After both teams were extended to Game 7, the NBA odds favor the Toronto Raptors to beat the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Do you trust Toronto?
It took a while, but the Toronto Raptors and the Miami Heat both survived the Eastern Conference quarterfinals. We were on the Raptors at a chunky -337 here at the ranch to beat the Indiana Pacers, so that's good, but we also went with the Charlotte Hornets at +125 over Miami. All right, we'll call it a draw.
The series prices are in for the second round of the playoffs, and it's Toronto getting the benefit of the doubt at –160 over at The Greek. Interesting. The Raptors have home-court advantage as the No. 2 seed in the East, so that helps. But are these NBA odds a bit too generous toward Toronto? Did this team not come within an eyelash of honking yet another first-round series?
Fair questions. Let's start by asking our friendly friends from FiveThirtyEight what they think about the Heat-Raptors. Let's see... they've got Toronto winning this series 55 percent of the time. According to our amazing SBR Betting Odds Converter, that works out to –122 on the moneyline, vigorish not included. Looks like the Heat are indeed the value team for your NBA picks.
But hold on: Let's consider all the changes these two teams have been through. FiveThirtyEight's “CARM-Elo” system does update following every game, but it still won't have fully taken into account the absence of Chris Bosh (20.2 PER, +2.1 BPM), who hasn't played since early February because of blood clots. Then again, Joe Johnson (15.2 PER, +0.8 BPM) was a late addition to the Miami roster, and rookie Josh Richardson (11.4 PER, +0.6 BPM) has been a much better player since the All-Star break. They don't add up to one Chris Bosh, but close enough for government work.
Agent No. 10
Meanwhile, as we said in our preview of Game 7 between the Raptors and Pacers, Kyle Lowry (22.1 PER, +6.8 BPM) is damaged goods with that sore right elbow. Lowry was at it again on Sunday, shooting 5-for-14 and whiffing on all four of his trey attempts as Toronto (–6 at home) held on for an 89-84 victory. The Raps lost each of the last four games of that series ATS, and the opener as well.
DeMar DeRozan (21.5 PER, +1.4 BPM) remains under suspicion, too. He scored 30 points in Game 7, including some very timely baskets, but DeRozan needed 32 shots to get the job done. He'll look good in a Los Angeles Lakers uniform next year, doing many of the things that Kobe Bryant used to do, but with worse defense. And the Raps won't have the same advantage in the paint this series that they did against Indiana, not with Hassan Whiteside (25.7 PER, +2.5 BPM) manning the middle for Miami. We'll take our chances with the underdogs, thank you kindly.
Free NBA Series Pick: Miami +140
Best Line Offered: at TheGreek
NBA Record: 36-40-1 ATS, 13-4-1 Total