Orlando Magic vs. Boston Celtics Betting Odds + Playoff Schedule
#3 Orlando Magic vs. #2 Boston Celtics
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Key to series: With Kevin Garnett in street clothes the Celtics lost much of their ability to lock down teams defensively the way they did last season. But they had a puncher’s chance until Leon Powe also went down. Powe brought toughness to the front line that Moore and Scalabrine can’t. The more minutes Moore and Scalabrine play, the greater the Magic’s chances of pulling off what would be a mild upset.
Season series: Tied 2-2
Magic vs. Celtics Series Odds: Magic -110 / Celtics -110
(at) Boston 107, Orlando 88
Boston 90, (at) Orlando 80
Orlando 86, (at) Boston 79
(at) Orlando 84, Boston 82
Monday, May 4 at Boston
Wednesday, May 6 at Boston
Friday, May 8 at Orlando
Sunday, May 10 at Orlando
Tuesday, May 12 at Boston, if necessary
Thursday, May 14 at Orlando, if necessary
Sunday, May 17 at Boston, if necessary
Playoff Gambling Trends: In some series home court is everything. Not so much here. Both the Magic and Celtics are comfy playing in the others’ gym, and each team won once on the road in splitting four games during the regular season. Neither team went balls to the wall over the final few weeks of the season to gain home-court edge in a series both figured would be inevitable.
How Orlando wins: No secrets. The Magic pound the ball low to Dwight Howard, which puts stress on a depleted Celtics front line. Kendrick Perkins gets in foul trouble (Perkins wakes up the morning with two fouls on him anyway), opening the door for reserve bigs Mikki Moore and Brian Scalabrine to get more playoff minutes than their talent deserves.
How Boston wins: The Celtics come with double-team help on Howard, forcing him to kick it out. Rashard Lewis and Hedo Turkoglu don’t shoot lights out. Offensively, Rajon Rondo plays four or five games similar to the magnificent ones he turned in against Chicago. He’ll outplay play Rafer Alston – there’s no doubt about that. But by how big a margin? Enough to compensate for the damage that Howard will do inside?
Key matchup: Other than Perkins-Howard, key an eye on whoever matches up with Lewis. Big Baby Davis doesn’t have the quickness to deal with Lewis on the perimeter, and the Celtics don’t want Paul Pierce – who already looks tired – to get worn out even more. JJ Redick (replacing injured Courtney Lee for at least the first two games) will have to guard someone, but who?
Prediction: Boston in 7.
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Lawrence Paul is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog, and is a free-lance gambling and travel writer from Massachusetts.