NBA Preview for Monday, March 25th


There are only four games on the NBA docket this evening but plenty of playoff implications on the line. In fact, six of the eight teams on tonight’s schedule have some level of urgency to get a win.

(7:05 p.m. EST) Philadelphia 76ers (-1.5) at Orlando Magic – Total: 219

To start the evening, the Philadelphia 76ers face the Orlando Magic. With the Eastern Conference playoff picture starting to take shape, the Magic are trying to make sure they’re not left out of the race. They currently find themselves one game behind the eighth-place Miami Heat, who will be waiting for Orlando and their monumental showdown tomorrow night. The Magic have gone 4-0 on their current five-game homestand, all against teams with a losing record (Cleveland, Atlanta, New Orleans, Memphis), while the 76ers have a stronghold on the three-seed in the East but did have their six-game winning streak snapped in Atlanta on Saturday night.

It’s interesting to note that the Sixers opened as 4.5-point favorites, but that spread has since plummeted three points down to 1.5 in favor of the visitors. Philly is 2-1 against Orlando this season, with the average margin being five points between the three games. 78 percent of public bets are on the Sixers tonight, perhaps giving some credence to the fact that the Magic have more motivation to win — Our system also thinks so.

(8:05 p.m. EST) Oklahoma City Thunder (-7) at Memphis Grizzlies – Total: 216.5

The Oklahoma City Thunder should be happy to see the Memphis Grizzlies on their schedule, considering they have been winners in nine of the last 10 meetings between the teams – 6-4 against the spread. However, OKC has failed to cover the spread in 12 of its last 16 games, while Memphis is 4-1 outright in its last five games, winning against top-flight teams like Portland, Utah, Orlando and Houston. Our system doesn’t have a specific lean for this game, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Memphis get up for a marquee opponent and keep it close.

(9:05 p.m. EST) Phoenix Suns at Utah Jazz (-15) – Total: 216

The Utah Jazz aren’t in serious jeopardy of losing of their playoff bid, but it would behoove them to keep on their winning ways against a hapless Phoenix Suns team that has the second-worst record in the NBA. And they should, as the Jazz have already defeated the Suns by 28 and 17 points in each of their first two meetings this season. The totals went under in each of those two games, and it’s worth noting that Jazz games have produced the under on totals in 10 of their last 14. Our system likes more of the same tonight, with Utah proving to be ultra-focused defensively on its home floor.

(10:05 p.m. EST) Brooklyn Nets at Portland Trail Blazers (-6.5) – Total: 222.5

This game between the Brooklyn Nets and Portland Trail Blazers could end up being the best one of the night when it’s all said and done. The Trail Blazers could clinch a playoff berth with a win, while the Nets are clinging on to one of the last spots in the Eastern Conference playoff race. Brooklyn has the toughest remaining schedule in the NBA and is currently in the midst of a daunting seven-game road trip that will end on Thursday in Philly. Luckily, the Nets had two full days off prior to tonight’s game.

One thing is for certain – both teams need this game. Sure, Portland will make the playoffs but holding on to home-court advantage for its first-round matchup looms large. Meanwhile, making the playoffs for Brooklyn would mean the world. After three years of losing records and not having control of their own draft pick, the Nets rebuild has certainly been fast-tracked quicker than anyone would have ever imagined. Expect both teams to come out crisp on offense and put up plenty of points.