NBA Predictions and Best Bets: Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks Picks
When: Friday, October 22, 7:00 p.m. ET
Where to Watch: MSG or NBA League Pass
Spread: Knicks -7
Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks Prediction
So far, so, well…what was that, exactly?
Through 44 minutes of action on Wednesday night, the Knicks quashed a lot of doubters who didn’t think their offseason additions helped keep them in the thick of the Eastern Conference playoff picture. New York uncovered a weapon in second-year pro Obi Toppin, and in pairing him with last season’s All-NBA surprise Julius Randle, played with a level of speed and activity at both ends that the Celtics couldn’t keep up with.
Then everything went to hell. The Knicks committed numerous mental errors, including three late turnovers by new starting point guard Kemba Walker, that gave Boston the chance to send the game to overtime. New York would eventually pull it out in double OT thanks to some exquisite shot-making from their other summer acquisition, Evan Fournier. However, it was still tough not to be unnerved by how regulation ended.
On the whole, though, the Knicks looked the part of a team that will be heard from all year long in a very competitive Eastern Conference.
The Magic, on the other hand? Not so much. Orlando was the biggest loser of opening night, falling in San Antonio by 26 points. Given all of their injuries - Jonathan Isaac, Markelle Fultz, Michael Carter-Williams, Gary Harris, Chuma Okeke, and E’Twaun Moore all remain out with assorted maladies – it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this one got away from them fast.
What they have left are several parts that don’t fit. For example, four members of the current 10-man rotation – Mo Bamba, Wendell Carter Jr, Robin Lopez, and Moe Wagner – are centers. In contrast, most of their rotation has very little NBA experience, with Terrence Ross being the lone exception.
Based on the talent alone, this game should not be close. When you factor in the Tom Thibodeau factor and the fact that New York was always ready to play last year and took no game for granted, and it’s hard to find an argument in favor of the home team.
This is a lot of points to give on the road, but the Knicks won 11 games by eight or more on the road last season, including eight by 14 or more. Four of their five largest margins of victory last year actually came away from Madison Square Garden. They will not be phased.
Even if the Knicks are tired, this roster is deep with good players. New York made things more interesting than they should have been on Wednesday, but they’ll take care of business here far more comfortably.
Orlando Magic vs. New York Knicks Pick
- Knicks -7 (-110)
Chicago Bulls vs. New Orleans Pelicans Prediction
When: Friday, October 22, 8:00 p.m. ET
Where to Watch: NBA League Pass
Bulls vs. Pelicans Odds
In terms of intrigue, few teams entered their opening night with more than the Pelicans and Bulls, albeit for different reasons.
The Bulls came into their opener on the road against the feisty Pistons with the always dangerous label of “winners” of the offseason. Even if you hate the money given to DeMar DeRozan or the fit with him, Zach Lavine, and new point guard Lonzo Ball, it’s impossible to deny the talent upgrade, especially after it was on full display during a blistering preseason that had Bulls’ fans dreaming of confetti.
Their first game came against a Detroit team missing first overall pick Cade Cunningham but was otherwise fully healthy, and it was a battle. Chicago came away the victor, but in less than convincing fashion, as this was a two-point game with under a minute to go.
On the bright side, the much-maligned defense looked legitimate, perhaps showing that their preseason league-leading defensive rating wasn’t a fluke. Between that and Zach LaVine (34 points on just 17 shots), they did just enough to give the doubters some pause.
That’s less true for the Pelicans, who have NBA eyes on them because of who isn’t there more than who is. In fairness, Zion-less New Orleans gave a respectable effort against Philadelphia, who still has top-notch talent even without Ben Simmons. This was a two-possession game with under 10 minutes to go, and it took a fourth-quarter Furkan Korkmaz 3-point barrage for the Sixers to finally pull away.
But pull away they did, in part due to 20 points from emergency starter Tyrese Maxey. Maxey’s strong game exposed the soft underbelly of this Pels team, which comes in the form of starting point guard Devonte Graham, who is a solid offensive player but an undersized liability on defense. Chicago will offer no quarter for Graham either, and the Bulls’ offense should be able to get going.
The home crowd will be rocking for this one. The spread is a tad larger than you’d ideally like, but there’s a good reason for that. The Pelicans are no sure thing with Zion. Without him, they’ll be too undermanned to stay with the Bulls here.
Chicago Bulls vs. New Orleans Pelicans Pick
- Bulls -7 (-110)