NBA Best Bets: Do You Believe in Magic?

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Prior to NFL Conference Championship Sunday, one of the best days on the sports betting calendar, there are eleven games on the NBA schedule on Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020. Featured in our best bets below, we preview and predict three contests with a focus on Orlando visiting Golden State, Houston hosting Los Angeles, plus Sacramento on the road in Utah.

Orlando Magic at Golden State Warriors

Spread: Magic -5.5 (-110) | Warriors +5.5 (-110)

Moneyline: Magic -240 | Warriors +200

Total Points: 211.5 O/U (-110)

Game Details: 8:30 p.m. ET - Chase Center in San Francisco, CA

Orlando Overall: 20-22 SU | 20-20-2 ATS | Second Southeast Division

Playing the fifth game of a six-game road trip, Orlando is in California for a fourth straight contest. The Magic opened its West Coast swing with a 98-94 loss in Phoenix prior to posting a pair of wins over the Kings (114-112) and Lakers (119-118). Playing on back-to-back nights, Orlando was crushed 122-95 by the Clippers on Thursday and fell to 7-14 SU and 11-9-1 ATS overall on the road. A trend worth noting, the Magic have posted a win after the last three losses.

Golden State Overall: 9-34 SU | 20-22-1 ATS | Fifth Pacific Division

Ravaged by injuries, Golden State is a shell of the squad that won three of the last five NBA championships. Following a 134-131 OT loss at home to Denver on Thursday, the Warriors have lost 10 straight games for the first time since March 2002. Prior to battling hard versus the Nuggets, Golden State lost 124-97 to Dallas at home and 122-102 in Memphis. Already without Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Draymond Green (finger) will miss this contest.

Magic vs. Warriors Final Thoughts and Prediction

Drastically different at each end of the court, Orlando leads the league in allowing 104.3 PPG on defense but sit second to last in scoring at 103.9 PPG on offense. Golden State isn’t much better on offense, scoring 105.1 PPG, but the Warriors sit in the bottom 10, giving up 113.7 PPG on defense. This is the second and final meeting after the Magic won 100-96 at home back on Dec. 1. Orlando also won 103-96 at home last February after losing 11 straight to Golden State.

Orlando is second in the Southeast, nine games behind Miami, and seventh overall in the Eastern Conference. Golden State will miss the postseason for the first time since the 2012 season as the Warriors are 25 games behind the Lakers in the Pacific and 11.5 games out of the final Western Conference playoff spot. It is somewhat ironic that the Dubs are with Atlanta (9-32) and New York (11-31) in the race for 14% of the ping-pong balls during the 2020 NBA draft lottery.

Pick: Orlando -5.5

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets

Spread: Rockets -2 (-110) | Lakers +2 (-110)

Moneyline: Rockets -135 | Lakers +115

Total Points: 232 O/U (-110)

Game Details: 8:30 p.m. ET - Toyota Center in Houston, TX

Los Angeles Overall: 33-8 SU | 22-18-1 ATS | First Pacific Division

Rolling along, winners of nine straight contests, Los Angeles hit a bump in the road as the Lakers lost 119-118 at home to Orlando on Wednesday. Prior to that, Los Angeles posted four wins, each by least 15 points, without second-leading scorer Anthony Davis, who is questionable here. Filling in for Davis, third-year forward Kyle Kuzma averaged 31 points in the first two contests but he has cooled of considerably, averaging just 7.5 points during the last two games.

Houston Overall: 26-14 SU | 19-21 ATS | First Southwest Division

In a heated battle with Lone Star State rival Dallas, the Rockets and Mavericks are tied for first in the Southwest division. Houston looks to snap a two-game losing steak after getting worked over 121-110 in Memphis on Tuesday and falling 117-110 at home to Portland on Wednesday. James Harden was held to a season-low 13 points (36 minutes) during the loss to the Trail Blazers. Look for a bounce back as Harden rarely posts back-to-back low-scoring games.

Lakers vs. Rockets Final Thoughts and Prediction

Los Angeles and Houston meet for the first of three contests this season. Keeping in mind that the Lakers are vastly improved this year; the Rockets have won five of the last six contests. Los Angeles won the last meeting 111-106 at home in February last season. Houston is second overall in scoring, averaging 118.7 PPG, but bottom seven in allowing 114.0 PPG. Los Angeles is sixth in scoring at 114.0 PPG on offense and third overall in allowing 105.4 PPG on defense.

Houston is 14-5 SU and 10-9 ATS at home while Los Angeles is 17-3 SU but just 11-9 ATS as visitors this season. LeBron James is averaging 25.4 points, 7.7 rebounds and 10.9 assists per game for the Lakers while Harden leads the Rockets averaging 37.2 points per game to go along with 6.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists. Apart from a four-game losing streak in mid-December, Los Angeles hasn’t lost two in a row this season. Take the moneyline and back the Lakers.

Pick: Lakers +115 ML

Sacramento Kings at Utah Jazz

Spread: Jazz -9 (-110) | Kings +9 (-110)

Moneyline: Jazz -450 | Kings +350

Total Points: 222.5 O/U (-110)

Details: 9:00 p.m. ET - Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, UT

Sacramento Overall: 15-26 SU | 20-20-1 ATS | Fourth Pacific Division

One has to feel for Sacramento fans, as the Kings are heading toward a 14th straight losing season. In the midst of a dismal slide, the Kings are 3-12 over the last 15 contests. Sacramento begins a five-game road trip after dropping three straight at home to Milwaukee (127-106) and Orlando (114-112) plus a 127-123 loss to Dallas in its last contest on Wednesday. The Kings are 7-13 SU as visitors this season but the numbers reverse to 13-7 against the spread.

Utah Overall: 28-13 SU | 21-19-1 ATS | Second Northwest Division

Utah is running red-hot, winning 15 of the last 17 games, and trail Denver by just one game in the Northwest division. While the recent run has been impressive, considering eight wins were on the road, it’s worth noting that 14 of the victories were against teams with a losing record. The Jazz were riding a 10-game winning streak prior to a 138-132 overtime loss in New Orleans during their last match on Thursday. Utah is 15-3 SU and 10-8 ATS at home this season.

Kings vs. Jazz Final Thoughts and Prediction

While they have near opposite records, these teams are similar on paper as Utah is allowing 106.6 PPG on defense while Sacramento allows 109.6 PPG. The difference is even less on offense, as the Jazz are scoring 110.2 PPG while the Kings average 108.8 PPG. Worth mild consideration, since the spread is 9 points here, Sacramento has played 28 games that were decided by nine points or fewer, and the Kings have lost by 10 or more points just eight times.

Utah counters those numbers, though, as seven of its last nine victories were by 11 points or more. That includes lopsided wins over Detroit (104-81), New York (128-104) and Charlotte (109-92) during the last three home games. The Kings have similar numbers to what the Pistons, Knicks and Hornets have posted. After losing to the 76ers and Lakers, in early December, Utah is looking to avoid losing two straight for the first time over the last 21 games.

Pick: Utah -9
NBA Season Record: 9-11-1