ORLANDO MAGIC (3-6)
at ATLANTA HAWKS (4-4)
Tip-off: Monday, 7:35 p.m. ET
Line: Atlanta -10, Total: 187
The Orlando Magic head into Atlanta on Monday night for yet another chance to surprise a playoff team from last season.
The Magic have lost six of their past seven games and havenít beaten a team with a winning record since the first two games of the season. The return of Jameer Nelson, however, has added a spark for the Magic and their last two games have been a win at Detroit and a loss at Toronto. Atlanta is coming off an up-and-down road trip where it finished 2-2 (SU and ATS), capped of by a 112-96 win at Sacramento.
Can the Hawks win this game by double-digits? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. This season, the experts are a collective 59-48-8 ATS (55%) in NBA Best Bets. StatFox Scott is 11-3 ATS (79%) Best Bets in his past 10 days, putting him at 63% ATS (15-9) Best Bets for the season. StatFox Gary's 3-0 ATS mark for the weekend puts him at 62% ATS (8-5-2) Best Bets for the year. StatFox Brian is 59% ATS (17-12-3) for the season, with eight straight days of finishing .500 or better. For NBA Totals, StatFox Scott is 8-1 in the past eight days, boosting his incredible season mark to 21-6 (78%) on NBA Totals. .
The formula for the Magic is simple, score 100 points to get a win. But it they fail to score triple-figures, that will result in a loss. Such has been the case this season with Orlando going 3-0 (SU and ATS) when reaching 100 and a pathetic 0-6 SU (2-4 ATS) when held below the century mark. Orlando has actually been better than many people expected with its life after Dwight Howard. The Magic have their floor general, Jameer Nelson, back on the court and they now look like a competent basketball team. Nikola Vucevic (5.5 PPG, 4.8 RPG as a rookie) has made great strides this season with 11.2 PPG and 8.7 RPG. Glen Davis has also performed admirably for the Magic with averages of 15.7 PPG and 8.7 RPG. J.J. Redick is a question mark in this game as he is dealing with an illness.
Atlanta is still trying to find its identity after losing Joe Johnson in the offseason. A lot of their scoring has ended up relying on their new sixth man, Lou Williams. He has been asked to carry the Hawks scoring load often late in games and he has delivered so far this season averaging 14.1 PPG, but shooting just 38% FG. In his past two games, Williams scored 18 against Golden State and 21 against Sacramento, getting to the foul line 18 times. The Hawks would be at their optimal performance if Josh Smith can start shooting the ball better. Smith is shooting just 41 percent from the floor and has taken 17.3 shots per game. Heíll need to be more efficient as Atlanta moves forward this season, but he thoroughly dominated Orlando last year with 20.3 PPG and 13.0 RPG in three meetings.