NBA Tips & Preview – Pistons @ Magic

The daily preview it to the rim with NBA tips for the only game on today’s docket – a clash between East also-rans Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons. 

10:00 (AEDT), Fri 18th Mar @ Amway Center, Orlando

History: Played 137: Pistons 79 V Magic 58

Last meeting: January 28, 2022: Magic 119 d Pistons 103 at Amway Center

Final Thoughts: This low-interest fixture, the only game on the NBA schedule, could have a bearing on who finishes last in the Eastern Conference – and potentially which team ends up with the league’s worst record.

The 18-51 Detroit Pistons head south to take on the bottom-placed, 18-52 Orlando Magic. Both teams have produced heartening patches over the past month but come in off multiple losses.

The Pistons went on a 6-2 run around the All-Star break, picking up the handy scalps of the Celtics, Cavaliers, Hornets and Raptors. But they are currently on a four-game losing streak – albeit going down to the Bulls, Celtics, Clippers and Heat by single-digit margins.

No.1 Draft pick Cade Cunningham has been in strong recent form and averages 16.9 points, 5.9 rebounds and 5.3 assists in his rookie season. Jerami Grant is putting up a team-high 19.0 points per game but has been ruled out, while Cunningham and Rodney McGruder are questionable.

The Magic surged out of the break with five wins in eight games – beating teams with winning records in the Raptors and Timberwolves – before losing their last two: an OT loss to the hotshot 76ers and a less-respectable 150-108 defeat to the Nets.

Wendell Carter Jr., Cole Anthony, Jalen Suggs, Franz Wagner and in-form big man Mo Samba – all 23 or young – form an impressive future core in Orlando. But Suggs is out, Carter and Chumba Okeke are questionable, and Bol Bol and Jonathan Isaac won’t return this season.

The season series has favoured the home team so far. The Pistons won 110-103 and 97-92 in Detroit, while the Magic powered to a 119-103 victory in Orlando with bench trio Terrence Ross, Chuma Okeke and Gary Harris contributing 48 points.

The Magic are 8-25 at home (12-21 ATS), losing four of their last six at Amway Center. The Pistons are 7-28 on the road (17-17-1 ATS) but have split their last six away games.

Both teams are near-identically poor at both ends of the floor, ranking bottom-four offensively and bottom-10 defensively. With injuries affecting both teams the result is something of a lottery, but the Pistons with a free bucket and the under look the best value here.

Best Bet: Handicap – Pistons +3.5 @ $1.90

Same Game Multi: Handicap – Pistons +3.5; Total – Under 219 @ $3.31