NBA Playoffs: Cavaliers vs Magic Game 7 Odds Preview

Orlando Stays Alive To Force Game Seven

They say the two best words in sports are Game Seven but you can be sure the Cleveland Cavaliers don’t feel that way. Despite getting 50 points from Donovan Mitchell and leading by as much as nine points in the third quarter, the Cavaliers lost Game 6 to the Magic 103-96 in Orlando on Friday night to force a decisive Game 7 on Sunday afternoon in Cleveland.

No Magic vs Cavaliers preview would be complete without noting how the home team has won every game so far this series. Accordingly, Cleveland is favored by 3.5 points and is a -160 moneyline favorite.

Cleveland sorely missed Jarrett Allen (bruised rib) and his interior defense and rebounding abilities on Friday as Orlando snatched 15 offensive rebounds. His status for Sunday’s game is up in the air. Mitchell, Garland (21 points) and Max Strus (10 points) were the only Cavaliers to score in double figures, which just isn’t going to cut it.

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They need a lot more from Evan Mobley, Caris LeVert and even Marcus Morris Sr., who scored 12 points in Game 6. If they want to keep their hopes of reaching the NBA Finals schedule alive, guys other than Mitchell and Garland need to step up.

Balanced scoring isn’t a problem for the Magic. While Paolo Banchero (27 points and eight rebounds) led the way as usual, Franz Wagner (26 points) and Jalen Suggs (22 points) also had big games to spread out the offensive burden.

Wendell Carter Jr. contributed 11 points and nine rebounds. Orlando shot under 40 percent from the field but their offensive rebounding allowed them to have three more field goal attempts and 16 more free throw attempts than the Cavaliers. In a close game down the stretch, that made a huge difference.

Magic logo Orlando Magic vs Cleveland Cavaliers Cavaliers logo

Day/Time:
Location: Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse
Streaming: ABC

Cleveland’s Shooting Is An Issue

The Cavaliers went 1-for-14 from three in the first half on Friday and went into the break down by four. While they were a lot better in the second half — 6-for-14 — the scoring pretty much dried up by the final frame. Mitchell scored Cleveland’s final 22 points (including all 18 points in the fourth quarter) as he just wasn’t getting any help from his teammates.

As it has often done this season during the games in Orlando, the Cavaliers’ offense turned into an inefficient isolation fest. A Magic vs Cavaliers preview has to be concerned with Cleveland’s supporting cast’s inconsistencies.

Even in the best of times, the Cavaliers don’t have much shooting. But, they just need one bench player or non-scorer to give them at least something if they’re going to avoid a a devastating series loss. Cleveland’s offense will never be confused for a fast-paced, free-flowing system and sometimes the ball can stick in Mitchell’s hands.

However, when he is the only guy who can consistently generate offense — Garland has had his moments yet he disappeared in the second half — it’s hard to fault Mitchell for trying to do things himself.

The NBA playoff scores of this series paint a clear picture: Cleveland only scored more than 100 points once — in Game 5 at home. The numbers are much better with the Cavaliers at home but one would think the benefits of home-court advantage may be muted in a Game 7 that’s do-or-die for both teams.

J.B. Bickerstaff and his staff will have to figure out how to get guys like Strus, Mobley and LeVert going following their rather pedestrian Game 6 performances.

Magic Have Advantage On Glass

The absence of Allen made a huge difference on Friday and, if he isn’t able to go on Sunday, then the line could shift move toward the Magic. With that said, Orlando has established a clear edge in the rebounding department with their size and hustle. As this Magic vs Cavaliers preview noted above, the Magic were able to overcome some poor shooting in large part due to their tenacity on the offensive glass. Those extra opportunities are critical.

Part of this is size-related and part of this is effort-related. The Cavaliers might not be able to make up for the height lost without Allen but they certainly should be able to play much harder on their home court with elimination on the line.

They’re playing in the only NBA game on Sunday because they couldn’t close out a young and relatively inexperienced Magic team mainly because they got crushed on the defensive boards. For a team priding itself on defense — which includes finishing out possessions — that’s unacceptable.

Cavaliers Will Hold Home Court

Even though they are only favored by 3.5 points, the Cavaliers’ moneyline odds being at -160 shows that Vegas really thinks they’ll be able to escape this series with a win. The Magic are +130 on the moneyline which isn’t bad value even if they are on the road. Orlando has shown they can compete with Cleveland, especially if Allen is out.

The point total is a pretty low 195.5 points but, considering how the rest of this series has gone, it makes sense. Sometimes, you just need to make a simple pick using the evidence in front of you. That’s why the under (-110) and Cavaliers to cover the spread are the smart plays here. The whole series has been dominated by the home team winning relatively low-scoring games so that shouldn’t change in Game 7.

For NBA betting news, odds analysis, and more, visit Point Spreads Sports Magazine.


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