The Brooklyn Nets will be playing the second contest of their three-game homestand as they play hosts to the Orlando Magic at Barclays Center. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Nets-Magic prediction and pick.
Even without superstar Kevin Durant in the line-up, as he still recovers from a left hamstring injury, the Nets are currently the hottest team in the league right now and rank second in the Eastern Conference with a 21-12 slate. They extended their winning streak to seven games by edging the Sacramento Kings in their previous outing. Overall, the Nets have a record of 17-14 against the spread so far.
The visiting Magic, on the other hand, are 12th in the East at 13-19 so far and are 13-16 against the spread. They lost to the Detroit Pistons at home in their last game and have gone 5-5 in their last 10.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Nets-Magic odds.
NBA Odds: Nets-Magic Odds
Brooklyn Nets -8.5 -115
Orlando Magic +8.5 -105
Over 229 Points (-115)
Under 229 Points (-105)
Why the Nets could cover the spread
The Nets have covered the spread in their last seven outings, which of course, all resulted in wins. The Steve Nash-mentored unit have played their best stretch of basketball so far, and there’s a high chance they’ll keep covering the spread against a defensively-challenged Magic team.
Brooklyn handily beat the Magic in their first encounter of the season last January, which just so happened to be James Harden’s debut with the team. The Beard, of course, has already gotten comfortable with the Nets and should once again be a key factor against Orlando like in their first meeting. Kevin Durant did play in that initial match-up while Kyrie Irving was not available as he was in the midst of his self-imposed hiatus at the time. The tables have turned this time, as Uncle Drew will be the one ready to play versus the Magic while KD is set to miss his sixth game in a row.
The Nets are still the best offensive team in the league right now, putting up 1.18 points per possession in the 2020-21 campaign. They also lead the league in terms of effective field goal percentage at 58.7 percent and true shooting percentage at 62.2 percent. Moreover, the Nets have proven to be adept in keeping possessions and creating scoring opportunities, as they rank top 10 in both assist-to-turnover ratio (1.86) and free throw creation rate.
Their ridiculous firepower on the offensive end should come in handy, considering the Nets allow more than 1.14 points per possession on the other side of the ball. Irving and Harden should wreak havoc especially going against a thin Magic backcourt ravaged by injuries.
Why the Magic could cover the spread
Magic All-Star center Nikola Vucevic dropped 34 points and 10 boards against the Nets in a losing effort in their first game of the season. The Montenegrin slotman is once again expected to give the Nets problems with his polished inside-outside attack.
While the Magic’s backcourt will most likely get outplayed by the Nets’ two perennial All-Stars, they do hold the advantage down low against a Brooklyn team who fancies playing small most of the time. Orlando actually leads the league in both defensive rebound rate (76.0 percent) and second-chance points allowed (10.6 per game). The Nets, of course, boast a high-octane offense but their possessions could be limited if the Magic continue to corral the defensive boards at a high rate.
The Nets also rank near the bottom in terms of turnover creation rate, something that the Magic can further expose since they only turn the ball over on only 13.4 percent of possessions. Vucevic has been playing terrific basketball as of late and the Nets don’t really have another guy who could slow him down once DeAndre Jordan goes to the bench.
Apart from Vucevic, the Magic still have capable wing scorers in Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross, who could go off against Brooklyn’s not so formidable team defense.
Final Nets-Magic Prediction and Pick
The Nets are rolling right now and the Magic don’t seem to be capable to end that hot streak at the moment. Stopping Vucevic would be a tough task but the Nets can practically outgun everyone with their overpowered attack. Plus, other Nets players have stepped up in Durant’s absence and could provide more scoring since Orlando will have their hands full with Harden and Irving. Bruce Brown had a career-game in their last outing and could stay hot from the field, while the Nets still have guys like Joe Harris and Jeff Green who could do more damage.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION AND PICK FOR NETS-MAGIC: BKN 125, ORL 110 (BKN 8.5)