The Philadelphia 76ers can wrap up the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the first time in 20 years when they host the skidding Orlando Magic on Friday night. The 76ers (47-23) hold a one-game edge over the Brooklyn Nets for the best record in the East and will secure the No. 1 seed with one win in their final two games. Despite back-to-back losses at Indiana and Miami, Philadelphia takes the conference's best home record into Friday's matchup with Orlando (21-49), which suffered its fifth consecutive defeat with a 116-93 drubbing in Atlanta on Thursday.
Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. ET from Wells Fargo Center. The latest Sixers vs. Magic odds from William Hill Sportsbook list Philadelphia as a 14-point favorite. The over-under for total points is set at 213.5. Before making any Magic vs. Sixers picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned over $9,100 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. The model is up over $1,100 on its top-rated picks this season and entered Week 21 of the 2020-21 NBA schedule on a stunning 99-64 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread dating back to last season. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Magic vs. 76ers spread: 76ers -14
- Magic vs. 76ers over-under: 213.5 points
- Magic vs. 76ers money line: 76ers -1450; Magic +850
- ORL: The Magic have lost their last five by an average of 22.6 points
- PHI: The Sixers are 11-2 against Southeast Conference opponents
Why the Magic can cover
Orlando's offense has suffered since trading away its top scorers in a flurry of deadline deals, but among the bright spots has been the play of rookie point guard Cole Anthony. The No. 15 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, Anthony had 12 points, seven rebounds and six assists in Thursday's 116-93 loss in Atlanta. It marked the 16th time in 18 games that he has scored in double figures, including each of the last four contests.
Another rookie guard, R.J. Hampton, had a team-high 18 points Thursday and is averaging 15.9 points over his last eight games. Center Mo Bamba was coming on strong, averaging 17.3 points and 16.0 rebounds in a three-game stretch last week, but he has missed the last two due to illness and his availability is in question. Wendell Carter had a double-double (12 points, 11 rebounds) in Thursday's loss and has snagged 25 boards in his last two games.
Why the Sixers can cover
Philadelphia's last two losses came in the wake of an eight-game winning streak, but the team can attach an asterisk to each of those setbacks. MVP candidate Joel Embiid sat out Tuesday's loss in Indiana due to illness and hardly looked like himself in registering season lows of six points and two rebounds vs. Miami on Thursday. The fourth-leading scorer in the NBA (28.8 points), the 7-foot Embiid had averaged 33.3 points over his three previous games. He's officially listed as probable for Friday.
Embiid had 21 points and nine rebounds in the Sixers' 116-92 rout of the Magic on New Year's Eve, sitting out the fourth quarter of a game in which Philadelphia led by 37 points in the first half. Guard Seth Curry, who had a streak of five straight games scoring in double figures halted on Thursday, matched Embiid with 21 points in that matchup vs. Orlando. The Sixers will make things tough on the Magic with the league's No. 6 scoring defense (108.1 points).
How to make Magic vs. Sixers picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, projecting the teams to combine for 207 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time. You can get that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Magic vs. Sixers? And which side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the spread you need to jump on, all from the model that is on a roll on NBA picks.