With the revelation that one of the members of the big three will likely miss this game, are the Heat a good bet here, or will the undervalued Raptors come away with a cover and/or a straight up win?
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Bosh and baby
Chris Bosh did not make the flight to Toronto because he is staying behind to be with his wife who gave birth yesterday, and it appears as if the Heat are planning to play without him tonight in Canada. There were reports earlier that suggested he still might take a late flight Tuesday to come play, however it seems as if that is not the case.
Without Bosh tonight, the Heat will have to rely more on Lebron James, Dwyane Wade and the rest of the Heat roll players. As -5 ½ favorites in this one and without Bosh, I think the NBA odds have slightly overvalued Miami here. They will have almost no post presence without Bosh, and with the physicality of the Raptors’ front court, I could see the rebounding and paint points dominated by Toronto. When you’re playing at home, that and solid defense can win you a game SU, let alone a +5 ½ cover here.
As they were last season, the Heat are dead last in rebounding this season with Bosh, so imagine the strain this will put on James and Wade to make jump shots and rebound tonight. When the Heat lack second chance points, they can be beaten. Pounding the Heat in the paint is the recipe for a chance at success, but solid defense can go a long way too.
With Wade still likely not at 100%, DeMar DeRozan should continue his hot scoring touch tonight, as he has averaged just over 20 points per game through three games. Granted the Raptors haven’t played very good competition yet, but for big games, I see the Raptors coming to play. DeRozan should also play a key role in defending both Wade and James tonight.
If Rudy Gay can bring his defense tonight, the Raptors might not even need him to do much more than the 15 points per game he has been averaging. His shot has been off to start the season (18-55) but if he can get it going on both ends of the floor tonight, the Raptors have great sports betting value against the overvalued Heat.
The Sharp Pick
The Heat have started the year in the hole, and a long flight up to Toronto, and being without their best big man isn’t going to help anything. However another early season hangover is going on in Toronto with Jonas Valanciunas. Head coach Dwayne Casey has played his young big man less than 20 minutes a game and even though he has been in minimal foul trouble and pretty effective, he has seen the pine more than the court.
I think that will change tonight. If Valanciunas is getting minutes and playing like we know he can, it will take a lot of pressure off of Gay and the rest of the Raptors. Without Bosh in the lineup, I expect the young big man out of Lithuania to have a stellar game, and see plenty of court time.
This should in turn get open shots for the likes of Gay, DeRozan and Kyle Lowry, and I think it will be enough to beat Miami. Toronto is a very undervalued team because they are perceived as a small market. However this city of 2.5 million should be on its’ feet tonight in the Air Canada Centre, and I expect a solid showing from the Raptors.My Pick: Raptors +5 ½