|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAWithout their All-Star Center Dwight Howard, the Orlando Magic's chances against the Portland Traiblazers on Monday night will be much more difficult to predict than if they were playing with a complete team. Howard will be serving a one-game suspension after being called for his 16th technical foul of the season on Friday in a game against the Chicago Bulls.
Without Howard in the lineup, the Magic are listed as the 1.5 point favorites, with the total set at 187.5. If they had their star center, the odds would be better in favor of Orlando, a team that is strong at home, and which has been enjoying a respectable run since the All-Star Break, despite a loss to the Bulls Friday night in Orlando.
Look for the Magic to go to Jameer Nelson and Jason Richardson to make up for the loss of Howard, who averages 23.1 points per game, as well as 13.9 rebounds. He makes up a significant portion of the Magic's strong offense. However, it helps that Portland does not have a really strong center, so the team may not have to adjust that much tonight.
Portland is starting a four-game road trip with this visit to Orlando, before taking on the Miami Heat, Charlotte Bobcats, and Atlanta Hawks before they have a home game. The Trailblazers just beat Charlotte on Saturday in a huge home game win, but the matchups with the Heat and Atlanta will give them more of a challenge.
The last time the Trailblazers and Magic met each other was in December in Portland, where the home team came out on top 97-83. Despite Howard putting up 39 points, the Magic still fell short, as the rest of the team could not equal the center's easy scoring. In the last five meetings in Orlando, the Trailblazers are only 1-4 ATS, and are only 4-0-1 ATS in their last five road games.