Miami can still reach the #1 seed in the East if they power their way through the last few weeks of the regular season, but the Raptors are a tough matchup, and the NBA Odds are close due to all of the Miami injuries.
Wade doubtful, other guards
Much like the last few games for the Heat, Dwyane Wade is looking doubtful for this one, while Mario Chalmers looks like a game time decision at best, and Ray Allen has already been ruled out. This is a big blow to the Miami backcourt, and if that’s the case, can we trust the Heat in the NBA Odds?
The sportsbooks have the Heat as -5 ½ favorites tonight against the Raptors, in what could become a second round playoff matchup in the East. However I’m not too intrigued by the Raptors here either. They are coming off of a game yesterday afternoon in Orlando, a game that was a lot closer than most suspected. However, the total of 194 ½ or even 195 ½ at some shops seems ripe for an under bet in this late season playoff-tune up.
Without most of their backcourt, the Heat are going to have to rely on Lebron James more to initiate the offense, and while they are good in those situations, they are better when they can reserve them for the end of the game, and not the entire game. Being without Allen and potentially without Chalmers really hurts the Heat’s outside shooting as well, as those two take the most, and second most threes of any Heat player.
One of the main reasons why the Raptors have gone 9-6 ATS this season playing on no rest is that the books have undervalued them. However tonight it is their total that is overvalued, and not the spread.
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The Sharp Pick
Even though the Raptors are 10-5 cashing the over on the second night of a back to back, I think the under is actually the play here. Their game yesterday was in Orlando, which is only a short flight from Miami. Plus the game was in the afternoon, giving them at least another eight hours of rest and recovery time, which is basically another half day for these guys. When trying to defend the Heat, it’s a big help.
Also, Miami has been an under cashing machine recently. The Heat have cashed the under in five of their last six games overall, as well as four of their last six home games. The under is now 12-8 in Miami’s last 20 games.
Two in a row, and two of the last three matchups between these two have gone under, and all three happened this season. This is the fourth and final meet up, unless of course they meet in the 2nd round of the playoffs. That’s why I see this as a tune-up game for the Raptors. They will try and treat this game as a playoff game, because it’s likely they meet up if Miami stays at #2 and the Raptors stick at #3.
The Raptors have cashed the under at 26-18 this season when playing within the Eastern Conference, and I see that trend continuing tonight against Miami.
My Pick: UNDER 194 ½