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Magic vs. Celtics Prediction: Two of Top Three Teams in the East Go to Battle

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published December 15, 2023
10 min read

The Orlando Magic (16-7) are looking to hand the Boston Celtics (18-5) their first loss on their home floor when they meet on Friday evening.

The Magic defied all preseason expectations to climb to third in the Eastern Conference more than a quarter of the way through the new campaign. Meanwhile, the Celtics have done their part to fulfill their championship expectations and are tied for the best record in the NBA.

Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our favorite picks for the Magic vs. Celtics matchup on Friday.

Orlando Magic vs. Boston Celtics Predictions

Magic vs. Celtics Betting Odds for Friday, Dec. 15

The Celtics are favored by 6.5 points at home, where they are 12-0 and just beat the Cleveland Cavaliers last night. The Magic, despite their impressive record, are only 5-5 on the road.

TeamsSpreadMoneylineTotal
Orlando Magic+6.5 (-115)+185Over 223.5 (-110)
Boston Celtics-6.5 (-105)-225Under 223.5 (-110)

Odds from BetMGM Sportsbook. Use our BetMGM promo code for a $1,500 welcome bonus.

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One of the most pleasant surprises of the 2023-24 NBA season is the play of the Magic. They’re the fifth-youngest team and do not have a single All-Star on their roster, yet they’ve played like one of the best teams in the league up to this point.

The Magic’s calling card is their defense. They are aggressive on the perimeter and have multiple long, athletic bodies that disrupt passing and driving lanes and can make individual stops.

Second-year pro Paolo Banchero leads the team in scoring at 20.7 points per night. Additionally, he contributes 6.8 rebounds and 4.5 assists per night. Franz Wagner is just behind and averaging 20.6 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.7 assists.

Orlando has the third-best defensive rating, one spot ahead of Boston, and gives up 108.9 points per game, tied with Boston for the third-fewest in the league. They aren’t anything special in the halfcourt, but they use their defense to fuel their offense and rank second in points off turnovers.

The Magic are also excellent in a variety of hustle metrics, including offensive rebound percentage (11th), deflections (seventh), and forced turnovers per game (second).

The Celtics are regarded by many as the best and most complete team in the league. Their starting five have the second-best net rating amongst all starting units, trailing only the Philadelphia 76ers, and all five starters average at least 12.5 points per game.

Jayson Tatum is getting the job done on both ends as the leader of the team, averaging 27.3 points, 8.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists. Jaylen Brown’s scoring and efficiency are both down compared to last year, but new arrivals Kristaps Porzingis and Jrue Holiday have more than made up for that decline.

Boston dominates a wide range of statistics. They’re second in three-pointers made per game, fourth in defensive rating and rebound rate, and sixth in offensive rating. 

Although the C’s are only 27th in points in the paint, that does not mean that they don’t dominate the interior. Their collection of ball-handling guards and wings constantly looks to drive the lane to collapse the defense so they can kick the ball out to open shooters, which is why they are able to take and make so many triples despite only ranking 22nd in average pace of play.

This will be the first time these teams have faced each other this season. Both teams beat the Cavaliers their last time out, the Magic doing so 104-94 on Monday and the Celtics 116-107 on Thursday.

Magic vs. Celtics Prediction and Betting Pick

Although the Magic are far more rested, the Celtics are clearly the best home team in basketball. Their home net rating of 15.6 greatly exceeds the Magic’s road net rating of -5, not to mention Orlando lost its last two road games by an average of 19 points.

Orlando will give itself the best chance to win if it can leverage its activity and energy on the defensive side of the ball against a Celtics squad that has played more games and doesn’t take the best care of the ball.

On the flip side, the Celtics’ three-point shooting is much better than the Magic’s, and one burst of scoring could be enough to earn them a win as long as they don’t collapse during the remainder of the game. 

Boston is rightfully favored, but we like the Magic on the spread. Their extra rest, combined with their defensive intensity and ability to muddy up the game, should help keep this one close until the final buzzer.

Magic vs. Celtics pick: Magic +6.5 (-115) at BetMGM

How to Watch Magic vs. Celtics on 12/15/23

When: Friday, Dec. 15 @ 7:30 p.m. ET

Where: TD Garden, Boston, MA

TV: NBA League Pass

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

397 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

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