7:05pm ET / 4:05pm PT
Miami Heat @ Toronto Raptors
2** Play on: UNDER the TOTAL
Defensive basketball takes center stage North of the Border tonight, as the BEST team in the Eastern Conference takes on the struggling Heat. If year-to-date and current form statistics hold up, this game between Toronto and Miami should go UNDER the Total fairly easily. Much like the recent OU tendency of this series. In the last 2+ seasons, the five games played between these two teams have ALL gone UNDER the Total (0-5 O/U). Average OU line: 203.2… Average combined points: only 186.0… The average games has gone UNDER by -17.2. In those last five meetings, NONE of the games had a point total more than 193 points. That includes a meeting from just four weeks ago… also played IN Toronto. In that game, the OU line was similar to tonights (205). And the final score was Miami 90 - Toronto 89. The UNDER cashed by 26 points. There’s NO reason that tonight’s rematch shouldn’t have a similar outcome. ESPECIALLY knowing that Toronto has tuned up the screws DEFENSIVELY as of late.
With great improvement over the last 30 days, the Raptors have improved to the 3rd most efficient defense in the entire league for the season… right behind Boston (100.5 pts allowed per 100 possessions)… and San Antonio (101.6 pts allowed per 100 possessions). Toronto clocks in at 102.6 pts allowed per 100 possessions. Yes, those are solid defensive numbers when we judge the entire 3.5 month season as a whole. But check out the last month of play: Toronto is at 99.9 in their last 15 games… 95.7 in their last 6 games… and 92.0 in their last four games. The only team that’s been more stifling on defense as of late is division rival Philadelphia (91.4 in last 4 games).
On the flip side, Miami is also ranked in the Top Eight in overall defense as well. As of this writing, they are right behind the Utah Jazz in overall defensive efficiency with only 104.2 points allowed per 100 possessions for the entire season. And they’re off one of their strongest efforts of the season as they just held the Milwaukee Bucks to 85 points in their most recent game (and only 32 for 76 in FG shooting / 42%). Not to mention that the Heat are one of the most IN-efficient offensive teams to boot. They struggled to score in that game vs the Bucks (32 for 88 / only 36%)… and are on a streak in which they have scored 101 or LESS points in EIGHT of their last ten games (96.2 ppg average). For the year, they are ranked #25 in offensive efficiency (102.9)… and in their last ten games, their numbers are even worse (97.6 pts per 100 possessions). And remember, as a slow-paced team… Miami averages only 96.9 possessions per game (3rd slowest-paced team in the league).
The fact that BOTH teams have a road game TOMORROW plays a big part in tonight’s contest, according to our database:
(1) 0-9 O/U since November: All non-division conference road underdogs of < 12 pts BEFORE a road game the NEXT day (Heat), when the OU line is in the range of 195 to 210 points…
(2) 5-19 O/U this season / 0-8 O/U last 6 weeks: All non-division home favorites of -4 > points BEFORE a road game the NEXT day (Raptors) when the OU line is 216 or less points.
Put ‘em both together, and you get:
(3) 1-9 O/U LAST 2 seasons: All Non-Division games when BOTH teams have a road game the NEXT day (Heat @ Raptors), when the OU line is 204 or more points.
Yes, we are certainly aware that the HOT Raptors have scored 123, 113, and 11 points during their current winning streak. That’s ok by us. Because the database tells us that:
NBA non-division favorites of > 1 point off 3 or more WINS in a row in which they SCORED 110 or more pts in EACH game (Raptors) have gone 3-16 O/U in the last 3 months, and a PERFECT 0-10 /U since December when the OU line is 224 or less points.
As mentioned above, Miami won AND covered the spread as a home favorite in their last game (vs the Bucks), despite scoring only 91 points…
3-15-1 O/U last 12 months / 1-9-1 O/U since November: All NBA teams off a SU and ATS home FAVORITE win in which they scored LESS than (<) 92 points (Heat).