On Christmas night, the Orlando Magic and the Oklahoma City Thunder will kick off their NBA betting campaigns when they take on one another in the Sooner State.
The Magic have their work cut out for them this year trying to convince Dwight Howard that he should stay in Orlando after this season. “Superman” didn’t have the greatest exhibition season in the world this year, and he really doesn’t look anything like the man that has been one of the most dominating players in the league for years. This is going to be the first game for Glen Davis on the Orlando roster, and he really has to step it up in his new role with the Magic. Especially if Howard is traded, Big Baby could be asked to be the face of the franchise for awhile, something that he was never really asked to do with all of the star power on the Boston Celtics. Hedo Turkoglu, Jason Richardson, and Jameer Nelson are going to round out the starting five for this team this year, at least at the start of the season. By the time the trade deadline rolls around, Nelson might be the only player left on the team that played for the NBA championship just three seasons ago, and he is going to have to really do a big time job keeping this team together should another set of massive trades happen.
The Thunder are coming into this season healthy, and they are looking to make the next step to become a legitimate NBA title contender. Kendrick Perkins is healthy and is looking to make a huge difference for his team now that he has had an offseason to try to bring this young squad together. Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are big time scorers and are motivated to keep this team on the winning track, and Serge Ibaka emerged as one of the best all around players on the team last season, accounting for some timely big time games offensively and a tremendous level of defensive intensity, especially after Perkins got back in the lineup. Last year, this was a team that just didn’t do anything to hurt itself. It took care of the basketball in spite of its up and down tempo, and it did a great job at the charity stripe, knocking down 82.4 percent of its attempts. If that keeps up, there is no doubt that this team is going to not just prove to be the best team in this game, but one of the best teams in the conference and in all of basketball as well.
Orlando Magic @ Oklahoma City Thunder Trends: The Magic, who just don’t feel like they are in good shape this year, are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine games against Northwest Division foes. They are also just 3-9 ATS in their last 12 on the road and 7-19 ATS in their last 26 games overall. The home team has won and covered four in a row in this series, and the Magic haven’t won a game here at the Ford Center since November 2008.
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.