2020 Magic Championship Odds: Team Quietly Making Progress
Orlando Magic Betting Storylines
The Orlando Magic were an oddly anonymous team last year. They won 42 games, they improved as the season went along, they made the playoffs, and they even won a playoff game against the eventual champions from Toronto. Yet, I would bet that if you asked 10 casual basketball fans how many games they won last year, at least eight would undersell their efforts.
They are doing some things really well, but not in a way that gets them a lot of headlines, finds them on a lot of highlight reels, or subjects them to a lot of buzz. And now the same core, complete with a budding superstar in Nikola Vucevic, who has a huge new four-year deal to his credit, is back. And they have added some decent pieces as well. This team could keep making steps forward. And chances are that people still won't pay them a whole lot of attention. Not in the league where it's all about superstar duos and trios, and Orlando won't, or can't, play that game.
Orlando Magic Additions and Departures
The big order of business was dealing with some contracts, and they had some big wins on that front. Vucevic was signed for $100 million over four years, which was almost half of what they could have paid him. He surely could have received more from a bunch other teams if he had chosen, too. For a guy to take such a hometown discount in this day and age is a little shocking and very useful for the team financially. The team also locked up Terrence Ross for four more years on a fair $54 million deal, and it locked up Vucevic's backup, Khem Birch, for a bargain basement deal. The front office earned their money this year by saving the team a lot.
An interesting addition this year is one that technically isn't new. Markelle Fultz was acquired last spring but did not play at all. He is healthy enough to have played in the preseason this year, and he has looked solid doing so. The potential is obviously there - he was a consensus top pick only three seasons ago. And he has to be so mentally relieved to be free of Philadelphia that a massive weight has been removed. The upside here is huge, and it will be very interesting to see what he can do with a fresh start and, hopefully, some health.
The team added Al-Farouq Aminu, who seemingly has been in the league for a hundred years and is only 29. He started 81 games for a good Portland squad last year, so he is a good addition here. He plays in a front court, though, that isn't short of players, so managing minutes is going to be a concern. It's quite possible that they will look to make a move as the season goes along if they find they have too much of a good thing. Aminu and his strong defense is signed for three years at less than $10 million a year, so the money is well spent in his case.
In the first round of the draft they took Auburn forward Chume Okeke. He had played his way into serious lottery contention as a sophomore last year, but then tore his ACL and saw himself fall to 16th. Orlando could have gotten a serious steal with this pick, but it will require patience. He is not yet signed, and expectations are that he could essentially redshirt in the G-League for the year when he is able to play again.
Orlando Magic Futures Odds and Trends
Orlando Magic Futures Odds
NBA title odds : +10000
Eastern Conference title odds : +4000
Southeast Division title odds: +150
Nikola Vucevic MVP Odds : +10000
Season win total : 41.5
Will the Orlando Magic make the playoffs: Yes -200, No +170
The Magic were a surprising team last year, winning 42 games. That was better than bettors expected, and that showed with their betting performance - they went 45-36-1 ATS on the season, which was tied for third best in the league. They went under the total 44 times compared to over just 38, so there was money to be made there as well.
Orlando Magic Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
I have no idea how they are going to deal with front court minutes. They have Vucevic at center, with Ross, Birch and Mo Bamba there as well. Aaron Gordon is a key piece at forward. So, presumably is Aminu. And Jonathan Isaac is their best defensive player. And that's not even considering Okeke when he comes along. It's a good problem to have, and teams that are looking to take a leap forward need depth. Few teams have better depth than this - even if the top end isn't quite as good as some teams. If the team can keep things together and keep people happy, or manage the assets well to improve if they have to make moves, then the team is quite easy to like. And if Fultz can work out at all, that would be a huge boost as well. Add it all up, and I like this team quite a bit. They finished seventh last year in the East, and I look for them to take a step or two forward, and to be a team that some higher seed is really not going to be happy about having to play in the first round.
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