The Magic will host the Cavaliers at the Amway Centre in their first NBA game of the new season on 23rd October 2019 at 23:00 UTC time.
Orlando have slowly trudged up the ladder in recent years after no playoff appearances for a long time. They made the postseason last year after sneaking into the top eight in the Eastern Conference. In the first round, they faced the second seed Toronto Raptors. The Magic beat the Raptors in Game 1 to shock many, but Toronto bounced back to claim the series 4-1. In retrospect, it was a fair result as the Raptors went all the way to win the NBA title.
After 2012, last season was the first time Orlando made the playoffs. Forward Nikola Vucevic played a big role in their push. He averaged 21.8 points and 12 rebounds on 51.8% shooting from the floor. Vucevic has been in Orlando for seven seasons, and his numbers have gradually increased. He was named as an All-Star courtesy of his performances last season. The Magic rewarded him with a four-year, $100 million contract in June which made him the highest-paid player at the franchise.
Aside from Vucevic, coach Steve Clifford has a talented squad to work with. Evan Fournier and D. J. Augustin are some experienced players who should be in his starting eleven. He also has Aaron Gordon and Jonathan Isaac, who should continue to develop and improve. Terence Ross is a solid sixth man on the bench for the Magic. They also have the 2017 number one pick in Markelle Fultz, who will hope to reignite his NBA career.
As for the Cavaliers, they endured a huge step down last season. Due to the departure of LeBron James to the Lakers, the Cavs finished 14th in the Eastern Conference. A 19-63 record meant that the Knicks were the only worse team than Cleveland in the east. They should improve on that position this season, even if the playoffs seem like a stretch. Kevin Love will have the responsibility of leading the side after being out most of last season with an injury.
He played just 22 games in total last year, which hampered his side’s output hugely. Love is still 31, and he can dial back to his Minnesota days now James is no longer in the picture. Tristan Thompson is the other veteran, and he had another solid year last season.
The Cavs have a host of promising youngsters starting with Collin Sexton. The point guard had a strong rookie year, averaging 16.7 points per game. Cedi Osman is also guaranteed to be a starter. Rookies Darius Garland and Dylan Windler should also have prominent roles to play this season.
Orlando Magic vs Cleveland Cavaliers Betting Tips
Orlando will be the favorites to beat the Cavs and get their opening win. They are a settled side, unlike the Cavaliers who have some new faces. The game won’t be explosive, and the total points should be under 226.5. Orlando should get the win by a margin of more than 10 points.