The fifth-seeded Orlando Magic are back in the NBA playoffs for the first time since 2020 and will be going after their first series victory since advancing to the conference finals in 2010. The Magic’s 47 regular-season wins in 2023-24 were the most they have had in more than a decade, and they will now go up against a talented Cleveland Cavaliers team.

The Cavs are the Eastern Conference’s No. 4 seed, having won just one more game than the Magic during the regular season. This battle could easily go six or seven games since these teams split their regular season series 2-2.

Magic vs. Cavaliers Odds, Spread, Moneyline, Over/Under – NBA Playoffs Betting Lines 4/20

Moneyline: Magic (+160), Cavaliers (-190)
Spread: Magic +4.5 (-110) , Cavaliers -4.5 (-110)
Total: Over/Under 206.5 points

Magic vs. Cavaliers Injury Report

The Orlando Magic go into the 2024 NBA playoffs’ opening round with a completely healthy roster, which is a big morale boost for this franchise as it prepares for its series with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Cavs, on the other hand, are expected to be without Dean Wade (knee), while several starters are dealing with aches and pains that might prevent them from being at 100 percent. Donovan Mitchell (knee), Caris LeVert (knee), and Darius Garland (back) all sat out Cleveland’s regular-season finale against the Hornets last weekend, but each did manage to play in their team’s previous game against Indiana.

So far, Wade appears to be the only player who will miss the opener.

Magic vs. Cavaliers Prediction and Pick

The last time these teams met was in late February -- a game that saw the Magic jump out to a commanding early lead, rally late to reclaim that double-digit lead, and eventually win 116-109. However, it’s important to note that Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell didn’t play in that game, and the five-time NBA All-Star is one of the Cavaliers’ key players at both ends of the court.

When he did appear against the Magic on Jan. 22, Mitchell scored 25 points and had an impressive 13 assists. He also made four steals in helping the Cavs pull away for a 126-99 win. Sam Merrill led the team in scoring with 26 points in that game, but Mitchell was the guy pulling all the strings.

The Magic will need to be extremely cautious and take care of the basketball against Cleveland, and Orlando has no margin for error in this crucial first-round series opener.

Perimeter shooting is going to be interesting to watch, too. Orlando shot fewer 3-pointers than all but one NBA team this season, as the Magic do most of their work inside the arc.

Cleveland, by contrast, has great depth when it comes to 3-point shooters, and the Cavs ranked eighth in the NBA for attempts from downtown during the regular season. The Magic might not shoot a lot of threes themselves, but they have done a great job this season limiting 3-pointers by their opponents. Orlando allowed just 11.5 threes per game during the regular season, and the Magic will need to continue to defend well in that area against the talented Cavs offense.

In Orlando’s case, this game will come down to the Magic’s ability to force the Cavs to play their type of game. The Magic lead the entire NBA in free-throw attempts, picking up a lot of fouls with relentless work in the paint. This is a tough team inside, and it forces opponents to play tough, gritty defense for four quarters.

I expect to see the Magic’s Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner driving downhill on the Cavs, and Cleveland will need to stop that onslaught if it is going to stand a chance at advancing into the second round. If Orlando can be as dangerous as it was in driving to the hoop during the regular season, we could see a phenomenal series.
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Total Points

I love the over on total points for this game, mainly because Cleveland’s Donovan Mitchell is healthy going into the series. These teams cleared this projected total in three of their four matchups this season, and Mitchell averaged 27.3 points per game in the three games that he played.

The Cavs are 7-3 cashing overs in their last 10 games, while the Magic are 5-5. It’s playoff basketball, and the Magic would prefer a low-scoring game with plenty of free throws, but Mitchell should show up big here in the series-opener.

The Pick: Over 206.5 Points (-110)

I’ve got the Cavs winning Game 1 at home with an offensive outing that might catch the Magic off guard. A lot is riding on how well Orlando defends Cleveland from behind the arc, and since the Cavs’ Sam Merrill currently appears able to play in this one, the Magic are certainly going to have their hands full.

A player like Merrill can get hot. He hit six threes in his last full game before missing most of the month of April to date. If Cleveland can reach 115 points, it should be able to take the series opener at home.

The Pick: Cleveland Cavaliers Moneyline (-190)

Donovan Mitchell

This one won’t come as a surprise, but given how tough it was for the Magic to guard Donovan Mitchell in three regular-season games, I think we’ll see an inspired performance from him in Game 1.

The All-Star can ignite the Cavs in this series by having a big game in the opener, and his 27.3 points-per-game average against Orlando during the regular season is hard to ignore. Cleveland won two of the three games that Mitchell played in against the Magic this season, including a 126-99 blowout earlier in the year.

Mitchell missed most of March, but he is now getting back into a rhythm. He is averaging 24 points in April and had 29 and 33 in his last two games.

The Pick: Donovan Mitchell Over 25.5 Points (-110)
Paolo Banchero Assists

I was looking for the best value in this matchup, and Paolo Banchero’s assist total feels too high here against Cleveland.

Sure, Banchero has improved from an average of 4.5 assists per game during the season’s first month to 5.9 per game in its most recent one, but I don’t expect him to be able to move the ball as freely against the Cleveland defense.

In the seven games he’s played against Cleveland during his NBA career to date, Banchero has cleared 5.5 assists just once. That happened in January during a lopsided Magic loss in which he scored 18 points to go with six assists. He has had four assists or fewer in his six other games against the Cavs, including the most recent one in late February.

I expect to see Banchero drive at the Cleveland defense a lot in Game 1 -- forcing contact that leads to free throws -- rather than distribute to teammates as often as we’re used to seeing from him.

The Pick: Paolo Banchero Under 5.5 Assists (-141)

Odds are subject to change*

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