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December 6, 2017

There is one pick tonight.

Take Orlando Magic -6 spread (buy the half point) against Atlanta Hawks for 3% of the bankroll.

Both of these Southeast division teams are in a slump at the moment. The Magic have lost 8 of their last 10 matchups while the Hawks have only 3 wins in that same span! Which is more likely to bounce back and snap out of it? The home side. The Hawks were always expected to struggle this season. They came into this year knowing this would be a rebuilding period for them. The departure of Paul Millsap in the off-season all but eliminated any slim playoff hopes the organization had, having already lost Al Horford and Jeff Teague the previous year. Dennis Schroder has stepped up his game and is a good NBA point-guard but other than him, this team doesn’t have a lot of players that would be starting for other teams. They do have some good young players that they are giving playing time to such as Taurean Prince and John Collins but clearly this is a franchise with its sights set on the future and not this year.

Atlanta comes into this game sporting the second worst record in the Eastern conference, an ugly 5-18 mark! The only team that’s been worse are the Chicago Bulls, another squad that went into the season knowing they won’t have a chance at the post-season. The Hawks have lost 17 of the 20 games they have been installed as underdogs and we expect another defeat for them tonight. The Orlando Magic are 10-15 on the year and actually improved from last year in our opinion. They started the season strong but have endured a rough stretch recently. They do have the talent however to turn things around and given how early in the season it is, there’s time to do so. Unlike their opponents, Orlando did have playoff aspirations this season and while they were always expected to be around the bubble, they do have it within them to be higher up in the standings. We believe it’s only a matter of time before they show more consistency and rack up a few ‘W’s. 

The Hawks are a poor team this year but one that can be competitive nonetheless when playing at full strength. Unfortunately for them, they are currently far from it. Starting Center and legitimate tough guy, Dewayne Dedmon is out injured and he’s a big miss for them, especially on the defensive side. As a former Orlando player, he would’ve likely delivered a good performance (as players often do against former clubs) but what really makes matters tough for the visitors tonight is his defense and rebounding.

Nikola Vucevic is a tough C to guard given the European’s impressive skillset. He can score in a number of different ways and needs a big-bodied athletic player on him to perhaps ‘bully’ him a bit. Dedmon may have played a role like that but in his absence, ATL has to turn into the soft Miles Plumlee. The injury-prone big is a 3rd choice at best for even low level NBA teams and resembles a G-League player most these days. He’s only being thrusted into action because the Hawks’ second choice at the 5 spot, John Collins is also out injured! John Collins is an impressive rookie who’s good for a double-double almost every game. But he won’t be taking part in this matchup as Atlanta’s frontcourt has been decimated with injuries. Containing Aaron Gordon and Nik Vucevic will be left to undersized players Ersan Ilyasova and Plumlee and that doesn’t bode well for Atlanta. That’s especially true since Ilyasova and Plumlee have both recently returned from injuries themselves and are not fully up to game speed. Look for the Magic to pull away in this contest and cover the spread in the process.

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