NBA Predictions: Orlando Magic vs. Sacramento Kings

Orlando Magic at Sacramento Kings
Sunday, 1/8/12, 6:00 PM EST, TV:  SUN
Opening Point Spread:  Orlando -6.5
Current Betting Line:  Orlando -6
Opening Total:  189.5
Current Total:  193.5
Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker

The Orlando Magic are led by center Dwight Howard in scoring and rebounding

Orlando has alternated wins and losses over its last four games, coming off a 97-83 loss to the Chicago Bulls as one-point home favorites.  The Magic have gone ‘under’ the total in seven of eight games to start the 2011-12 campaign.  Head coach Stan Van Gundy is definitely concerned about his team’s performance in dropping its only two games against playoff teams from last season.  “Quite simply we’re not at that level,” he commented this week.  “That’s just the way it is.”  Orlando is 6-7 ATS as a road favorite of 6.5 to 9 points the last two-plus seasons.

The Magic are still being led by the play of center Dwight Howard, who is averaging 20.3 points and 15.9 rebounds per game.  He has led the team or tied in scoring three times and rebounding eight times.  Orlando is 22-23 all-time against Sacrament during the regular season, winning six of the last seven matchups.  Last season, the team tallied a solid 23-18 mark on the road, finishing above .500 away from the Amway Center for the fourth consecutive year.

Sacramento has moved on from the Paul Westphal era and captured a surprising 103-100 win over the Milwaukee Bucks, coming back from a 21-point halftime deficit.  “We just felt free out there,” stated Kings center DeMarcus Cousins, who didn’t seem to click with his former coach.  The team has yet to win consecutive games this year and will be looking to win at home in this particular series for the first time since Jan. 8, 2008.  Nine of the team’s first 10 games will be played against opponents that made the playoffs a year ago.  Sacramento is 6-14 ATS versus Southeast division teams the past two-plus campaigns.

The Kings have been shooting much better from the free-throw line the past four games, hitting 80 percent or better during that span.  Sacramento will be looking to win three straight inside the Power Balance Pavilion for the first time since December 2009.  Marcus Thornton poured in a season-high tying 27 points last time out and has averaged 20.7 points in three career matchups with Sunday’s opponent.  Guard Tyreke Evans is another player to watch, registering 53 combined points in his last two games at home.

Bettors will likely back the Magic due to their 24-9-1 ATS mark following a double-digit loss, while the Kings are 8-20-1 ATS when playing on two days rest.

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