Magic Defense Will Test Trail Blazers

Look for the Magic defense to control the frontcourt tonight and catch a favored Trail Blazers squad off guard in the latter’s first road trip of the 2018-19 season. Free against-the-spread pick and prediction here.

Portland Trail Blazers (-3.5, 214.5) at Orlando Magic

Line Movement:

Roughly 72 percent of the public is backing the Trail Blazers to cover the spread at Orlando with close to seven hours until tip, yet bigger bucks on the home underdog has caused bookmakers to adjust the line a half point in favor of the Magic. The total is seeing nearly 50-50 action, though money is sinking the number. The contest opened at 219 points, down to 214.5 at some shops as of publication.

Tips & Trends:

The Trail Blazers (2-1 SU, 2-1 ATS) first road trip of the season starts in the land of Walt Disney, as it looks to extend a three-game winning streak over Orlando (2-2 SU, 3-3 ATS). This is only the fifth time with star guard Damien Lillard in the lineup Portland will tip off road favorites on the East Coast following a game at Moda Center. The long travel has shown little effect, the franchise going 5-0 SU and 4-1 ATS in this spot. It is covering a -5.7 average line by 8.1 points per game.

Portland, however, has not fared will against the Southeastern division as road chalk behind longtime head coach Terry Stotts. Stotts is 4-6 SU and ATS in this situation, despite tipping off a -4.2 average favorite.

The Magic have yet to generate much offense behind first-year head coach Steve Clifford, but defense and error-free basketball is a hallmark of the former Charlotte leader. Orlando ranks ninth in the NBA in opponent shooting percentage, holding foes to a 43.6 rate. It tops the league in fewest charity shots allowed at 15.2 per game. Orlando will certainly not beat itself, but need to find a rare hot hand offensively to do damage.

Cliffordโ€™s defense is showing some stout rim-protection, yielding only 45.0 points per tilt in the paint, while swatting 3.8 shots per game. If Lillard and fellow guard C.J. McCollum canโ€™t hit their perimeter shots, options are limited driving to the hoop. Take the Magic and the points.

Pick: Magic +3.5

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