Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics guard Brad Wanamaker during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)
Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier (10) drives to the basket against Boston Celtics guard Brad Wanamaker during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)|JAssociated Press
NBA

NBA Saturday Picks: Look for some Magic in Orlando as the Heat are not so hot on the road; Also, Knicks vs Pacers

Both games tip at 7 pm EST.

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

1-1 Friday, 83-79-1 overall.

Knicks (+10.5) @ Pacers (212)

Pick: Knicks +10.5

I’m always skeptical of bad to mediocre offensive teams laying this many points. That’s what we have with the Pacers. It’s no secret Indiana wins games largely in part due to defense. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s difficult to expect them to secure enough margin to cover a number like 10.5. Indiana was very fortunate to pull out a cover as an 8.5-point home favorite in its last game which went to overtime against Chicago. I don’t have a huge trend to back this, and Indiana has actually been decent against the spread as a favorite of 7.5 points or more this season. But, situationally, things don’t really line up for the Pacers on Saturday night. They host Dallas next on Monday and then have a home-and-home with Toronto on Wednesday and Friday. At this point in the year, with the All-Star break almost here, our guess is teams are beginning to flag and would love to manage minutes of their starters if they can. This looks like the spot that Indiana could do that which is also why we don’t like them to cover this big number.

Heat (-2.5) @ Magic (206)

Pick: Magic +2.5

Miami and Philadelphia are two teams in the East with glaring ATS home/road splits. The Heat are the best home team against the number in the NBA at 16-7-1. As for the highway, Miami is 10-12-1 ATS on the road. In a rivalry game close to PK, we’re always going to prefer to back the home team anyway. Both previous games have been lopsided between these two teams with the home team winning comfortable each time. The points probably won’t matter here, so if you want to take the money line with Orland for a plus price, I wouldn’t blame you.

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