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The Orlando Magic have had their fair share of struggles finding consistency this season that has seen them fall below the .500 mark. The Magic are coming off edging the Golden State Warriors.
Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards have continued to tread water the further along it has moved into the season. The Wizards are heading into the contest after a blowout loss against the L.A. Clippers.
Tuesday's contest presents an opportunity for both teams to get back on track from their early-season woes.
Magic hoping to break through early-season strugglesComing off their first playoff berth in nearly a decade, the Magic have stumbled out of the gate to the season, quickly falling below the .500 mark. It has seen them struggle to get any significant traction on the court, with the same problems that have plagued them over the last several years. Orlando has had their issues offensively averaging just 101.0 points per contest while shooting only 42.3 percent from the floor. That has contributed greatly to their sluggish start as they have been unable to push forward with their young core group that has several promising players in the mix. It also hasn't helped their cause that big man Nikola Vucevic, who is dealing with an ankle injury that limited him to play in just 11 minutes against the Toronto Raptors.
🔸Tied the career-high! 🔸 pic.twitter.com/sEtBSExq0a— Orlando Magic (@OrlandoMagic) December 2, 2019
Vucevic has been the driving factor offensively for the Magic over a couple of years, but it has been the lack of offensive production around him that has limited the team's success. However, Orlando has been able to bank on their play defensively, ranking as one of the tops in the league giving up just 101.9 points per contest. That should come into play against the Wizards, who have had their issues as of late that could see them struggle to keep pace against Magic's stout defense. Given that they could likely be without Vucevic for the contest, it puts more pressure on them to step it up defensively against one of the worst teams in the league.
Wizards plagued by defensive woesHeading into the season, there was plenty of expectations that it would be a tough campaign for the Wizards given that they would be without the services of All-Star point guard John Wall for likely the entire year. Things have played exactly in that manner as the team has struggled to gather any sort of significant footing as the season has worn on. That has certainly been the case for them over the last five games, with four losses over that span all coming in convincing fashion. Their biggest problem this season has been their lackluster play defensively, ranking as one of the worst teams in the NBA giving up 122.7 points per contest.
In their last four losses, the Wizards have allowed north of 110 points in each contest and more than 120 points twice. All of those issues came to a head on Sunday night by allowing 150 points to the Clippers in a completely one-sided affair. It saw L.A. shoot 55.3 percent from the floor, 43.8 percent from beyond the arc, and hold a 66-46 advantage in points in the paint. Yes, All-Star guard Bradley Beal has been their driving force offensively averaging 28.0 points and 7.3 assists, but unless the Wizards pick it up defensively, it's going to be an extremely long season for them that could see plenty more downs than ups. That trend could certainly continue against the Magic on Tuesday night.
The top supporting trends for this game, found on Covers.com, are:
- Washington is 1-4 ATS in their last five after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Washington is 0-6 ATS in their last six Tuesday games.
- Washington is 0-4 ATS in their last four games playing on one day's rest.
- Orlando is 6-2 ATS in their last eight road games against a team with a losing home record.
- Orlando are 6-3 ATS in their last nine games against an opponent in the Southeast division.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Yes, this line is obviously significantly impacted by the potential absence of Vucevic for the Magic, but it's simply too hard to trust the Wizards at this point. They have been an absolutely atrocious team defensively over the last week entering the contest after giving up 120-points in each of the previous two games. The Magic may be at a disadvantage offensively, but they are the far more superior team defensively, which should see them have their way on that end of the floor that dictates the flow of the game. It will be a close contest, but one that sees the Magic grab their second straight win.
Prediction: Orlando +1.5
Full-Game Total Pick
At that same token, the Magic's defense will have enough of an impact to limit the Wizards' offense that is averaging 118.8 points per contest. Orlando will be able to hone on that end of the floor to make it a lower-scoring affair more suitable to their offense that will be without Vucevic in the mix. The Wizards may be one of the worst defensive teams in the league, and that would typically push things toward it being a higher-scoring affair. Still, the Magic have struggled to provide that type of production even with Vucevic in the mix. In essence, expect it to be more of a defensive battle.
Prediction: Under 227.5