schedule looking to keep the streak alive.

There are understandably a lot of paths to consider tonight, but my favorite game to target goes down in the Amway Center as the Orlando Magic host the Oklahoma City Thunder.

OKC needs a pick-me-up thanks to two straight losses and a showdown with a reeling Magic team (9 straight losses!) could do the trick. The Thunder are a brutal 2-8 on the road and clearly have not been the dominant force many expected them to be, but on paper this remains a game they should win. The big question is which betting angle bettors are going to want to take:

Oklahoma City Thunder (-6) @ Orlando Magic (+6) Total: 211.5

Neither of these teams are getting it done right now, but who is going to pull for a Magic team that seems ready to drop an unfathomable 10th straight contest? That’s the reality here, as a hot start from Orlando has quickly faded with the Magic turning into one of the worst teams in the league.

Orlando has made huge strides as an offensive team this year, but defense has been their problem. The Magic are 6th in pace and 13th in offensive efficiency, but they can’t stop anyone at the other end.

This is a team that is allowing over 111 points per game on the season and during their current losing streak they’ve allowed their opponent to top that mark six times. In the other three losses, Orlando’s opponent still scored at least 105 points two times.

There really isn’t anything to suggest Orlando’s defensive woes will stop tonight, while there is other evidence working against the Magic. For one, their home base hasn’t been a safe haven, as they’ve gone just 4-4 on their home floor. In addition, they haven’t been impressive against the spread (9-11-1) and are just 3-5 ATS at the Amway Center.

Orlando is not playing great basketball these days and it’s tough for me to buy them in this spot, whether it be straight up or to beat the spread. While their ATS data isn’t as bad as you’d imagine, they have not kept games all that close recently. Of their nine straight losses, just two of them would have seen Orlando either beat this spread or provide a push.

On the other side, OKC has a dream matchup against the NBA’s 23rd most efficient defense. Orlando is a defensive sieve collectively right now and that should provide a struggling Thunder offense with a perfect spot to get their minds right on the offensive end.

This has been a positive spot for OKC in the past and a matchup Russell Westbrook has flat out feasted in. Westbrook scored 57 points the last time he took on the Magic, while Oklahoma City has emerged victorious in this series 5 times in the last 6 meetings and have won 10 of the last 12.

This matchup has actually historically been ridiculously close. The Magic have pushed the Thunder two two crazy overtime games in the last four games, while each of those contests were decided by 8 points or fewer.

That’s something to consider in the back of your mind, but the reality is OKC gets a pace up game against a bad defense and is too talented to face plant in this spot. This is just one more loss for a slumping Orlando team that probably needs to make major changes (possibly via trade) if they’re ever going to get their swagger back.

As things stand, this is a terrible matchup for Orlando. Steven Adams provides resistance to Nikola Vucevic down low, while Paul George and Andre Roberson should make life difficult for Evan Fournier, Jonathon Simmons and Aaron Gordon on the outside.

OKC’s 2nd ranked defense should put the clamps down in this one, while their offense should come to life at the other end. Overall, that equates to a Thunder win, but at -215 you’re not getting quite enough value. I have no problem going for the 6-point spread with the matchup favoring OKC as much as it is.

Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder (-6)