Well, it appears as if the Miami Heat capitalized on a little better long-range shooting and an edge in playoff experience, as, when forced into overtime by the Toronto Raptors in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semi-final series, they came through and defeated Toronto 102-96. Now they have a chance to take a commanding 2-0 lead, upon which they will return to Miami for the third and fourth games. The proceedings get underway at 8:05 PM ET at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, and for BetAnySports customers, it’s a big treat both before and after the festivities begin. Reduced juice is available on all NBA action prior to the contest, and then after the opening tipoff, it’s a chance to challenge the NBA playoff odds in real time with the tremendous software available through Live Betting Ultra.
For the Heat, it was another big game for Goran Dragic, who scored 26 points and demonstrated that he would seem to be back from his scoring slump. Dragic had struggled a bit against Charlotte in the previous series, but had 25 points in Game 7, and if the Heat can get Joe Johnson unwound, they will be much more difficult to defend. Johnson had 28 points for Miami in his only appearance for the Heat against the Raptors this season, but went just 7-19 from the floor in Game 1 on Tuesday. It was clear that Toronto put some extra emphasis on him, but Miami has a pretty balanced lineup, even without power forward Chris Bosh, who has been declared out for the rest of the playoffs because of the blood clot in his leg. Bosh is still traveling with the team, and everyone, to a man, has expressed how inspirational he is on the sidelines.
Remember that Toronto just won its first playoff series in 15 years, while Miami went to four NBA finals series while they had the “Big Three” of Bosh, Dwayne Wade and Lebron James together.
In the NBA playoff odds posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, Toronto is the team laying points:
Jonas Valanciunas, the big man for Toronto, had 24 points and 14 rebounds, but Miami is still dominating the paint when it comes to preventing the Raptors from getting second-chance opportunities. That was something Toronto thrived on when they beat Indiana in seven games previously, as they averaged 16 second-chance points, the most of any team in the first round of the playoffs. But they only had four offensive rebounds, and that was due in no small part to the presence of Hassan Whiteside, who by the way had to leave the game briefly in the first half because of a knee injury but says that he will absolutely be in the lineup and be effective for Game 2.
If Kyle Lowry does not get himself on track, the Raptors will be out of here in a hurry. BetAnySports patrons witnessed Lowry’s shooting struggles against the Pacers, as he hit only 31.4% of his shots, and then he went 3-13 in Game 1. He has been 50% from the field only once in the last 18 games, and that is a huge concern for the Raptors, who need someone to get hot. DeMar DeRozan, the other All-Star in the backcourt, shot just 33% against Indiana, and then just 9 for 22 against the Heat in Game 1. Maybe the Raptors need to exploit some of their bench strength; Cory Joseph, the backup guard who was formerly with San Antonio, had 10 points in the opener, and has shot 58% for the playoffs.
Remember, if Miami wins this series, it will advance to the East finals, with there is a possible matchup against the Cleveland Cavaliers and Lebron James, who said he would look forward to that confrontation.
Toronto was a lot more reliant on three-point shooting during the regular season than Miami was, so they are going to have to get more accurate from the perimeter. They made only five of their 21 shots from downtown in Game 1, and on an overall basis, they have shot below 42% in five of the last six games. That doesn’t make them a great match against these Heat, who have kept teams below 45% in each of the last 11 outings.
For the series, Miami is the favorite at -190, while Toronto is priced at +165 at BetAnySports, where you can stay in the action all night long with Live Betting Ultra, and where you’ve got a lot of creative payment options, including your Visa card, a person-to-person transfer or the virtual currency of Bitcoin!