The Philadelphia 76ers (20-9) travel to face the Orlando Magic (18-11) this Wednesday (12/27/23). Get 76ers vs. Magic moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Orlando Magic Prediction
Joel Embiid remains out for the 76ers, which is cataclysmic for their chances. He leads the league in scoring at 35 points per game, and his gravity and playmaking generate elite shot quality for teammates. Tyrese Maxey thrives off of Embiid’s screening and dribble handoffs, so his offensive outlook takes a hit, especially with Jalen Suggs marking him.
Few players apply more on-ball pressure than Suggs, who ranks third across the NBA in steal percentage (via Basketball Reference). Meanwhile, Anthony Black and Franz Wagner are effective defenders that can slow down De’Anthony Melton and Kelly Oubre Jr. Philadelphia desperately needs these three to create advantages and have an efficient night, so Orlando’s backcourt defenders do not bode well for the 76ers. Overall, this elite Magic defense ranks fourth in Defensive Rating and possesses the defenders to pester a rudderless 76ers offense.
On the other end, Paul Reed and Mo Bamba form an uninspiring last line of defense. Orlando takes the most field goal attempts within eight feet of the basket, and their jumbo forwards will attack the rim with ease here. Franz Wagner enters this contest on a high note too, as he’s averaging 27 points on a 57.4 FG% over his past three games.
Finally, Orlando’s bench holds the advantage. Cole Anthony is a microwave scorer averaging 15 points per game, while veteran Gary Harris can knock down a few threes on any given night. Centers Goga Bitadze and Mo Wagner also contribute paint defense, cutting, and occasional short roll passing. That five man unit far exceeds a Philadelphia bench filled with lackluster self-creation and questionable shooting.
Backing Orlando to win by at least three points is the best bet here. They can exploit Philadelphia’s defensive flaws without Embiid on the court, and they own the defense to wreak havoc.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Orlando Magic Prediction: Magic -2.5 & Moneyline
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Philadelphia 76ers vs. Orlando Magic Best Odds
The Magic are slight 2.5 point favorites in this matchup, so the books must be expecting a close game despite Embiid’s injury. It’s worth noting that Orlando ranks second across the NBA in cover percentage (69%). Philadelphia must win about 44 percent of the time for their +125 moneyline to be profitable in the long run.
Philadelphia 76ers Starting Lineup
Orlando Magic Starting Lineup
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Orlando Magic Injuries
Starters Joel Embiid and Nic Batum will miss this game for the 76ers, while the Magic will be without Markelle Fultz, Jonathan Isaac, Joe Ingles, and Kevon Harris. Gary Harris is also questionable due to a calf injury.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Orlando Magic Key Matchups
Tobias Harris’ Scoring
With Embiid sidelined and Maxey being hounded by Suggs, the 76ers need someone to step up. Tobias Harris answered the call in their Christmas matchup against Miami by dropping 27 points and 6 assists on 10/18 shooting, and he’s the top candidate to be Philadelphia’s second scorer versus Orlando. The veteran has off-the-dribble creation chops, as well as a deadly catch-and-shoot game. If Harris can approach 25 points while also assuming a larger opportunistic playmaking role, then Philadelphia’s offense could be above average.
Mo Bamba’s Defense
Although Bamba is not a high-feel defender that anticipates well, his 7’10” wingspan can still do damage in terms of bothering shots. Because Orlando is a drive-heavy team that doesn’t shoot well from outside, Bamba’s length will be a massive X Factor for Philadelphia in this matchup. Can he make the right reads as a weak-side rim protector? Will he position himself correctly while defending the pick-and-roll? If Bamba turns in an unexpected defensive masterclass, then the Magic are far from cruising here.