After a big win over the Lakers to kick off their bubble slate, the Toronto Raptors face another tough test against the Miami Heat on Monday. Photo from @SNstats (Twitter).
- Raptors, second in the East, face off against fourth-ranked Heat
- Miami has won both regular season meetings this year
- See the odds, our analysis and best bets for the game below
Both the Toronto Raptors (47-18, 2nd in East) and Miami Heat (42-24, 4th in East) kicked off their bubble schedule in style. Now, they go head-to-head in an intriguing second game — one that could easily be a preview of the Eastern Conference Final.
Toronto Raptors vs Miami Heat Odds
|Team||Odds at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Toronto Raptors||-2.5 (-110)||-138||O 221 (-110)|
|Miami Heat||+2.5 (-110)||+118||U 221 (-110)|
Odds taken Aug 2. Tip-off is 1:30pm ET
The Raptors are coming off a rugged 107-92 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, while the Heat blasted the Denver Nuggets 125-105. If you’re scoring at home, those are double-digit W’s over the #1 and #3 seeds in the West.
The Raptors vs Heat odds currently have the defending champs as slight 2.5-point favorites. Let’s find out if they’re the best bet.
Lowry Carries Raptors to Victory
There’s a reason oddsmakers have the Raptors’ title odds in the second tier below the Lakers, Clippers and Bucks: there’s no go-to guy in the clutch, now that Kawhi Leonard is gone.
Kyle Lowry took over for the @Raptors 😤
14 REB (career-high)
57.8 FPTS pic.twitter.com/O7Mvw6MnWe
— NBA Fantasy (@NBAFantasy) August 2, 2020
But in their win Saturday over LA, Toronto showed a glimpse of why they’re going to be a tough out in any series. Kyle Lowry was unstoppable in the win, pouring in 33 points, 14 rebounds and six assists. While his impact was the greatest, contributions come from all over a talented roster, and any hot hand could rise up to take big shots for the Raptors.
OG Anunoby’s ball skills continue to improve. So fun to watch develop in real time pic.twitter.com/X7RjD0w238
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) August 2, 2020
In this game, OG Anunoby was the x-factor, doing his best to slow LeBron James, while going 8-for-9 from the floor with 23 points. Fred VanVleet also chipped in 13 points and 11 assists.
Heat a Bad Matchup for Toronto
The Raptors have lost only 17 times all season, but they’ve lost twice to four different teams: the Bucks, Clippers, Celtics and Heat.
Bam Adebayo: “I feel like we got a great chance. I feel we can go against anybody. That’s what I believe in.”
— Five Reasons Sports Network (@5ReasonsSports) August 1, 2020
While Toronto’s diversified offense works well against most teams, the Heat’s strong on-ball and team defense doesn’t lend well to finding open shots through cutting and ball movement. It forces individuals to make plays – usually contested, and usually not what they’re used to.
Butler & Bam lead the @MiamiHEAT!@JimmyButler: 22 PTS, 4 REB, 7 AST, 3 STL@Bam1of1: 22 PTS, 9 REB, 6 AST pic.twitter.com/y3gXBMY3yo
— NBA (@NBA) August 1, 2020
Against the Nuggets, Miami took a close contest and blew things wide open with a 38-22 third quarter explosion to put the game on early ice. All-stars Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler each had 22 points, while Kelly Olynyk emerged from a capable group of reserves to add 20 points of his own.
Expect Defense to Grind Out Stops
It’s not a pleasant night when having to play either the Raptors or the Heat. Toronto leads the NBA in fewest points allowed per game, and rank second in defensive rating to only Milwaukee.
OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam masterfully defending the LeBron and Anthony Davis two-man game pic.twitter.com/QdwIhOXRTy
— Jackson Frank (@jackfrank_jjf) August 2, 2020
They’re tops in the league in three-point defense, as teams only hit at a 33.6% clip, and they are second in field goal percentage defense and points in the paint allowed. That formula is built to stack wins.
That Miami Heat jail defense don’t play https://t.co/juiYP4VeT0
— keanu (@Keanu_242) August 1, 2020
Miami is just a shade lower than Toronto in most categories, ranking fifth in three-point and seventh in field goal percentage defense. The Heat don’t let teams get a free release: they’re second in the league in fewest points allowed on fast breaks, and they get after it on the glass, ranking second in defensive rebound percentage.
What’s the Best Bet?
These are two of the deepest rosters in the NBA, and the real battle will be to see who between Nick Nurse or Erik Spoelstra can unlock the lineup that can put up enough points to win.
I think these are two evenly matched teams, and that leads us to the one advantage Miami has over Toronto: a go-to guy in Butler. This one goes back and forth all game, but look for Miami to make just enough plays in the end to come away with the W.
The pick: Miami ML (+118)
Having worked in and around sports since 1997, Eric is truly a knowledgable expert. The two-time journalism grad specializes in all things NBA and NFL. From TSN.ca to CTV’s Olympic Broadcast Consortium, Eric’s work has appeared in local and national publications alike.