Sports betting odds continue to favor the Orlando Magic, in large part because they have center Dwight Howard.
The league’s top big man won his second straight NBA defensive player of the year award on Tuesday. Internet sports betting statistics indicated that he led the league in blocks and rebounds this season.
Sports betting handicappers are following the Magic throughout the NBA Playoffs as Orlando has a real chance to win it all. Howard is a big reason the Magic are so good. He received 576 total points, including 110 first-place votes in winning the defensive player of the year award. Atlanta’s Josh Smith was a very distance second with 136 points, while Charlotte’s Gerald Wallace was third with 113 points.
Howard was so dominant on the defensive end of the floor that he averaged 13.2 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game this season. Only Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Hakeem Olajuwon and Ben Wallace have led the NBA in those categories in the same season. No player has ever done it in two years until now. It should be noted in Internet sports betting though that blocks were not kept as an official statistic until 1973. "I think it’s a well-deserved honor," Magic coach Stan Van Gundy said. "He’s the most impactful defensive player."
Howard could easily be winning this award for a lot of years. He was the youngest player to ever win the award last season and he is only 24 years old. Howard is so good in the middle that opposing teams shot an NBA-low 43.8 shooting percentage against the Magic. "You always have to know he’s going to be there. He has great instinct. It’s always on your mind. You know if you beat your man, you still have to get around Dwight." Orlando’s Vince Carter said.
Just how important are defense and rebounding in winning NBA Playoff games vs. the sports betting odds? Charlotte head coach Larry Brown said that Howard was the most valuable player in the first game of their playoff series as he blocked nine shots. Orlando is a very good team and perhaps the only team in the Eastern Conference that can challenge LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Orlando has won the Southeast Division title three straight years. This season they had 59 wins in the regular season, second to only Cleveland who finished with 61 regular season victories.