The Orlando Magic are, by all appearances, officially moving backwards in their rebuild. That's difficult news for basketball bettors who were hoping they could turn into consistent plays for the first time since Dwight Howard left. It's even worse news for those who bought into the early season hype, seeing the Magic flirt with playoff contention and fielding a first rate defense, only to plunge down the Eastern Conference's standings, essentially without warning. Trading Tobias Harris confirmed that the Magic were just as disappointed as everyone else.
That's something to carry with you when hitting the sportsbooks. Yes, the Magic can be stingy defensively. And sure, they have a number of promising prospects in Mario Hezonja, Aaron Gordon, Elfrid Payton, Victor Oladipo and Evan Fournier.
But that's not enough. That mismash of prospects has to turn into something. It needs to forge an identity on one side of the floor before this team can compete, and most definitely before you start investing in Magic game or future plays.
Who Do The Orlando Magic Play Next
Take a look at the Magic's next opponent. The included moneylines, spreads, overs and unders should help you decide which way to bet. If you don't know right off the bat, consider exploring the matchup further by comparing Orlando's roster against that of its opponent.
Peruse the Magic's entire schedule at your leisure. Take stock of upcoming tilts on their docket and see if you can pluck out games that you deem worthy of your betting purse.
You won't have the comfort of lines to guide you, but if you know both teams enough, you can certainly formulate a betting baseline, deciding in advance what types of wagers you're willing and able to make.
This schedule is exceptionally useful when it comes to looking back.
Find out how the Magic previously fared against an upcoming opponent, and you'll arm yourself with enough information to get ahead of, or perhaps completely dominate, the betting lines for that game in question.
Orlando Magic Standings Today
Monitor the Magic's place in the Eastern Conference's standings here. This is of minimial use for playoff bettors, as Orlando is well outside the East's postseason bubble.
But if you're looking to keep tabs on the Magic's lottery odds, or just hoping to glance at the records of their opponents, this can still be an invaluable resource.
No Light at the End of Orlando's Tunnel
Although it would be nice if we could tell you the Magic will be fine betting plays soon enough, we can't. They are miles outside of playoff contention now, and there are absolutely no guarantees that changes in the near future.
Gordon and Hezonja appear to be legitimate building blocks the Magic have no plans to move. But everyone else is up for grabs, their future with Orlando in complete and utter doubt.
Oladipo will be extension eligible this summer and will enter restricted free agency in 2017 if an agreement isn't hashed out. He has flirted with stardom in the past but is mostly inconsistent throughout the season. The Magic must decide whether or not to invest in his future.
The same goes for Evan Fournier, who actually will be a restricted free agent this summer. While the Magic have the right to match any offer he receives, those offers can and will exceed $10 million per year.
Payton, meanwhile, has yet to blossom into a top-tier point guard. The fit between him and Oladipo is also weird. The Magic may need to break up this backcourt if they plan on making any imminent offensive leaps.
Dealing Nikola Vucevic may also prove to be a necessity. He is under lock and key on a bargain-bin contract, but he kills the Magic's defense, and his limited range on the offensive end really isn't conducive to today's NBA.
As you can see, the Magic have a busy couple of years ahead of them. Will they look to consolidate certain assets into a superstar? Might they just look to amass picks and other prospects for their own prospects and hit the reset button once more? Will they stand pat, dooming themselves to mediocrity?
If and when the Magic reveal a concrete direction, they will still barely be individual game plays. Division, conference, championship and win total futures are unequivocally out of the question no matter what happens over the summer.
The Magic have to show that they're good for an entire season before you start making profound wagers on their futures. After all, as you've already found out, their early season success can prove to be a mirage, which is, quite obviously, damaging to your sportsbook purse. So bet on them with caution—if you bet on them at all.
How To Make Money Betting On Orlando Magic
Rarely is it okay at this point in time to trust in the Magic. But you can bet on them with a trace of confidence if they're playing at home. They have a winning record at Amway Center and have shown an inclination for tearing apart slower, defensive-oriented squads when they get to play on their home turf.
Coversely, avoid betting on the Magic altogether when they're on the road. They struggle mightily on both sides of the ball outside Orlando and are no stranger to being blown out by perceived equals or, worse, squads that are supposedly inferior to them.
All bets on the Magic, however, should lean toward spreads and over/under plays as opposed to moneyline gambles.
There is no such thing as a foolproof bet when it comes to these Magic, but because they're such a wild card, counting on them to win is, irrespective of their opponent, too much of a risk.
Favoring spreads, overs and unders gives you a chance to capitalize on both wins and losses without constantly tethering yourself to the idea that the Magic are in any way predictable.