NBA Picks: Focus On The Total When Betting Heat vs. Raptors Game 7

Jason Lake

Sunday, May 15, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

Sunday, May. 15, 2016 1:00 PM UTC

The Toronto Raptors are playing another Game 7 at home, this time against the Miami Heat. Toronto's a 4.5-point favorite on Sunday's NBA odds board. Will the Raps cover?

It was fun while it lasted. Once again, the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat failed to go Under the posted total of 188.5 points; neither team shot particularly well Friday night in Game 6 of their Eastern Conference semifinal, but Kyle Lowry (12-of-27 for 36 points) and Goran Dragic (12-of-21 for 30 points) got the Oveer to the pay window in a 103-91 Miami victory.

Which sets up Game 7 of this woebegone series Sunday afternoon (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) at the ACC. As we go to press, the Raptors are holding steady at –4.5 on the NBA odds board, despite the early consensus leaning toward Miami at 56 percent. Under 189 is still the preferred commodity, according to 55 percent of bettors, but have we already gone to the well once too often?

Three Blind Mice
This series has become too chaotic to pin down reliably – not that you can expect steady results when you're making your NBA picks, of course. Sharp bettors were on the Raptors and the Under Friday night, and that didn't pan out too well. However, the Raps are 2-4 ATS versus the Heat and 4-9 ATS in these playoffs, and they're obviously not getting any love from the officials – check out that basket interference call against Bismack Biyombo (16.0 PER, 0.0 BPM in the postseason) from Game 6, if you haven't already.

Would it be too clever to compare Sunday's contest to Game 7 of the first-round series between the Raptors and the Indiana Pacers? Maybe a little. Injuries weren't as much of a concern during that game; this time, Toronto will be without Jonas Valanciunas (27.7 PER, +5.1 PER), while Miami is still missing Hassan Whiteside (24.5 PER, +5.1 PER) in the middle. But there is one similarity I'd like to ponder before we make our pick.


Justise vs. Myles
One of the adjustments Miami made in Game 6 was to put rookie Justise Winslow (8.4 PER, –0.6 BPM) in the starting frontcourt. That worked out okay. Winslow had 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting, although he was the only Heat starter in the red at minus-2 on the day. Compare and contrast to Indiana's Myles Turner (14.4 PER, 0 –1.0 BPM), who gave Toronto fits during the first round after he was promoted to the starting five.

Winslow and Turner were both talked up as possible Top-3 picks in the 2015 NBA Draft. Instead, they slipped. Winslow, from Duke, went No. 10 overall to the Heat. Turner, from Texas, went No. 11 to the Pacers. They're both raw offensive talents who played strong defense as rookies. Turner ended up shooting 2-of-11 in Game 7 against Toronto, which the Raptors won 89-84 (Under 190). Indiana cashed in as a 6-point road dog. What are the sharp picks for Game 7? The road team and the Under. Too much of a stretch? Perhaps, but we'll give the Under one more spin at the best price on the board.

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Free NBA Pick: Under 189½ -105
Best Line Offered: at Heritage
Record: 37-41-1 ATS, 13-8-1 Total

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