We've officially reached the point in Orlando in which we need to start considering bubble samples as meaningfully as regular-season numbers. It's jarring, but the results speak for themselves. The Suns would've been no match for the Clippers in February. But in August, they played more than well enough to convince us that a win was possible. They pulled off the upset despite being nine-point underdogs. The Dallas Mavericks needed overtime to beat the Kings, but their struggles in Orlando suggested covering a six-point spread was risky.
The samples we have aren't reliable on paper, but it's clear that these are different teams in Orlando than they were before the coronavirus pandemic suspended the season. Keeping that in mind, here are Wednesday's best bets from the bubble.
Lines via William Hill Sportsbook
Toronto Raptors vs. Orlando Magic: Raptors -7
I have no earthly idea what is motivating this line. The Raptors have played the Magic three times. They've not only won all three games, but covered this spread in each of them. This is a back-to-back for the Magic. Toronto had Tuesday off. The Raptors have no noteworthy injuries to contend with that we know of. Orlando just lost Jonathan Isaac. The Magic have two big wins over lottery teams, but lost by 11 to a low-end playoff opponent in Indiana on Tuesday. How are they going to fare against a Raptors team that just slaughtered the Lakers and beat the Heat?
So who wins Raptors vs. Magic? And which side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Magic vs. Raptors spread you need to jump on Tuesday, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks, and find out.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz: Under 221.5
All three of Utah's games so far came in under this total. So have the last two Memphis games. The Jazz offense has been terrible in Orlando, scoring a pathetic 101.3 points per 100 possessions with Bojan Bogdanovic sidelined. The Grizzlies just lost Jaren Jackson Jr., and while the drop isn't steep, they were a little less than a point worse per 100 possessions without him this season. Brandon Clarke is up for a bigger role, but the Grizzlies are going to get worse offensively without their versatile big man.
Washington Wizards vs. Philadelphia 76ers: Wizards +10.5
The Nets' B squad beat the Bucks on Tuesday. I bring that up to make a point about the randomness of bubble ball. There is a degree of unpredictability inherent to playing under such unique circumstances. Now pair that with the inherent uncertainty of Philadelphia's entire season, in which its new starting point guard can go scoreless one game and drill the game-winner the next, and we have a game that is unlikely to make much cohesive sense. In that scenario, a double-digit spread is too tempting to pass up. I don't think the Wizards are going to beat the 76ers, but I didn't think the Nets were going to beat the Bucks either. I'm not laying double digits on anyone right now, and getting them against a team that runs so hot and cold is a gift.