NBA Picks: Heat vs. Raptors

Jordan Sharp

Sunday, February 3, 2013 1:26 PM GMT

Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013 1:26 PM GMT

Matinee hoops get us started on Sunday afternoon in the NBA, all of it leading up to the big game in New Orleans this evening. But who is our NBA pick between the Miami Heat and theToronto Raptors?

NBA Picks: Heat vs. Raptors

I know you can’t possibly want to watch a billion hours of pregame coverage on the Super Bowl, and some of you may be desperately trying to pad your bankroll for the big game. Hopefully that’s not the case, but let’s see if I can get a winner with this afternoon’s 2 PM EST start.

The Miami Heat come off another loss this season in Indiana on Friday, and now they have to travel much farther north into Toronto to face the Raptors. The Heat are -4 ½ road favorites on the NBA odds boards in this one, with a total of 195 ½. With Rudy Gay now a Raptor, and Toronto getting healthy, will Miami have what it takes to cash in Toronto?

Formula for success?

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think the Pacers somehow are better at beating the Heat than everyone else in the Eastern Conference, nor do I think they have the formula for beating the Heat. However, it has been discussed after the Heat lost again in Indiana. I just point them to last season’s playoffs when the Heat won three straight. 

Anyway, this is Miami’s fourth game in seven days all on the road, and it being in Air Canada Center isn’t going to help much. The Heat are already 1-2 SU and ATS on this road trip, and could be dealing with some mid season blues. This is the time of the season when legs and backs start to hurt, as well as nagging injuries start to grasp hold. 

While the Heat are healthy on paper, they haven’t been healthy on the road this season. Miami is 11-11 SU on the road this season and 9-13 ATS when playing away from Miami. The Heat have hot been good on the road in the regular season for basically their entire time with this current roster and playing in their fourth game in seven days is not going to help.

New look Raptors

Gone is Jose Calderon eating up Kyle Lowry’s minutes, and in comes Rudy Gay, a smooth shooting small forward who everyone needs to lay off of. It’s not his fault he is overpaid, and I think he is about to prove why he got that contract in the first place. Gay debuted with Toronto on Friday as the Raptors dominated the Clippers at home. Gay scored 20 points on 50% from the field and led the Raptors.

If that doesn’t get Raptors fans giddy, getting their former number one pick back could help as well. Andrea Bargnani, the walking injury bug could be set to return to the court tonight against the Heat. Bargnani has been out for the better part of two months with an elbow injury, and he has been practicing for some time now. It looks like he almost played on Friday, so bet that he will be out there this afternoon.

Toronto also got back rookie Jonas Valanciunas back from his broken finger on Friday, so the new look Raptors could be making their ‘official’ debut tonight. That is going to bring some energy to the crowd, even if the game is an afternoon start.

[gameodds]5/216925/43/us[/gameodds]

The Sharp Pick

The Raptors are one of the better ATS teams at home this season, as they have cashed 14 of their 23 home games this season for 61%. Even though the Raptors have only had marginal success against the Heat in the past, this is not your fathers’ Raptors. This is the best team Toronto has had in a long time, and Miami is probably tired. The Raptors have covered two of their last three games against the Heat in Canada, and I think they make it three out of four. This game will be close so, put Toronto down as one of your NBA picks this Superbowl Sunday.

NBA Free Picks: Raptors +4 ½ 

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