Great Value In O/U NBA Odds For Heat vs. Raptors Game 4

Jason Lake

Monday, May 9, 2016 11:00 AM GMT

The Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat both lost their starting centers in Game 3. How do these injuries impact the basketball odds for Monday's Game 4 at the Triple-A?

Well, that changes things up a bit. On Saturday, the Miami Heat lost starting center Hassan Whiteside to a sprained right MCL during Game 3 of their Eastern Conference semifinal versus the Toronto Raptors. Then the Raptors lost starting center Jonas Valanciunas to a sprained right ankle, but not before they'd built a 13-point lead on the short-handed Heat. Toronto managed to hold on for a 95-91 victory, cashing in as 5.5-point road dogs and spoiling our NBA picks in the process.

So what the heck do we do about Game 4? We know Valanciunas won't be there; he's been ruled out for the rest of the series. Whiteside's status is officially up in the air, although he missed Sunday's practice and doesn't look too good for Monday's matchup (5:00 p.m. ET, TNT). At least we've still got some NBA odds to work with; Miami remains a 5.5-point home fave, with our consensus reports at press time showing 60 percent support for the Raptors.


 

Minus Men
In theory, the Raptors are in much better position to absorb the loss of their starting center. Valanciunas (22.6 PER, +1.1 PER) missed 22 games during the regular season with hand injuries; Toronto went 16-6 SU and 12-10 ATS in his absence. The Raps have Bismack Biyombo (14.9 PER, –0.1 BPM) providing excellent defense, and late-season addition Jason Thompson (14.7 PER, +0.9 BPM) has done much the same at the 4 and the 5. Thompson might even end up starting on Monday.

Again, in theory, Whiteside (25.7 PER, +2.5 BPM) is much more important to the Heat at this point. Chris Bosh (20.2 PER, +2.1 BPM) is out for the playoffs, leaving Amar'e Stoudamire (17.3 PER, –0.4 BPM), Josh McRoberts (9.9 PER, –1.4 BPM) and Udonis Haslem (9.1 PER, –4.5 BPM) as Miami's lone big men. Not good. Yet they outscored the Raptors by nine points once both starting centers were out of commission.

 

Biggie Smalls
Here's another wrench in the works: Kyle Lowry (22.1 PER, +6.8 BPM) was en fuego during the second half of Game 3. Lowry's awful shooting continued through the first half, but he got in the zone and ended up with 33 points on 11-of-19 from the floor, including 5-of-8 from downtown.

We're not quite convinced here at the ranch that Lowry has recovered from the bursitis in his right elbow, but it's possible – let's see if he continues shooting well first. Meanwhile, if Whiteside doesn't end up pulling the old Spirit of '76 and playing in Game 4, this situation falls nicely in Toronto's favor. With time to prepare, head coach Dwane Casey will presumably not let Luis Scola (minus-13 in five minutes on Saturday) be the man to soak up those frontcourt minutes for Valanciunas. Presumably. But instead of trusting Casey, we're recommending the Over, now that the teams are being “forced” to play more smallball, and the totals have dipped all the way to 188.5 at the open.

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Free NBA Pick: Over 188½
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle
Record: 37-41-1 ATS, 13-5-1 Total