NBA Betting Preview: Houston Rockets at Orlando Magic

Jameer-Nelson-magicHouston at Orlando
Time: 7 PM ET, Mar 5, 2014
Spread: HOU -7
Total: 208

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The Orlando Magic got its 19th win of the season with a 92-81 victory over the lowly Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday night. Tobias Harris clearly has benefitted from the Magic’s waiving of Glen Davis, as the combo forward erupted for 31 points in the victory, his career high. It will take a lot more of that for Harris and the Magic to defeat the Houston Rockets, as NBA oddsmakers favor the visiting Rockets by 7 points in the affair.

The Magic have been pleased with the development of its young players. Victor Oladipo is making a strong case for Rookie of the Year, with averages of 13.9 points, 4.3 rebounds and four assists per game. Nikola Vucevic is posting a strong double-double average of 14.1 points and 10.9 rebounds.

Moreover, veteran Arron Afflalo is having a career year, averaging close to 20 points per game while posting a PER of 17.6. Rob Hennigan held off on dealing the veteran despite mass interest from contending teams, and that may be the wise thing to do. Afflalo gives the Magic veteran leadership and scoring, and the uncertainty of dealing a productive player for an unknown (be it a prospect or a pick) didn’t appeal to Hennigan and the Magic.

The man who caused the mess, so to speak, Dwight Howard, will make his return to the Amway. Howard is averaging 19 points, 12.5 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per game for Houston this season. The Rockets have a lot of talent and depth surrounding Howard, but are still 19th in points allowed.

James Harden’s defense has gone from above average to nonexistent, though the Bearded man is still helping to propel Houston’s high octane offense. Harden is averaging 24.4 points and 5.7 assists per game. Chandler Parsons has played his way into a nice payday this offseason, as he will be eligible to be extended. The versatile small forward has done a little of everything for Kevin McHale’s team this year, and retaining his services will be vital if Houston is to contend on a serious level next season.

HOU Trends: OVER 5-1-2 in last 8 Wednesday games; UNDER 4-1 in last 5 on 0 days rest; Rockets 1-4 ATS in last 5 following ATS win.

ORL Trends: 0-4-1 ATS in last 5 on 2 days rest; 2-0-2 ATS in last 4 overall; 9-1 ATS in last 10 home games.

Head-to-head: Rockets 0-4 ATS in last 4 in Orlando; Rockets 0-8 ATS in last 8 meetings.

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