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  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

Dec 15 NBA Play: Betting on the Raptors to Roll On

Toronto Raptors -6.5 vs Orlando Magic

Our computer-based work forecasts a Raptors win by 10-13 points. This call jibes with our intuitive sense that the Magic will likely find themselves unable to muster the offensive fire power needed to cover versus the second-highest scoring team in the league -- even with Center Nikola Vucevic reporting for action.

Orlando's average and median score when travelling is 93. With 26 games in the books this season, the Magic have only notched triple digit scores in the stat log on seven occasions. Unfortunately for Orlando fans, the Raptors are is 10-0 when their opposition fails to score 100 points (in each of their six losses, Toronto has given up in excess of 100).

On the other hand, the Raptors allow, on average, 99.8 points per game (right around the NBA average of 100.1), and a key cog in their defensive machine (Demar DeRozan) is out. However, Toronto has been quite capable of confining low-scoring teams. For evidence of this, look at Friday's and Sunday's games against the Pacers and Knicks, where the Raptors allowed only 94 and 90 points, respectively.

Nikola Vucevic returned to the Magic's lineup Saturday night, and played well, recording 18 points on 9-13 from the field, 11 boards, 1 block and 1 turnover. Vucevic's Real Plus Minus, though, which is an ESPN statistic that endeavors to measure the impact of individual play on team performance, is -0.93. This implies that, in aggregate, the Magic has been more productive absent their big man. This observation is consistent with the fact that the recipients of extra minutes in Vucevic's stead, Power Forwards Channing Frye and Kyle O'Quinn, both sport positive Real Plus Minuses. Thus, we do not see Vucevic's insertion as being likely to turn the outcome.

With all that said, while Orlando is only 10-16 straight-up, the Magic's record of 16-10 against the spread is actually the better than Toronto's (the Raptors are 18-6 in absolute terms and 14-10 ATS). Thus, picking Toronto to cover is not quite a no-brainer (especially considering that in the two prior meetings between these teams this year, the visiting team beat the number both times). Nonetheless, we like the groove Kyle Lowry has settled into since injury forced DeMar DeRozan out of the Raptors' lineup, and we are looking to the dinosaurs to get it done tonight.

Happy betting!!

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