Miami at Toronto -11 O/U 186
The Miami Heat are in a world of hurt right now, a bet-against team in any reasonable price range. My clients and I cashed an easy winner betting against Miami twice already this week, two blowout losses where they trailed from the opening tip. And frankly, there’s little reason to expect a better effort as they travel to Toronto tonight.
The Heat are in the midst of a truly brutal scheduling stretch, as tough as any team will face all year. They’re playing a stretch of 18 consecutive games with a court change, a nightmarish situation for a very banged up team that desperately needs some practice time that they’re not going to get anytime soon.
And "very banged up" doesn’t even accurately describe Eric Spoelstra’s squad right now. ‘Decimated with injuries’ might be superior phraseology. The Heat won’t have starting center Hassan Whiteside tonight, dealing with hip and knee injuries. They won’t have starting guard Dwayne Wade either, out with a lingering shoulder injury. Starting point guard Goran Dragic is out with a strained calf. Starting forward Luol Deng is out after getting poked in the eye. And four missing starters is just the tip of the iceberg!
Dragic’s backup, Beno Udrih, has a strained neck. He’s been unable to play in recent games and reports this morning didn’t sound positive about his chances to suit up in Toronto. Josh McRoberts has a bum knee, downgraded to ‘out’. Gerald Green is suffering from knee tendinitis, a question mark (at best) this evening. Chris Anderson has a bone bruise in his knee. Tyler Johnson has a bad shoulder. One of the few remaining healthy bodies Chris Bosh had this to say: “I’m not even sure who we’re going to have in Toronto.”
More from Bosh: “We obviously have to work on our mental toughness right now. We’re kind of weak in that area... We knew this point (of the season) was going to be very tough and it was going to be a gut check — and that was going to be at 100 percent. With four or five guys out, it kind of presents quite a challenge for us.”
Five of the last six Miami losses have come in blowout fashion, by 14 points or more. The lone exception was a maximum intensity spot at Golden State; the last time this team was reasonably healthy. And it’s surely worth noting that they lost by 14 the last time they played Toronto – a home game for the Heat in which they were perfectly healthy.
While Miami is in a world of hurt, the Raptors are surging, winners of six straight. Toronto is loaded with Miami’s kryptonite – quick guards and athletic frontcourt players, exactly where the Heat have struggled to match up all year.
But don’t expect a flat, ‘fat and happy’ effort from the Raptors this evening after head coach Dwayne Casey laid into them for a shoddy defensive effort over the last week. Casey: “We have lost our defensive mojo a little bit.” A team primed to flex their defensive muscle against is VERY bad news for a Heat team with all kinds off offensive flow issues right now, playing without their top three guards!