Orlando Magic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder: Predictions, Starting Lineups (1/13/24)

The ailing Orlando Magic (21-17) travel to meet the Oklahoma City Thunder (26-11) this Saturday (1/13/24). Get Magic vs. Thunder moneyline and spread odds, as well as predictions, starting lineups, injuries, and key matchups below.

Orlando Magic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Prediction

The game context is disastrous for Orlando. Not only are the Magic on the second night of a back-to-back after facing the physical Miami Heat, but they will be without Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr, Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris, and Joe Ingles. Plus, they face a rolling, fully healthy Thunder squad who only had to play their starters around 20 minutes during their demolition of Portland two days ago. Yikes! Oklahoma City is a bad matchup for Orlando too.

The Magic lead the league in field goal attempts within eight feet of the basket, but they struggle mightily to shoot efficiently from three. Enter the Thunder, who hold opponents to the lowest field goal percentage within eight feet of the basket. Chet Holmgren is the driving force behind their defense; he ranks second in contested shots per game, third in block percentage, and fifth in rim points saved per 75 possessions (via Basketball Index).

Jalen Williams’ strong frame and 7’2” wingspan deem him a tough matchup for Paolo Banchero too, who has to put on a show for Orlando to keep this game close. Based on Oklahoma City’s interior defense, that’s a tall task.

Meanwhile, Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony are the only healthy players besides Banchero who can create their own shot with a semblance of consistency. Oklahoma City has an answer for them as well though. Lu Dort, Cason Wallace, and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander form a disruptive defensive guard trio that can severely pester Orlando’s scorers.

On the other end, Jalen Suggs has been sensational defensively this season; however, he dominates against smaller, quicker guards. Gilgeous-Alexander’s 6’6” frame and 6’11” wingspan are a bridge too far for Suggs. Orlando’s bigs also do not possess the vertical athleticism or mobility to hang with Chet Holmgren, so the Thunder should feast via high ball screens.

Finally, the bench advantage is absurd for Oklahoma City. They lead the NBA in bench Net Rating and feature six legitimate playoff players. It’s difficult to envision this depleted Magic squad matching up against this level of depth.

Overall, Oklahoma City should cruise in this matchup, so taking them to cover eleven points is the best bet.

Orlando Magic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Prediction: Thunder -11 (-110 FD)

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Orlando Magic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Best Odds

Oklahoma City is favored by a whopping eleven points. The line makes sense given the plethora of Magic injuries and the fact that OKC owns a 15-5 record against the spread at home. Meanwhile, Orlando has a respectable 12-8 record against the spread on the road.

For Orlando’s +480 to be profitable in the long run, they need to win here at least 17 percent of the time.

Orlando Magic Starting Lineup

PG: Jalen Suggs
SG: Caleb Houstan
SF: Paolo Banchero
PF: Chuma Okeke
C: Goga Bitadze

Oklahoma City Thunder Starting Lineup

PG: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
SG: Luguentz Dort
SF: Josh Giddey
PF: Jalen Williams
C: Chet Holmgren

Orlando Magic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Injuries

Franz Wagner, Wendell Carter Jr, Markelle Fultz, Gary Harris, and Joe Ingles will miss the contest for Orlando. In stark contrast, Oklahoma City has no player listed on the injury report.

Orlando Magic vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Key Matchups

Jalen Williams’ Two-Way Play

Williams is set to guard Paolo Banchero, who ranks third across the NBA in touches per game since Franz Wagner’s injury. If Williams can wall off Banchero’s drives and utilize his massive wingspan to contest pull-up jumpers, then Orlando’s offensive engine could sputter – a cataclysmic scenario for the Magic.

Offensively, Williams has averaged 19.2 points, 5 assists, and 4.3 rebounds on exceptional 57/51/78 shooting splits over his past 20 games. Should he continue his efficiency and playmaking, then Oklahoma City’s offense is set to explode.

Orlando’s Offensive Rebounding

It’s improbable that Orlando beats Oklahoma City on a points per possession basis, so they must win the possession battle. The Thunder have improved on the boards, but they still rank 26th in opponent offensive rebound rate over their past 15 games. It’s up to Goga Bitadze, Moritz Wagner, Chuma Okeke, and Paolo Banchero to crash the glass hard here.

Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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