The Brooklyn Nets travel to Florida to take on the Orlando Magic in an Eastern Conference game on Friday night. The 28-13 Nets look to build on their six-game winning streak, with action tipping off at 8 p.m. ET.
The Magic have struggled this season and are currently 13-27 and near the bottom of the East standings.
Looking at the NBA odds for this one, Brooklyn is an eight-point favorite. The over/under is set at 223½ points.
Harden in Dominant Form
Brooklyn is tied with the Philadelphia 76ers for the best record in the East, has won six straight, and is 9-1 in its last 10 games. The midseason addition of James Harden has certainly made Brooklyn a favorite to win it all, with the former Houston Rocket fresh off a 40-point triple-double on Wednesday night against the Indiana Pacers.
That game, a 124-115 win, was all Harden, as Kyrie Irving sat out due to a groin injury, and star Kevin Durant has not played since Feb. 13. Harden has lifted his teammates in the absence of Durant, leading the team in assists with 11.5 per game.
On the season, Durant leads the team with 29.0 points per game, though he remains inactive for a few more weeks. In his stead, it’s been Irving pacing the team in scoring at 27.6 points per game.
Joe Harris has been lights-out for this Brooklyn offense, shooting an even 50.0% from 3-point range. After Harden’s 9.1 rebounds per game, center DeAndre Jordan leads the big men with 7.5 a contest.
Brooklyn’s bread and butter has been its offense, tops in the NBA in many major categories, including points per game, effective field goal percentage and offensive efficiency.
While the Nets’ defense comes in in the bottom 10 of the league, they more than make up for it with their dominance on the offensive end. On the season, Brooklyn is 22-19 against the spread and 27-14 against over/unders.
This season has been a disappointment for Orlando, which was coming off a playoff appearance a year ago as the eighth seed in the East. The season quickly derailed with ACL injuries for both starting point guard Markelle Fultz and lengthy defender Jonathan Isaac.
With Orlando currently at 13-27, there isn’t much hope for a turnaround, even in a weak Eastern Conference. The Magic have lost nine straight, getting blown out by these Nets in one of them, 129-92.
Their most recent loss was to the New York Knicks, 94-93. It was a back-and-forth game, with Orlando possessing the ball with a chance to win.
But Evan Fournier turned the ball over in the waning seconds. Despite the turnover, Fournier led the team in scoring, finishing with 23 points.
Nikola Vucevic, named to the All-Star team, leads this team in all three offensive categories with 25.0 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 3.7 assists per game. Fournier has slotted in as a solid supporting role, averaging 18.5 points per game on 45/37/79 shooting.
Orlando struggles on both ends relative to the rest of the league. Their offense is one of the league’s worst, and their defense is a bottom 10 unit.
On the season, the Magic are 19-20-1 against the spread and 18-21 against over/unders.
The obvious pick here is Brooklyn, but the spread is a bit large. The preferred pick here is to bet on the over. Brooklyn’s top offense should easily dictate the action against Orlando’s porous defense.
While the Magic’s offense isn’t a world-beater, Brooklyn’s defense isn’t too strong, and with them scoring in bunches on their possessions, there’s likely a trickle-down that ups the pace and brings more opportunity for the Orlando offense.
When you’re making your NBA betting picks, bet over 223 1/2 Friday night.