NBA Wednesday: Greg Frank picks Sixers vs Magic and Clippers vs Rockets
2-2 Tuesday night, 22-17-1 overall.
Sixers (+3) @ Magic (206)
Pick: Magic -3
It’s probably easy to assume that the wrong team is favored in Orlando tonight. But if you watched the Sixers last night, being a short underdog against the Magic is probably more understandable. Philly has shown a tendency to play down to inferior competition out of the gate, failing to cover the spread against Atlanta, Phoenix, Charlotte and Cleveland. Only the Suns game was a straight-up loss for the Sixers, but we think there’s something to this. These inferior teams have been giving the Sixers their best shot and now Joel Embiid gets a night off. Some of these teams, especially Orlando, are going to be on the playoff bubble in the spring and all wins count the same. The Sixers are not playing their best basketball right now, which shouldn’t be too concerning yet given how early it is in the season still, but they’re not a team we want to get behind at the moment. The Magic opened as a short home dog in this one and were quickly bet through zero and are now favored. We’re in agreement with the line move and willing to lay three to back the home team. Look for former Sixers center Nikola Vuecvic to feast for Orlando with Embiid sidelined.
Clippers (+2.5) @ Rockets (234)
Pick: Rockets -2.5
These two teams play different styles. The Clippers are more predicated upon grinding out games and wearing down the opposition which explains why the under is 7-3 in their games so far this season. The Rockets want to win track meets and while their over record may not indicate it, that’s because the total in the Rockets game is usually the highest on the board most nights they’re in action. That’s the case tonight as there is no total higher than 234 at the time of this writing. However, the fact that the total is where it is gives us an indication of what kind of game the books are expecting. The more points in Houston on Wednesday, the greater likelihood the Rockets win the game. Simply put, our money is on the Rockets playing their brand of basketball at home and we’re not sure the Clippers would have as much success if this game gets up in the 120s. The over is tempting, but there is a reason Houston’s over record is below .500. This game can still be high-scoring and land under such a high total, therefore our stronger play is on the Rockets side of the point spread as we like the home favorite.
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