Despite being the division leaders, no one is taking the Toronto Raptors seriously as East contenders. The Canadian franchise have an opportunity to prove the doubters wrong if they can beat the defending champions Miami Heat on Monday night at AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami, Florida.
The Raptors (42-31) are the current leaders in the Atlantic Division with nearest rival Brooklyn Nets (39-33) just two and a half games behind. The Miami Heat (50-22) are chasing the Indiana Pacers (52-22) for the East’s top spot.
It will be a tough task for Toronto, which has lost 14 straight to Miami. But they could take advantage of a short-handed Heat squad that will be playing without Dwyane Wade (sore left hamstring), Mario Chalmers (bruised quad) and Greg Oden (back spasms).
This is the fourth and final meeting between the two teams as the Heat went 3-0 against Toronto this season. LeBron James is averaging 30.7 points per game on 63.6 per cent field goal shooting against the Raptors.
Both squads are coming off wins against lottery-bound teams. The Heat beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 88-67 led by Chris Bosh who had 14 points and 5 rebounds in just 26 minutes. The Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic, 98-93 with major contributions from Jonas Valanciunas (20 points and 9 rebounds), DeMar Derozan (28 points) and Kyle Lowry (16 points and 4 assists).
Watch the Raptors-Heat match-up via NBA League Pass.
Betting Lines: Toronto Raptors (+5.5) vs. Miami Heat (O/U: 192.5) Game time: 10:30 AEDT
Betting Against the Spread
Toronto Raptors Trends - The Raptors are 5-2-1 ATS in their last 8 games vs. Southeast division teams - The Raptors are 19-8-1 ATS in their last 28 games on the road - The Raptors are 20-9-1 ATS in their last 30 games vs. East teams
Miami Heat Trends - The Heat are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after a win - The Heat are 3-9 ATS in their last 12 games vs. the Raptors in Miami - The Heat are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games vs. the Raptors