You knew the streak of favorites covering wasn’t going to last forever.
But you didn’t expect the Orlando Magic to win straight up.
The top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks, who were the victims of the biggest point spread upset in the NBA in 27 years to the Brooklyn Nets earlier this month, were beat 122-110 by the Magic in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. The Magic were 14-point underdogs. That came after all four NBA favorites won and covered on Monday.
The troubling part for the Bucks is the game wasn’t all that close.
Magic win outright as huge underdogs
The Bucks were huge favorites to win the series and a massive favorite to win Game 1. The line grew from -11 to -14 at BetMGM before tipoff. That likely means most of the money came in on Milwaukee. The Bucks closed as -1250 favorites on the moneyline; the Magic was a +850 underdog.
According to Elisa Richardson, head of communications and public relations at BetMGM, MGM had a $665 wager on the Magic moneyline at +850, which paid out $6,317.50.
Richardson said a much bigger bet in the second half paid off. A two-leg second-half parlay for $25,000 of Magic to win at +700 with the over of 115 points paid out $382,000. Not bad.
Milwaukee’s defense, which was so good in the regular season, still hasn’t arrived to the Orlando bubble. The Magic scored at will. The Bucks made a run to start the second half and cut Orlando’s lead to 1 point, but the Magic had an answer of their own and held a double-digit lead through most of the fourth quarter. Giannis Antetokounmpo had a quiet fourth quarter. The Bucks never really made a run against the No. 8 seed Magic. Nikola Vucevic scored 35 points, Terrence Ross had 18 and the Magic got an unexpected 15 points from power forward Gary Clark.
It was an easy win for anyone who liked Orlando and the points, a great win for anyone brave enough to take the Magic on the moneyline and a bad day for anyone with a Bucks bet or future ticket.
Bucks have struggled
The Bucks haven’t looked like the same team since the season restarted. The loss to the Nets and other lackluster performances could be ignored. Milwaukee had the top seed in the East all but locked up and they had little to play for. The loss to Orlando, especially with how easy it was for the Magic, is a lot worse.
Perhaps it’s just a matter of turning on the switch. The Toronto Raptors lost their playoff opener to the Magic last season and won a title. But the Bucks have looked so out of sorts in the bubble that it’s worth wondering if they can regain the momentum they had in the regular season before coronavirus put the NBA on hiatus. They were still one of two clear betting favorites at BetMGM to win the NBA title along with the Los Angeles Lakers, but there should be some worry from anyone who bet the Bucks already. And it’s not like they have home-court advantage to help them get out of it.
The Bucks won all four regular-season meeting against the Magic and did so by an average of 17 points. The Bucks were an impossible -10000 series favorite over the Magic, who were +1600 to win the series at BetMGM. The Bucks might win the series, but there’s a lot more doubt about that now.
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