Heat vs. Raptors Odds & Pick: Toronto Holds Key Advantage
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Kyle Lowry.
- The Miami Heat will take on the Toronto Raptors in Wednesday night NBA action.
- The Heat really struggle to defend the 3, which is something the Raptors can take advantage of with a healthy lineup.
- Check out Kenny Ducey's full betting preview complete with updated odds and a pick based on his analysis below.
Heat vs. Raptors Odds
|Moneyline||+143 / -175|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
It’s been a rocky start to the season for the Heat, who have been in a back-slide ever since losing Jimmy Butler.
Miami’s leader has been on the floor for just six of the team’s 12 games and will miss his fifth consecutive game against Toronto on Wednesday under the league’s health and safety protocols.
The same can be said for key off-season acquisition Avery Bradley (protocols) and Meyers Leonard (shoulder), who have been sidelined since Jan. 9.
Joining those two on the injury report for Wednesday are guard Tyler Herro, listed as questionable due to neck spasms, and Goran Dragic, who is dealing with a bruised right foot. It’s safe to say the Heat, despite winning their last game, don’t come into this one with a whole lot of promise.
Monday night’s victory over Detroit snapped a three-game losing streak for Miami, which began when its roster was decimated with the losses of Butler, Bradley, and to a lesser extent, Leonard. But it certainly wasn’t pretty.
The Heat came out flat, trailed at one point by 19, and needed an absolutely heroic performance from Bam Adebayo to power past the three-win Pistons. The All-Star posted 18 points and 11 rebounds, tormenting Blake Griffin down low on defense along the way.
There’s no denying the Heat can stop interior scoring thanks to the efforts of Adebayo, but defending the perimeter has been a different story.
With Butler, without Butler, the story has remained the same for the Heat: Teams are beating them from deep.
Miami is giving up the most attempts per game from 25-to-29 feet in basketball — 27.8 per game — and teams have shot 39.6% from that range, the third-best mark in the NBA.
This is due in large part to its defense on above-the-break 3s, which fall at 39.7% against the Heat.
Overall, only the Pelicans have allowed more than the 40.8 attempted 3s per game Miami is yielding.
This is going to be problematic against the Raptors, who tailor their game-plan around the 3 and attempt the fourth-fewest shots in the paint in the NBA.
Simply put, the first seven games for the Raptors were disastrous. Toronto touted just a win over the Knicks — never a good sign — and failed to even keep its losses close, aside from a four-point defeat in New Orleans at the hands of one of the worst defensive teams in basketball.
Since then, though, things have really begun to pick up. The Raptors snapped out of their offensive funk against the Kings on Jan. 8, which was followed by two one-point losses and now three consecutive wins.
With that, Toronto enters on a heater, well-rested without a back-to-back in a week, and with only Pat McCaw sitting on the injury report.
The Raptors also match up well with the Heat; Miami’s aforementioned affinity for giving up the 3 plays right into their hands. The Raptors are attempting the most shots from 25-to-29 feet in the NBA (27.1 on average) while hitting 38.6% of them, which ranks fifth in the league.
In case you don’t want to scroll back up, that’s the range where Miami has struggled mightily, allowing the most attempts in basketball on average and the third-highest conversion rate (39.6%). Unsurprisingly, the Raptors also rate among the top teams in the league in above-the-break 3s.
Aside from an offensive edge on the perimeter, the Raptors should also be able to stymie Adebayo down low.
A 28-point-performance might not be in the cards again for Bam, considering the Raptors have the best paint defense in the NBA, allowing opponents to score at just a 34% clip, a number that has dipped to an even-better 32.4% over the last five games.
Naturally, riding in on a three-game winning streak, the public is all over the Raptors as such short favorites. Toronto was getting 56% of the money as of Wednesday morning, but the line has stayed put at -4, and just 32% of the money being wagered is on the Raptors, signaling big money on the Heat.
Though taking a public side is always a tough pill to swallow, the matchup seems overwhelmingly great here for the Raptors, who are just rounding into form.
There’s good reason to be skeptical of their three-game run, with two wins over the Hornets and a win over the exhausted and shorthanded Mavericks on the second night of a back-to-back. But I think there’s value in backing the season-long trends here, which tilt heavily toward Toronto.
The Raptors, who attempt more 3s than anybody, will be rested, fully-staffed and should have their way from deep.
While Miami’s struggles to defend the 3 pre-date Butler and Bradley’s trip to the health and safety protocols list, it’s worth noting that opponents are shooting 38.2% from 3 with Butler off the floor this season and scoring 113 points per 100 possesions, compared to 35.9% and 104.3 with him on.
Bradley’s presence on the court has had a similar impact; the Heat have allowed seven more points per 100 possessions with him off the court.
Down two key defenders, and potentially their second-leading scorer on the young season in Herro, it’s hard to see Miami getting a whole lot done in this one.
Throw in the fact that Toronto has been elite at stopping the opposition in the paint, and it gets even bleaker, considering how much the Heat have had to lean on Adebayo of late.
I’m going to lay the points with Toronto but will be waiting to see if I can get a better number. If Herro is ruled out, though, expect this to move even further toward the Raptors.
Pick: Raptors -4