Game: Miami Heat @ Toronto Raptors
Time: 7:30 p.m.
Odds: Heat +3, Raptors -3
The Toronto Raptors will try to reach the .500 mark for the first time since Dec. 9 tonight when they close a four-game homestand against the Miami Heat. The Raptors (37-38) won their second game in a row Sunday with a 114-104 win over the Washington Wizards. This will be the Raptors’ sixth attempt to reach .500 since they were 13-13. The Raptors will play their first home game against a team above .500. Miami is 40-35 overall.
Miami just suffered a humiliating 129-100 home loss to the Brooklyn Nets. Miami is 2-1 down in the season series against Toronto. The teams have not played since Nov. 16 when O.G. Anunoby scored 32 points in the Raptors’ 112-104 home victory.
In winning for the sixth time in the past seven games on Sunday, Toronto got 29 points from Anunoby, 28 from Fred VanVleet, and 19 points and 11 rebounds from Pascal Siakam. Scottie Barnes scored 13 points despite missing the previous two games due to a wrist injury. As of Monday, the Raptors are ninth in the Eastern Conference and are in good position to qualify for the play-in tournament.
The Heat are three games ahead of the Raptors. Miami is currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and still has a chance to finish sixth and avoid the play-in tournament. The Heat have split their past four games. Tyler Herro scored 23 points in the loss to Brooklyn. Bam Adebayo added 16.
The Heat’s normally strong defense has broken down as of late. Miami lacked consistency against the Nets. They ended up allowing 129 points. That came after giving up 120 to the New York Knicks. The Heat rank second in the NBA in points allowed per game (109.9). Miami is 4-2 SU in its last six games. In those six games, the Heat gave up 113 or more points five times. Only once, against lowly Detroit, did the Miami defense come through. The Heat beat the Pistons 112-100.
Miami has struggled against Toronto recently going 2-4 SU and 1-5 ATS in the last six meetings. In the last 19 trips to Toronto, the Heat have just five wins. The games have been relatively low scoring too. In the last ten meetings, the two teams have combined to average 213 points per game. The three games played this year have produced just 208.3.
The Raptors have won two of the three games this season and Toronto has covered the spread in all three. Toronto is 5-2 SU in its last seven games. They have been even better at home where they are 9-1 SU in their last 10 games.
Because of the team’s tendencies toward lower-scoring games, they go up against some low totals. The past five meetings have seen totals between 211 and 216. The Over is 4-1-1 in the last six head-to-head matchups. With their defensive issues, Miami has seen the total go Over in six of its last eight games.
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