Wednesday, March 22 2023

At 1-9, the Houston Rockets currently own the NBA’s worst record. But they could have an opportunity to change that with Monday’s visit to another young and rebuilding club in Orlando, where the Magic (2-8) are only a game ahead in the early 2022-23 standings.

If you’re looking to do some last-minute betting research for the Rockets-Magic matchup, you’re in luck! We’ll give you the latest point spread, money line odds and over/under number, as well as the information you’ll need to make the smartest bet at BetMGM.

The game starts at 6:15 p.m. Central and can be seen via AT&T SportsNet Southwest (in Houston markets) or on NBA League Pass.

Despite the lowly records, it should be an entertaining matchup, since both teams are loaded with top prospects from high in the first round of both the 2021 and 2022 NBA draft classes.

Orlando features the likes of Jalen Suggs in the backcourt and Paolo Banchero and Franz Wagner in the frontcourt, while Houston counters with Jalen Green at guard and prospects such as Alperen Sengun and rookies Jabari Smith Jr. and Tari Eason on the front line. For those types of players, it’s a showcase game versus many of their young peers, with all looking for a career breakthrough.

Smith missed Houston’s previous game — a loss in Minnesota on Saturday — while ill, but he is listed as probable to return for Monday’s matchup versus another top rookie (Banchero) in Orlando.

The lines, courtesy of BetMGM

Click here to place your bets at BetMGM.

Rockets at Magic injury report:

  • Rockets: Jae’Sean Tate out (right ankle soreness), Bruno Fernando out (left knee soreness), TyTy Washington questionable (left knee sprain), Jabari Smith Jr. probable (illness), Jalen Green probable (left knee contusion)

  • Magic: Cole Anthony out (right internal oblique tear), Markelle Fultz out (left big toe fracture), Moritz Wagner out (right midfoot sprain), Gary Harris out (left knee injury recovery), Jonathan Isaac out (left knee injury recovery)

Advice and prediction

These two teams feel similar in makeup, but Orlando’s top rookie — Banchero, taken at No. 1 overall in the 2022 first round — has clearly outplayed Smith, who was taken two picks later. Banchero is averaging 22.9 points (45.8% FG), 8.5 rebounds, and 3.6 assists, while Smith has started the season with more pedestrian averages of 10.8 points (30.5% FG, 30.4% on 3-pointers) and 6.1 rebounds.

Even if Smith is able to play, which isn’t certain with his recent illness, Banchero looks to be more NBA ready as a rookie — and it shouldn’t come as a surprise if he uses Monday to make a statement.

Prediction: Magic 116, Rockets 110

Get more betting analysis and predictions at Sportsbook Wire.


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