NBA Odds: Orlando Magic at Miami Heat

Erik Spoelstra and the Heat are likely to miss the postseason this year.
Erik Spoelstra and the Heat are likely to miss the postseason this year.

Orlando Magic at Miami Heat
Time: 7:35 PM ET
Spread: MIA -7
Total: 196

Betting odds c/o Bovada

The Orlando Magic have been trying to play spoiler as this season winds down. Orlando knocked off Milwaukee, Minnesota and Chicago before falling in a horribly played game to the New York Knicks, which featured both teams combining for just 15 points in one quarter.

The Magic will try to right the ship on the road in Miami though NBA oddsmakers favor the Miami Heat by 7-points in live NBA lines. The total is set at 196, and for an explanation on how to bet these odds see our NBA odds explained.

The Heat are not going to make the postseason this year thanks to a meltdown following losing Chris Bosh for the year. Miami is 35-45 and trails No. 8 Brooklyn by two games, essentially needing a perfect storm of Boston, Brooklyn and Indiana collapses; it won’t happen. The Heat have won just three of its past 10 games and are under .500 at home this year at 19-21.

To see the lowly Magic come in motivated to have one more statement game against an in-state rival is not inconceivable. Magic 2-guard Victor Oladipo has relished his competition with Heat shooting guard Dwyane Wade. The two sport comparable playing styles and have built a good friendly rivalry between them.

Oladipo has made major strides for the Magic in his sophomore season. He hit the go-ahead bucket against the Chicago Bulls and the Magic won 105-103 over a Bulls team it has matched up well with this season. At Oladipo’s best, the Magic are a very competitive team. He had 23 points in the win over the Bulls and led the all scorers with 21 points in the 80-79 futility fest against the Knicks.

The former Indiana Hoosier is posting a 16.0 PER while averaging 18.5 points, 4.8 assists and 4.7 rebounds over his past 10 games. His shooting percentage over that span is under 40, however, and he is shooting just 43.6 percent on the season. Even with his three-point shot having improved, he is still a passable 33.8 percent. Oladipo will need to further hone his shot to give the Magic better spot up options.

Orlando ranks 3rd to last in threes made, and acquiring a shooter may be imperative for the Magic either in the draft or in free agency. The thought originally was that Ben Gordon and Channing Frye would supply the court spacing, but neither has proven to be an effective option for the Magic this season. Compounding the lack of shooting has been confused offensive schemes, which often render point guard Elfrid Payton trying to make something out of nothing.

Since Mar 4, Payton has led the NBA in assists per game at over nine per contest, but he’s part of the shooting problem, too. Payton is very Rondo-esque right now, but if he can put in the work to obtain a passable jumpshot, the Magic will be more dangerous still. He’s adept at working the ball through traffic and has a nice “shot put” floater in the paint.

Payton also has an array of head fakes and ball fakes that lose defenders out of their shoes, so if he can combine that with some nice finishing moves, his ascent to being one of the league’s top floor generals will be on its way.  He is a contender for the Rookie of the Year award, though Andrew Wiggins remains the heavy favorite for the honor.

The Magic will have to make decisions with Tobias Harris this summer. Harris will be a restricted free agent, but Rob Hennigan already said he plans to match all offers for the swingman from Tennessee. Harris is about an average defender, and if he sticks the Magic will need to add Stanley Johnson in the draft to bring in another perimeter defender since it doesn’t look as though Maurice Harkless is going to get it any time real soon.

On the interior, the Magic cannot protect the rim, and for all Nikola Vucevic is, he renders the team weak in the paint defensively. Some of that has been displaced by Dewayne Dedmon emerging as a major shot blocker and ball defender, but Dedmon offers almost nothing offensively and Andrew Nicholson behind him can’t cover power forwards well at all. The Magic are a team in need of a serious roster overhaul, but for the time being will keep its attention in this season and defeating tonight’s opponent.

The Heat are 10 games better than Orlando, but if not for Chris Bosh would have had been dark horse contenders in the East. For the Magic to take a step to that level, it will require a major addition.

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