Lakers vs Magic – NBA Pick for January 31st

by Kevin Roberts
on January 31, 2018
All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from at 10:30 am CT on 1/31/2018. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

Trusting in the Cleveland Cavaliers hasn’t been easy lately. Despite having a prime opportunity to take down the Detroit Pistons without two key bodies, the Cavs blew it on Tuesday night and handed me a loss.

I can partially blame that on a Kevin Love hand injury happening just four minutes into the game, but this was pathetic no matter how you shake it.

The defeat dropped my season NBA picks record to 45-31-2 and snapped a two-game winning streak in the process.

Fortunately, Wednesday allows for me and all other bettors to turn things back around, as a hefty eight-game NBA betting slate hits the schedule. The lines have been pretty fun lately and that doesn’t stop tonight, with just one game opening with a point spread worse than -6.5.

This shapes up as a pretty competitive slate, so why not target the tightest game on the board? The Los Angeles Lakers head to the Amway Center tonight to face the Orlando Magic, in a game that opened with the Lake Show being favored by just one point originally.

The Lakers have since moved to mild -2-point favorites (-110) and will try to build on an impressive stretch (7 wins in their last 10 contests). The Magic, meanwhile, will be looking to snap a three-game skid as they try to nab just their ninth home win on the season.

Los Angeles Lakers (-2, -110)
Orlando Magic (+2, -110)
Total: 216.5

This is a somewhat ambitious (and dangerous) Total given the inconsistency of both of these teams. The Lakers are undeniably a little tough to trust, as they sport a gross 7-16 road record.

Then again, the Lakers have been playing terrific ball lately and are a respectable 4-3 against the spread when favored by the top sports betting sites. They’re still without star rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, but they’re otherwise completely healthy and are getting a fantastic effort from Jordan Clarkson.

The Lakers aren’t a bad bet here, especially when you note that Orlando has been one of the worst teams in the league and haven’t even been able to find consistent success on their home floor. Throw in the likely absence of versatile forward Aaron Gordon, and Orlando is going to be a tough sell.

Los Angeles pushes the pace (tops in the NBA) and actually defends fairly well, considering. Orlando can play fast, too (7th in pace), but rank 27th in defensive efficiency. That’s not a good combination against a red-hot team looking at an advantageous spot.

Bettors could also just say this thing is a wash. Vegas certainly seems to be leaning toward that, as both teams are down a key, versatile starter. I think the loss of Gordon is bigger, though, especially since Orlando has also been dealing with a huge hole at center with Nikola Vucevic missing a large portion of the season.

In theory, the Lakers should be able to dictate the pace in this game, they have proven to defend better and they have a few more weapons to expose Orlando’s leaky defense.

Orlando doesn’t feel like a huge threat against the spread, either. They’re just 21-27-1 overall ATS on the year and they’re also just 6-7 ATS when underdogs at the Amway Center.

Ultimately, I just don’t trust the Magic. They’ve lost three in a row and eight of their last 10, they don’t consistently win at home and they’re slated to be down two key starts. The Lakers aren’t a reliable bet on the road usually, but this isn’t their typical circumstance.

I like the spread here, as it’s a virtual pick’em and you’re getting solid value back at -110 at and other sites. Take the points with L.A. and don’t look back.

Pick: Los Angeles Lakers
-2 (-110)

$100 Stake Wins......

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