The Orlando Magic (16-10) face the Milwaukee Bucks (20-7) this Thursday (12/21/23). Get Magic vs. Bucks moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.
Orlando Magic vs. Milwaukee Bucks Prediction
Milwaukee’s offense is finally gelling, as they have cleared 125 points in seven of their past ten games. Over that stretch, the Bucks outscored opponents by a monstrous 27.8 points per 100 possessions in the first quarter. On the other hand, Orlando has been outscored by 19.8 points per 100 possessions in the first quarter across their past ten games.
Jalen Suggs holds a questionable tag in this matchup, and there is a serious chance that he rests. If he does not suit up, it would be a staggering blow to Orlando’s chances. Suggs’ on-ball defense has terrorized opposing guards, and his services are desperately needed against All-NBA guard Damian Lillard, who is averaging 28 points on hyper-elite 49/46/90 shooting splits during December.
The Magic lead the league in restricted area field goal attempts and love to attack the basket via their jumbo forwards. While Milwaukee’s defense is an issue, they still maintain an effective rim protection unit with Giannis Antetokounmpo and Brook Lopez on the court. The Bucks are subsequently 13th in opponent restricted area field goal percentage and 14th defending finishes at the rim based on surrendered shot quality (via ShotQuality).
Finally, Milwaukee holds a significant advantage from beyond the arc. They currently rank 4th in three-point percentage (38.2%), while Orlando sits at 27th (33.9%). These attempts are inherently worth more than a two-pointer, and the team that wins the three-point battle significantly boosts their winning chances. Milwaukee’s biggest flaw is their three-point and guard defense, but it appears unlikely that Orlando can exploit them to the point of victory.
Overall, the Bucks are rolling at the moment behind Lillard and Antetokounmpo, and they face a limping Magic team that has struggled to open games strong recently. Back the Bucks to control the first quarter.
Orlando Magic vs. Milwaukee Bucks Prediction: Bucks 1st Quarter Moneyline & Bucks 1st Quarter -2.5
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Orlando Magic vs. Milwaukee Bucks Best Odds
The Bucks are big 8.5 point favorites in this matchup. Orlando ranks third across the NBA in cover percentage, and they need to win about 24 percent of the time for their +310 moneyline to be profitable in the long run.
Orlando Magic Starting Lineup
Milwaukee Bucks Starting Lineup
Orlando Magic vs. Milwaukee Bucks Injuries
Jalen Suggs and Joe Ingles are questionable, while Markelle Fultz and Kevon Harris continue to be out. The Bucks will be missing Jae Crowder, but Giannis Antetokounmpo holds a probable tag.
Orlando Magic vs. Milwaukee Bucks Key Matchups
The Bucks and Magic both rank top five in free throw attempt rate. Not only do free throws provide an easy source of offense, but they hand a foul to an opposing player. It’s the standard for teams to sub out players with two quick fouls in the first quarter, so each team’s free throw prowess could change the landscape. For example, the outlook would shift should Paolo Banchero or Giannis Antetokounmpo head to the bench early. Free throws will definitely be an X Factor during the first quarter.
Franz Wagner Efficiency
Wagner has had a rough December to the tune of a 39.5 FG% and 18.8 3PT%. The 22-year-old forward is too talented to sit in this slump for long though. Given Milwaukee’s red-hot offense, Orlando requires a massive game from Wagne in terms of scoring and playmaking. If he continues his shooting woes, then it’s unlikely that Orlando musters enough offense to keep pace.