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NBA Playoff Betting Picks – Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:
Apr/19/2019

Was the opening game of this playoff series a fluke or a sign of things to come? The Orlando Magic got a game-winning three-pointer from D.J. Augustin to steal Game 1, only to have the favored Toronto Raptors put a hurt on them with a 29-point Game 2 win.

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But the Magic got what they wanted and return to Florida with homecourt advantage against the No. 2 seed. Now they have to take advantage of the situation they put themselves in, but it won’t be easy against an inspired Raps team that was embarrassed in Game 1.

Toronto Raptors at Orlando Magic

Date and Time: Friday, April 19, 2019, 7 p.m. ET

Location: Amway Center, Orlando, FL

Opening NBA Odds: Toronto -4.5, O/U 210

Raptors at Magic TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

Toronto’s odds of winning the series dropped slightly after losing the opener, but the Raptors remain a solid pick to advance to the Eastern Conference semis. That’s because they won 58 games, the second-highest season total in franchise history, and cleared the Magic by 16 games in the regular season standings. That doesn’t guarantee a win, but the bottom line is that the Raptors are a better club and they were delivered a jolt in the Game 1 setback. And playing on the road shouldn’t be a problem for them. Toronto had the second-most road victories in the NBA during the season.

Six games total this season against the second-best team in the Association and the Magic have an even split. Orlando will look at its Dec. 28 win over the Raps as a reason to be optimistic heading into Friday’s Game 3. On that night, the Magic played one of their better games of the season, beating the Raps, 116-87, at Amway Center. And they closed the year on a nice run at home winning nine straight and 13 of 14 while going 11-3 against the spread. But, as we all know, things are a bit different come playoff time.

Raptors

As deep as the Raptors are they still need Kyle Lowry to perform while he’s on the floor. That didn’t happen in Game 1 when Lowry missed all seven of his field goal attempts, including six from behind the arc, and two free throws to go scoreless. Despite getting zero points from a guy who averaged over 14 per game during the season, the Raps were a late three-pointer away from possibly getting a victory. Lowry would make sure the same thing didn’t happen on Tuesday.

Getting back in the saddle, Lowry dropped 22 in a Game 2 win, upping his series average to 11 points per game. More importantly, the Raptors avoided a home sweep in the first two games with a convincing win where they led by as many as 34 points. Lowry got assistance from Kawhi Leonard, who tallied 37 points, but it was Toronto’s defense that helped even the series, holding the Magic to 37 percent shooting and making the game difficult for Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic.

Magic

The Magic were really good on their home floor in the final stretch of the regular season, winning their final nine games to vault into the playoffs for the first time in seven years. They stole homecourt advantage with a Game 1 win and will seek to put the pressure on the favored Raptors. And in order to do that they must get Vucevic back on track.

Orlando’s leading scorer averaged 20.8 points per game during the regular year and notched 30 points and 19 rebounds in that Dec. 28 victory. In the first two games of this series, Vucevic has a total of 17 points while shooting 6 of 21 from the field. In two regular season wins over the Raps, Vucevic averaged 26.5 points. In three losses, including Game 2 when he scored just six points, Vucevic is averaging 11 points per game. The defense from Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka has been stifling and stopping Vucevic is a point of emphasis. For the Magic to come away with a win, Vucevic will have to figure out a new approach.

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Leonard was brought in to help cure past postseason ills and his performance in Game 2 was vintage Kawhi. The 37 points stood out, but Leonard’s defense helped spark the rout with his mates following his lead. The Raptors know they are the better team and they bounced back to show it. Getting Lowry in the scoring column helped and his Game 2 should be a confidence boost. Toronto was one of the better road teams during the regular season and they need a victory to wrest homecourt. And I like them to do that on Friday, covering the 4.5-point line.

NBA Playoff Score Prediction: Raptors 111, Magic 102

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