Free NBA Picks: Boston Celtics vs. Orlando Magic

Boston Celtics at Orlando Magic
Thursday, 1/26/12, 8:00 PM EST, TV:  TNT
Opening Point Spread:  Orlando -8
Current Betting Line:  Orlando -10
Opening Total:  175
Current Total:  174
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Orlando Magic will seek revenge from a humiliating loss to the Boston Celtics

Boston will finish out a home-and-home series with the Orlando Magic Thursday night, capturing a resounding 87-56 victory as seven-point home underdogs in the first contest.  The Celtics have managed to go “over” the total in just two games since Jan. 1.  “Defensively, that was as good as you can get,” commented Celtics head coach Doc Rivers.  There’s no question that the aging roster is banged up due to the shortened schedule this season, as shooting guard Ray Allen is out of the lineup, while youthful point guard Rajon Rondo is expected to miss tonight’s game with a wrist injury.  Boston is 2-5 ATS versus winning teams this season.

The Celtics held the Magic to a franchise-tying-low 56 points in the last meeting, which includes the fewest points allowed in a half at 20.  Boston also cashed in on its opportunities from the charity stripe, hitting all 19 free throw attempts.  Forward Brandon Bass will need to put together another strong performance from the bench to pull off an upset in this contest, averaging 11.9 points and 6.5 rebounds this season, coming off a 19-point performance last time out.

Orlando has alternated wins and losses over its past five games, registering a 102-83 win over the Indiana Pacers as three-point road underdogs.  The Magic have gone “under” the total in four of their last five games.  “Our intensity picked up at the defensive end, we did a great job of moving the ball on offense,” stated Magic center Dwight Howard about the team’s performance.  He also managed to become the franchise’s all-time leading scorer in the win.  Orlando is 7-6 ATS in January this season.

The Magic are led by Howard on the offensive and defensive end, as he averages 19.7 points and 15.6 rebounds per game.  He has 12 double-doubles this season, including five 20-point and 20-rebound games.  Orlando has won nine of the last 11 meetings with Boston when playing at home, while going 41-46 all-time in the series during regular-season action.  The franchise is 6-2 inside the Amway Center this year, while going 126-46 inside the venue during its four-plus seasons under current head coach Stan Van Gundy.

Bettors will likely back the Magic due to the home team being 5-0-1 ATS in the last six meetings, while the Celtics are 3-7 ATS as an underdog.

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