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Free Pick Breakdown & Prediction: Raptors vs. Heat (10/24/2022)

By Ace Margolis
October 24, 2022
Photo by: USA Today

Toronto Raptors vs Miami Heat (10/24/2022 – 7:30 pm EST)

Line: Miami -3.5
O/U: Over 217.5

Toronto Raptors vs. Miami Heat Betting Odds & Breakdown

The Atlantic Division and Southeast Division of the NBA’s Eastern Conference as the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat get set to play each other Monday night at the FTX Arena in South Florida. This will be the second game in row these squads play each other with the Heat prevailing at home 112-109. With both teams at 1-2, they’ll aim to even up their records while running it back one more time.

Toronto Analysis

With a deep team and a fantastic head coach in Nick Nurse, the Raptors are expected to compete in the Eastern Conference as a team that’s capable of making a deep playoff run. The season started off with a come-from-behind win over the upstart Cleveland Cavaliers 108-105 at home but then dropped their next game on the road against the Brooklyn Nets, 109-105. Toronto followed that up with a loss to Miami Saturday night, making them 0-2 on the road so far. So far through three games the Raptors are 2-1 against the spread but only 1-2 against the over/under.

If you look at their first three games, you’ll notice that their two losses have been decided by a combined total of seven points. Knowing that the Nets and Heat are considered top echelon teams in the Eastern Conference, losing by an average of 3.5 points a contest isn’t too bad. You know the Raptors will come out fighting in every game as that’s Nurse’s forte but they need to grab a win here on the road from Miami as it will be their last game there this season and it’s good to get a feel for the home crowd of a team you could potentially face come playoff time. More than that, however, Toronto needs this win to get their first victory on the road.

The Raptors have started the season stale so far, with only a few strengths showing up over the first three games. Their offense has certainly struggled at 107.5 points a contest, only 26th out of 30 teams in the league. On the other side of the ball Toronto has played well, holding teams to 108.7 points a game, good for eighth overall. Power forward Pascal Siakam leads the Raptors on offense at 27.7 points and 10.3 rebounds a contest while point guard Fred VanVleet is leading the team in assists and steals with eight and 3.7 a game, respectively.

Miami Heat Analysis

Despite beating the Raptors this past Saturday, the Heat have started the year at 1-2, far below expectations even if it’s very early. They opened the season at home with a 116-108 loss to the Chicago Bulls in a game that Miami never had much control over and were never really a threat. The Heat would follow that loss up with another defeat this time at the hands of the Boston Celtics, 111-104. They finally grabbed their first victory Saturday night against the Raptors and get to play them one more time Monday night, hoping to split their first four games, all at home. The Heat are still winless against the spread, going 0-3 so far but are 2-1 against the over/under.

Most concerning for Miami so far has to be the fact they’re below .500 through three games, all of which were played at the FTX Arena. With home-court advantage a huge benefit to many teams, it needs to be established early on and the Heat have done a poor job so far playing up to their competition. That’s after shooting 46% from the floor and a solid 39.5% from behind the arc. The fact they still lost those two games is disappointing because they were only allowing opponents to shoot 48% from the floor, which is only slightly better. On the bright side, they notched their first win against Toronto, a game in which they shot 50% from the floor but only allowed the Raptors to shoot 43%. They’ll hope for the same result Monday evening.

As a team, Miami has not gotten into its groove on offense based on the early numbers after three games. They’re averaging 108 points a contest, putting them at 22nd overall but they have performed well from the free throw line thus far, hitting 84.3% from the charity stripe, fourth in the NBA. Their defense has been so-so, ranking 14th overall by allowing 112 points a contest but they give up 38% from the three-point line, which is 20th overall. Small forward Jimmy Butler leads the way for the Heat on offense with 22 points a game while point guard Kyle Lowry leads in assists (5.3) and steals (1.7).

Free Pick – Toronto +3.5

Since the teams have already played recently, both have a good idea of how the other is going to play. While the Heat were able to edge by the Raptors Saturday by three points, they have not looked very good to start the year. Let’s not forget every game has been in front of their home crowd and Miami still looks lackluster. For Toronto, they’ve been on the road since winning their Opening Night game at home and have been close in both of their losses. With Nurse at the helm, I think he’ll figure out a good game plan to steal a victory in Miami Monday night as these teams have split their last four games against each other. With a second game in a row in South Florida, look for the Toronto to come out hungry for their first road win and cover the spread. We like Toronto getting +3.5 points.

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