Eastern Conference Battle: Orlando Magic at Atlanta Hawks

Orlando Magic AT Atlanta Hawks
Opening line:  Orlando -1
Current line:  Orlando -2.5
Opening Total: 187
Current Total: 187
Opening Moneyline:  Orlando -125 / Atlanta +105
Current Moneyline: Orlando -140 / Atlanta +120

How well will Arenas adjust to playing with a better team in Orlando?

Tonight promises to be a highly anticipated game for Orlando fans.  It will be the first night of a new era, partly ushered in by former players in Hedo Turkoglu. Jason Richardson and Gilbert Arenas are both great scorers, and even throw in Earl Clark offers some promise.  By all means, Orlando upgraded.  Will it show tonight or will it require more time for the new parts to learn offenses and strategies of Stan Van Gundy?  That remains to be seen, but NBA oddsmakers have actually set the line in the Magic’s favor, also despite the fact they have lost 6 of their last 7 games.  To say the Magic have Atlanta’s number is a vast understatement, as the Magic have won 11 of their past 13 regular season matchups and in addition to that they swept the Hawks out in very decisive fashion in the playoffs.

Part of the reason is that Dwight Howard
is next to unstoppable by most big men, nevermind the undersized Horford.  Josh Smith helps with weak side defense, but ultimately the job goes to Horford and ZaZa Pachulia.  Dwight Howard is averaging 18.2 points per game and 13.9 rebounds per game against the Hawks over his career.  He averaged 21 per game against them in the playoffs, and had a 29 point game in that series.  He simply has his way with the Hawks.

How well will Jason Richardson, Gilbert Arenas, and Hedo make the transition to playing with Howard?  Probably very well.  All three are good three point shooters and good passers, as well, especially Hedo Turkoglu.  He thrived in Orlando for 4 seasons before opting to bolt for the Raptors.  He struggled in Toronto, was dealt to Phoenix, and now is back in Orlando, hoping to regain the magic he had earlier in his first stint there.

Some betting trends:  Orlando is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games and the total has gone UNDER in 5 of their last 7.  They have lost 6 of their past 7.  The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Orlando’s last 18 road games.  It has gone UNDER in 10 of their last 11 against the Hawks.  It has also gone UNDER in all five of the last five road games.

Atlanta is 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games, and the total has gone UNDER in 4 of Atlanta’s last 5.  They have lost 4 of their past 6 but have won their last5 home games.  They are 3-13 ATS in their last 16 games at home.

NBA oddsmakers have really seemed to go out on a limb for this line.  There’s so many variables to be accounted for with the new players coming in and the game being in Atlanta.  It’s really hard to get a gauge on this game.

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