Two years ago, the Orlando Magic and Chicago Bulls made what felt like a pretty monumental trade in the Eastern Conference when the Magic shipped Nikola Vucevic up to Chicago. Two years later, they’re separated by just two spots in the East standings with the Bulls at 26-30 and the Magic, 23-34.
Despite the slightly better record, Orlando is in a much better spot because of that trade with Franz Wagner as a budding star, Wendell Carter Jr. a quality starting center, and another first-round pick still coming down the pike. For now the Bulls are still the slightly better team and they’re favorites at home.
Magic vs. Bulls odds, spread and total
Magic vs. Bulls prediction and pick
The Magic have won three of their last five games and on Saturday they nearly hung on to beat Miami in overtime. They’re playing well in this recent stretch, but most of the credit lies with their increased effort on the defensive end of the floor. Over their last five games, they are a top 10 team in defensive rating at 109.9, which is a stellar mark compared to their 114.1 for the season which has them at 21st.
That defensive improvement is nothing compared to how well the Bulls are playing on that end. Chicago is second in the NBA in defensive rating over their most recent four games. These are both small samples, but have come against quality competition.
The defense has led to a trend which is actually identical for both of these teams. The under is 4-0 in Chicago’s last four games and Orlando’s last four games, so you better believe I’m betting the under in this game.
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