NBA Basketball - Toronto Raptors at Miami Heat (-5, 186˝) 7:30 PM EST
Toronto has won and covered five of six and head to the playoffs for the first time in five years. Tonight the Raptors travel to Miami to take on a team just as hot, the Heat.
The Raptors also have loftier goals then just finishing over .500 according to team leader Chris Bosh. "It’s a general excitement right now because we still have two more goals ahead of us," said Bosh. "We want to get home court advantage and we want to lock up the Atlantic Division. We still have nine more games to play and we have to concentrate and focus on each game until we clinch both."
It is very easy to dismiss the Toronto’s accomplishments when you think of them playing in the Atlantic; however they overcame a 2-8 (4-6 ATS) start of the season to reach this point. The Raptors head down south to take on another team that overcame adversity to fight back into the playoff picture.
A team picture of Miami would have to be taken in one of those quick photo booths, because the members of the Heat have been ever changing and in and out of the line-up. Miami without Shaquille O’Neal and the early season intensity started 4-8, losing five times by fifteen or more points.
Dwayne Wade would never let his team just quit and kept them fighting until they started winning. When Shaq returned for what seemed a certain playoff run, Wade went down with a bad wing. Still the Heat persisted and our now 20-9 (with matching spread record) since January 30 to move within one game of Washington in the Southeast Division and sixth position in the East playoff picture.
Miami is now a 5-point favorite at sportsbook.com, having split with Toronto this year. The Heat are anxious to see if Wade’s shoulder can hold as he starts practice this week and three point sharpshooter Jason Kapono should be back this week, even possibly tonight. The Heat are 24-12 and somewhat amazingly 21-14-1 ATS at home, not being overvalued nearly as often this season.
Toronto is a decent road investment at 20-16 against the spread, but are much better in a couple of matching roles for this contest.
The Raptors are 26-15-1 ATS after a cover and 25-16-1 ATS with a day between games. Toronto’s line-up does create match-up problems for many teams, still Miami has one distinct edge, and they are 12-4 ATS vs. poor rebounding teams being out-rebounded by opponents by 3 or more per game this season.
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