The Orlando Magic convincingly defeated the Milwaukee Bucks 122-110 earlier this week, and the East's top seed really needs to recover fast in Game 2 on Thursday.
Perhaps it was Milwaukee's status as a double-digit favorite that caused the squad to come out flat. Whatever the case may be, this is where soon-to-be back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo needs to lift the Bucks' spirits and get their championship quest back on track.
Read on for abe Insights' Magic-Bucks betting preview, highlighted by analysis of the primary lines, listings of the best odds at the time of publishing, advanced stats and more for this pivotal contest.
Date: Thursday, August 20
Time: 6 p.m. ET
Implied Probabilities: Magic 12%; Bucks 90%
Spread: MIL -13
Moneyline: ORL +750; MIL -909
Aaron Gordon is probably the face of the Magic franchise if there is one, yet he didn't even suit up for Game 1. With his athleticism, ability to guard any position on the floor and continually improving offensive arsenal, Gordon could give Orlando a different energy if he's active
Lengthy point guard Michael Carter-Williams also missed Tuesday's win. His perimeter defense would be key against Milwaukee. The Magic also lost Jonathan Isaac to a torn ACL during the final eight-game stretch, so it's all the more impressive they're ahead at this point with so many key players out.
11.2 vs. 11.3: Orlando edged out Milwaukee during the 2019-20 campaign for the NBA lead in fewest second-chance points allowed per game. It's not as if the Bucks can count on Giannis to bail them out after bad shots. It'll take quality looks to beat the Magic.
46.5 vs. 41.4: Whereas the underdogs ranked around the middle of the pack in opponents' field goal percentage this season, which is the first number, Milwaukee's latter figure was tops in the NBA. Game 1 saw the Bucks yield a shooting clip of 49.4%.
105.51 vs. 98.99: Milwaukee led the Association in PACE, or average number of possessions per contest. That second number is Orlando's total, which was in the league's bottom-five, yet the Magic showed in the opener they aren't afraid to run with the Deer.
Well, here we are again: the Bucks are massive favorites before tip-off, and no one is even giving Orlando a hint of a chance to pull the upset. But bear in mind, the Disney World Magic have had spurts of absolutely mind-boggling, inexplicably awesome play since the bubble began.
Granted, this was with MCW, Gordon and Isaac in action, but remember Orlando's first two contests back? Coach Steve Clifford's bunch averaged 130 points against a Nets squad that was better than expected, and the Kings, who were fighting for their playoff lives.
The Magic's other bubble losses? By 11 to Indiana as T.J. Warren's reign of terror began, without Isaac and with MCW playing only eight minutes. Then, by 10 to reigning champion Toronto, a closer call against Philly, an overtime defeat against the Celtics and a stumble in a revenge game for Brooklyn.
All told, not bad. Clifford has the Magic believing anything is possible, and after what we saw in Game 1, there's reason to continue thinking this Disney fairy tale could become an historic chapter in NBA playoff history. Veteran center Nikola Vucevic led the victorious charge with 35 points on 15-of-24 shooting, including five 3-pointers.
Then again, Milwaukee has its own living legend in the Greek Freak. This is less about how Giannis fares, though, because it's expected he will dominate. It's about his teammates, namely fellow All-Star Khris Middleton and any other third scorer who wants to step up against a fairly stout Orlando D.
The odds tell us the Magic have a next-to-nothing chance, but because they're such a long shot and offer a rewarding payout, look for wagers to favor Orlando's moneyline.
Even the spread is astronomically high, and unless the Deer really rally and flex their elite defense to trigger cold shooting from the Magic, it'll be a stretch to win by that many points. Garbage time can always lead to a back-door cover, too, so don't be surprised if slightly more action goes on the Magic spread.
As for the points total, the pace was brisk in Game 1, leading to a combined total of 232. However, it'd be quite an accomplishment if Orlando were so proficient again, so look for bets to favor the Under.
Note: Odds current as of 9:50 a.m. ET on Thursday, August 20.
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