There is no question that the team playing the best right now vs. the basketball odds is the Orlando Magic.
They swept the Charlotte Bobcats in the first round and then demolished the Atlanta Hawks in the second round. Now they will rest up and wait for the winner of Cleveland-Boston in NBA odds.
Basketball odds would favor Orlando against Boston while the Magic would probably be a slight underdog to Cleveland. LeBron James and the Cavaliers still get the hype although the Magic are the defending Eastern Conference champs. Orlando was so impressive against Atlanta that they set an NBA record. The Magic won the four games by a combined 101 points, the most ever in an NBA playoffs series.
Orlando is simply on fire. They have won 14 games in a row dating back to the regular season and 28 of their last 31. They can score inside with Dwight Howard and they can beat you from the outside with Vince Carter, Jameer Nelson and a strong contingent of other shooters. This is not the same team that lost to the Lakers in the finals a year ago. They are much better vs. basketball odds. Last year the Magic didn’t have Jameer Nelson because he was injured and they didn’t have Vince Carter. The Hawks couldn’t contain Nelson and if Cleveland is matched up against the Magic they will have no answer for Nelson.
Orlando is not taking anything for granted. They have been very humble in their wins and they are extremely focused. "The one thing I’ve said that I have real confidence in with our team is that our mindset, our preparation; and what we bring to the game in terms of intensity will be real good," head coach Stan Van Gundy, "If we get beat and when we get beat, it will be because somebody outplayed us. It won’t be because we weren’t ready to play."
If the Magic can get past the Cavaliers there is something else to consider in NBA odds. Last year they didn’t have home court advantage against the Lakers but this year they would. The Magic didn’t rest starters down the stretch as Los Angeles did and Orlando passed the Lakers in the overall standings and that means home court advantage if the two teams meet again in the finals. One note of caution for Orlando though is that three of the four teams in NBA history who started the playoffs 8-0 then lost in the conference finals.