Orlando Magic center Wendell Carter Jr. had a career-best night against the Clippers on Saturday, but faces a tough assignment on short rest against Anthony Davis and the Los Angeles Lakers’ stingy defense this Sunday. Our NBA expert picks have more.
The sky is falling in La-La Land as the Los Angeles Lakers tumble down the Western Conference standings and out of the play-in tournament picture after two straight losses.
Los Angeles, which sits in 11th place in the West, is desperate for a win when it hosts the Orlando Magic in a non-conference contest inside Crypto.com Arena tonight.
The Lakers were playing above expectations since swapping out their roster at the trade deadline and even staying afloat with LeBron James injured. However, L.A. has lost three of its last four and is giving six points to the Magic, who are playing their second straight game in Los Angeles after beating the Clippers yesterday.
I break down the spread and Over/Under for the final game on Sunday’s slate and give my best NBA picks and predictions for Magic vs Lakers on March 19.
Magic vs Lakers best odds
Magic vs Lakers picks and predictions
Carter Jr. came up big against the Clippers yesterday, scoring 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting, which included season-highs in field goal attempts as well as 3-pointers made. He’s really peaking in March, with an average of more than 19 points per contest, and has surpassed his points prop total in five of six games this month.
His projected points for tonight’s outing against the Lakers is sitting at 16.5, a bar he’s topped in just three of those previous six outings despite the string of Overs for this player prop. He scored exactly 16 points against Phoenix and San Antonio, respectively, to open this road trip.
The Lakers are a step up in defensive intensity from those previous three foes. Since remaking their roster at the trade deadline, the Purple and Gold have been the best defense in the NBA. They are especially sharp when Davis is in the lineup, giving L.A. elite rim protection and allowing for stingy perimeter defense.
Carter Jr. has been much more active in the offense in recent games, firing up shot totals of 19, 11, 15, and 17 in his last four games – a significant uptick with the 6-foot-10 center averaging 11 field goals on the season. He’s been much more aggressive from beyond the arc in that span as well, shooting a collective 26 long-range looks in his last four outings while hitting nine of those attempts (averages only 3.8 3-point attempts).
Not only will he be hounded by a solid L.A. defense, but he draws the task of slowing down Davis, who has been a monster for the Lakers since LeBron went down. Carter Jr. has been known to get into foul trouble, and could be a step slower on defense in what will be his third road game in four days. Quick fouls could hurt his floor time.
Given the matchup on both ends and the situation spot, I’m fading the Magic’s big man coming off a career night.
Pick: Carter Jr. Under 16.5 points (-115 at PointsBet)
Best NBA bonuses
Looking to do some NBA betting? Here are two of the best bonuses* available:
A) New users at FanDuel can get a deposit bonus 10x the value of their first bet (up to $200)! Sign Up Now
B) Get one no-sweat NBA same-game parlay every day at DraftKings! Opt-in Now
*Eligible USA locations only. Also, check out our full list of best sportsbook promotions for 2023.
21+. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER
Magic vs Lakers spread analysis
Following Orlando’s win over the Clippers on Saturday, oddsmakers opened the Magic between +5.5 and +6 for their second stay in Crypto.com Arena. That spread did climb to as high as Lakers -6.5 as of Sunday afternoon.
Orlando wraps up a four-game Western road trip in L.A. tonight. It opened this swing with losses at San Antonio and Phoenix, but stunned the L.A. Clippers (who were without Kawhi Leonard) on Saturday with a 113-108 win as a 6.5-point road underdog. The Magic erupted for a 39-point fourth quarter after trailing by nine heading into the final frame.
The Lakers are coming off a crushing last-second, one-point loss to Luka-less Dallas on Friday, two days removed from a four-point road defeat to hapless Houston without Davis in action. Los Angeles played an incredibly sloppy game against the Mavericks, with 12 turnovers, 5-for-20 shooting from 3-point range, and a dismal 19-for-31 night at the foul line.
Offense has been the biggest bugaboo for the Lakers during this skid. Outside of a sound shooting night and 123 points in the win over New Orleans on March 14, L.A. has mustered point totals of 108, 110, and 110 in the other three games in this span. Spotty 3-point shooting is one of the main culprits, with L.A. a collective 28-for-100 from distance in those losses.
Orlando could be a team to get right against, considering its current trajectory. The Magic rebounded from a poor start to the season to put themselves in the mix for the Eastern Conference play-in tournament at the All-Star break, but have gone just 3-6 SU and 4-5 ATS this month with the 26th-best defensive rating in March so far (118.5).
Orlando is 20-15-1 ATS on the road, but just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall. Los Angeles was turning out the profits since its roster revamp at the trade deadline, but has failed to cover in three of the last four to drop to 9-6 ATS since Feb. 11.
Magic vs Lakers Over/Under analysis
The Over/Under for Sunday night’s game hit the board at 231 points, and dropped to as low as 229.5. As of Sunday afternoon, the market consensus has settled at 230.5 points.
While the Lakers’ offense has been hot and cold, their defense has been very solid since making those roster moves in mid-February. Los Angeles owns a league-best defensive rating of 109.8 since Feb. 11 while limiting opponents to just under 111 points per contest in those 15 games. That’s produced a 5-10 Over/Under record in that span.
Davis is expected to play against the Magic tonight, which gives the Lakers a rim protector to lean on. That allows the perimeter defenders to play with their heels above the arc and be more aggressive in passing lanes and on the ball, knowing Davis is behind them. That’s helped limit rival shooters to a 32.8% success rate from beyond the arc in the past 15 games.
The Magic don’t pack too much of a punch on offense. They’ve put forth point totals of 114, 113, and 113 during this current road trip, owning an offensive rating of 110.7 in that span – a downtick from their 25th-ranked offense on the season (111.6). Orlando was on pace for less than 100 points before its fourth-quarter eruption against the Clippers last night, shooting just 46% from the field and 6-for-20 from beyond the arc in the first three quarters.
That 113-110 final score against the Clippers snapped a six-game Over run for Orlando games, with the first two stops of this road trip playing Over the total. On the season, the Magic are 15-19-2 O/U as visitors.
Magic vs Lakers betting trend to know
The Lakers are 5-2 ATS in their last seven home games. Find more NBA betting trends for Magic vs. Lakers.
Magic vs Lakers game info
|Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
|Sunday, March 19, 2023
|9:30 p.m. ET