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15.03.2024

Orlando Magic @ Toronto Raptors Game Preview and Pick: Carter Thrives Against Depleted Raptors

As the injuries keep piling up in Toronto, so do the losses. With their loss on Wednesday night, the Raptors have dropped five straight games and officially went winless over their four-game road trip. Even though they are back in their home arena tonight, the challenge of getting into the win column is still not easy, especially since the Orlando Magic are in town.

Orlando found themselves in the win column on Wednesday night, and they have the exact type of defense and rebounding ability that an injury-riddled team does not want to see.

Game Preview

If there is one big knock on the Orlando Magic this season, it would likely be that their offense can go missing for games at a time. Just recently, the Magic went through a two-game stretch in which they failed to break the 100-point mark, but on Wednesday night, they got things rolling on that end of the floor in a 114-106 win over the Nets.

Everyone in Orlando’s rotation got into the fun on Wednesday, with seven guys finishing in double figures. Paolo Banchero led the way with 21 points, but Orlando shot 52% from the field and 44% from three as a team. That is the type of performance they need if the Magic want to improve their ranking in points per 100 possessions in non-garbage time over the past two weeks (110.2), as they’re currently ranked 24th in the league in that span, per Cleaning the Glass.

As they have for most of the season, though, the Magic are still in the top ten in point differential during this recent two-week stretch. Over their past ten games, opponents have been averaging 101 points per game against the Magic, and according to Cleaning the Glass, they rank 3rd in points allowed per 100 possessions in non-garbage time over the past two weeks (106.9).

If you’re a Raptors fan, these are not the numbers you want to see, especially after the team's loss to the Pistons. With RJ Barrett out for personal reasons, which is the case again tonight, the Raptors were down their two leading scorers since Scottie Barnes remains out.

With those guys out, Toronto’s offense falls into the hands of Immanuel Quickley, and while he had 25 points against the Pistons, the Raptors as a team would shoot 25% from three, not to mention they were also outrebounded 58-37.

Pick for the Game

As the Raptors have made more trades and lost more guys to injuries, their rebounding has only worsened. Not only did they pull down just three offensive rebounds against the Pistons, but they allowed Jalen Duren to finish the game with 23 total rebounds. As they struggle against opposing centers, I think tonight is the perfect time to target Wendell Carter Jr. and his points+rebounds prop, set at 21.5 on Hard Rock Sportsbook.

Carter Jr. has blown past this number in three of his last five games, as he had 15 points and eight rebounds on Wednesday night. On average, over the last ten games, Carter Jr. is averaging a team-high 14.3 rebounding chances per game, which sets him up well tonight. Not only have the chances been there for the Duke product, but the Raptors are dead last in the league over the past ten games in average rebounds allowed per game (51.1).

The big man may not be the focal point of Orlando’s offense, but he’s still averaging 12.3 points per game over his last ten games. With most of his scoring coming from inside the paint, he has another considerable advantage tonight since Toronto ranks 26th over the past ten games in points allowed in the paint per game (53.4), per NBA.com.

Recap

  • Wendell Carter Jr. Over 21.5 Points+Rebounds (-105) on Hard Rock or DraftKings

*odds subject to change

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