Magic vs. Lakers Odds
|Moneyline||+200 / -250|
|Time||Sunday, 10 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds as of Sunday morning and via BetMGM|
Off the backs of a much-needed win, the shorthanded Lakers look to build a winning streak against what’s left of the Magic after a fire sale at the trade deadline last week.
With its top three players gone, Orlando will debut some new faces in the lineup for this one in hopes of shocking Los Angeles, which has really struggled since losing its top players to injury. With uncommon lineups on both sides, is there value in taking the underdog here? Let’s dig into the matchup and see.
Normally, we’d run through recent play in this section, letting you know the triumphs and struggles of a given team over the past 10 games and breaking down how it matches up with its opponent.
Well, that’s impossible in this case. The Magic just traded away what might as well have been their entire team, dealing Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier and Nikola Vucevic. In fact, the Magic traded five of their 10-most frequent starters at the deadline, while two of the other 10 remain out. What they got in return from all those trades will be on display Sunday, and a truly different lineup will hit the court.
Wendell Carter Jr. and Otto Porter Jr. will presumably start in their Magic debuts, while rookie R.J. Hampton will also mix into the rotation in some capacity. What’s left of the old Magic core may not even see the floor
Terrence Ross, who’d tweeted out that he’s the “captain” now in wake of all the trades, is listed as questionable on Sunday with knee soreness, which kept him out of Friday’s game. If he’s unable to go, there’s no telling how the tanking Magic will attempt to score the ball here.
To help you visualize what this Magic team looks like now: Their starters will likely be Michael Carter-Williams, Porter, Chuma Okeke and Carter. After that, it’s either Terrence Ross or Dwayne Bacon at shooting guard, depending on the injury, with James Ennis III, Hampton and Khem Birch playing big roles off the bench.
While that actually doesn’t sound that bad, it could still be disastrous. Orlando’s not going to be ready to show off the final piece it acquired at the deadline in Gary Harris, while several key contributors like Cole Anthony remain out. The starters aren’t exactly exciting, and the entire bench will be thrust into action with red all over the injury report.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers are also a mess of their own, though that’s due to external factors. LeBron James and Anthony Davis remain out with injuries, leaving Los Angeles looking for answers on both sides of the ball. The Lakers slipped into a four-game slump, losing to Atlanta, Phoenix, New Orleans and Philly — failing to cover in all those games — before finally picking up a win last time out against the lowly Cavaliers. Now, the Lakers will try to build some momentum against another bad team.
Los Angeles comes in as the heaviest favorite its been since losing its two stars, a number that is hardly of its own doing. Since losing LeBron four games ago, the Lakers have been the second-worst offensive team in the NBA with an efficiency rating of just 100 and a true shooting percentage of just 53.8%. Their leader by default has been Montrezl Harrell, who’s gone for 20 or more points in seven of his last 10 games. Markieff Morris has also stepped up to replace James in the frontcourt, going for two double-digit scoring nights.
Defensively, though, the Lakers have buckled down. The league’s top unit has stayed strong, allowing just 106.4 points per 100 possessions over the last four. That’s what happens when you’re leaning on Harrell and Morris in the frontcourt and have established a good defensive culture.
It’s worth noting here that the Lakers are just 11-14 against the spread at home, though really none of their ATS splits look all that good considering they’ve been such heavy favorites all season long.
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The Lakers’ aforementioned issues against the spread have made them a prime fade all season long, particularly when favored by this much. Now, while the Magic are a mess, L.A. is going to be asked to cover a gaudy spread without really any semblance of an offense.
Much of this is going to predicate on the status of Ross here. If he plays, I do think the Magic will have enough options on offense to piece together a competitive game, and on the other side of the ball, I’m not too worried about Orlando getting torched by the Lakers’ lackluster offense. Carter and Porter should be more than up to the task of battling Harrell and Morris as pretty solid players on both ends of the floor. Carter, in particular, is physical enough to give Harrell a real fight.
All that said, I’m going to wait until receiving word on Ross before locking in the Magic. This is far too many points to be laying with Los Angeles.
Pick: Magic +7 (-110)