For Friday’s action we go north of the border to see how the Miami Heat will upset the Toronto Raptors in this Eastern Conference showdown. Can we find value in backing the dogs with our NBA picks tonight?
Do you Remember When…
Toronto was a force to be reckoned with and Miami was just a shell of what they were last year? Since the break things have changed a bit for both squads. After trading for Dragic and getting some new life from some new faces Miami has started again to play solid basketball. They are 7-5 since the All Star break and are fourth in the league in shooting from the field in that time frame at 46%. Toronto… I don’t really know what to say except they are bad right now. The Raptors are 1-9 since the break and the high octane system has been running on fumes. They are shooting only 43.6% from the field since the break. The only argument to be made for them is that they have played a lot of good teams in that stretch, but for a team that planned to go deep into the playoffs over a month ago, things have gone pretty much as bad as they could.
Defense Wins Championships
The Raptors have not been good this year defensively. For the year they are allowing 46% from the field, fourth worst in the league. It has been even worse the last three games allowing almost 49%, again, fourth worst for this span of games. Miami has not been a ton better this year allowing 45.6% from the field, but they have been better recently allowing 44.8% the last three. On the glass the Raptors are simply allowing opponents too many boards on the defensive end and not getting any second chance opportunities. The last three games they are second worst in the league in defensive rebounds allowed at 37.7 per game average. Miami is playing solid D all around recently. They are second in the league the last three games in causing turnovers at 18 per game, and they are limiting ball movement and assists in that span allowing 19.3 assists per game for seventh best in the league.
I think we got the NBA odds makers in a good spot. They have to make Toronto the favorite, and they have at -5.5, but it is Miami that is playing better ball right now. This is the time of year we start seeing separation from teams going to the playoffs and those staying home. Miami believes they have shot, otherwise there is no way they trade for Dragic. The Bosh injury happened at a horrible time, if he was playing they would be a team to reckon with. Still, something I have always admired about Spoelsta is his teams don’t quit. This the tipping point for Toronto, since the break they are last in the league in rebounding, fourth to last in assists, and shooting horribly. The Heat are not any kind of pushover and we think the losing continues for Toronto today. Good value on a team that is well coached, has a real solid point guard, and is more talented than I think people realize. We add them to tonight's NBA picks on the plus money line as the value looks too good to pass up.
Free NBA Picks: Miami +185 at 5Dimes