Pistons vs. Magic NBA Best Bets for Thursday

Franz Wagner #22 of the Orlando Magic. Michael Reaves/Getty Images/AFP

With both teams beating the NBA odds lately, the Under looks like a good choice for Thursday’s Detroit Pistons-Orlando Magic matchup.

Detroit Pistons vs. Orlando Magic

Thursday, March 17, 2022 – 07:00 PM EDT at Amway Center

We’ve reached that point in the NBA regular season where bad teams are supposed to tank their way up the draft board. Times have changed a bit; the draft lottery changed format in 2019, hoping to disincentivize teams from losing on purpose.

There’s still an incentive, though, and as the first two clubs eliminated from the playoff race, neither the Detroit Pistons nor the Orlando Magic seem willing to put too much effort into winning Thursday’s game – the only game on the schedule.

It’s too bad for us that they’re playing each other. So-called tanking teams are often great value on the NBA odds board; the Pistons (18-51 SU, 37-32 ATS) have covered 11 of their past dozen games at 6-6 SU, while the Magic (18-52 SU, 33-37 ATS) are 5-7 SU and 8-4 ATS over the same span.

With all that betting value canceled out, the Under might be the smart choice here – especially with all the players expected to miss Thursday’s contest.

Sick Bay Is Full

This list is still growing as we go to press. The Magic briefly opened as 2-point home favorites at DraftKings before quickly shooting up to -4, right about the same time that Jerami Grant (knee) was ruled out for Detroit; Cade Cunningham (illness) is questionable after missing Tuesday’s game in Miami, and the man who replaced him at point guard, Rodney McGruder, is also questionable with a strained hamstring.

Orlando’s situation is roughly the same. Jalen Suggs (ankle) has been downgraded from questionable to out, depriving the Magic of their starting point guard. Wendell Carter Jr (ankle) and Chuma Okeke (knee) are both considered questionable – that’s Orlando’s starting center and one of their first bigs off the bench, not to mention two of their better players. Not exactly what the people at NBA-TV were hoping for.

Brick City

It can definitely work for your NBA picks, though. The total for this contest has yet to hit the board as we go to press, but both these teams have the Under cashing in at a steady clip lately: 6-1 for the Pistons, and 5-2 for the Magic in their past seven games.

Orlando also happen to be coming off one of the biggest Over results we’ve seen in a while. Kyrie Irving scored 60 points for the Brooklyn Nets in Tuesday’s 150-108 massacre (Over 232.5); the previous Magic game also went Over, but it took overtime for the Philadelphia 76ers to beat them 116-114 (Over 221.5), with the two clubs combining for 22 points in the extra frame.

The Detroit Pistons are neither of those teams. Brooklyn and Philadelphia are two of the leading title contenders in the Eastern Conference, not doormats like the Pistons and Magic. There’s still a chance this game could devolve into a high-scoring playground affair, but with so few talented scorers in uniform, and two defensive-minded head coaches in Detroit’s Dwane Casey and Orlando’s Jamahl Mosley, the Under should be worth a small wager in this situation. Bet accordingly.

NBA Pick: Under 220.5 (-115) at BetMGM