Miami Heat vs. Toronto Raptors 12/26/18: Starting Lineups, Matchup Breakdown, Odds, Daily Fantasy, Betting

Miami Heat vs. Toronto Raptors Preview

In a battle between the Eastern Conference’s number one and seven seed, the Miami Heat (16-16) will host the Toronto Raptors (25-10) tonight in what could be a first-round playoff preview.

Miami has been working their way up the Eastern Conference standings via a five-game winning streak, which has included impressive wins over the Milwaukee Bucks and a brutal 24-point smashing of the Orlando Magic. If they want to test their mettle against any team, the Raptors will most definitely provide that test.

While the Raptors lost badly to the Philadelphia 76ers to the tune of 101-126, they did it without Kawhi Leonard, who will likely be active tonight as Toronto looks to pick up a key road win.

In their last matchup back in late November, Toronto took a 10-point win led by Leonard’s 29 points. However, Dwyane Wade had a turn-back-the-clock night finishing with 35 points and six assists.

TV Schedule

Date: 12/26/18
Time: 7:30pm ET
Arena: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Channel: NBA TV

Miami Heat Starting Lineup

PositionStarter
PGDion Waiters
SGJosh Richardson
SFJustise Winslow
PFKelly Olynyk
CBam Adebayo

Heat Analysis

Miami HeatAside from having the longest current win streak in the league at five games, these winning ways are not new for the Heat, who have won nine of their last 12.

A win over the Raptors tonight could shake things up, moving them up to sixth in the East and also giving Toronto just a half-game lead over the Bucks for the top spot.

The Heat have done well for themselves considering they have been without starting point guard Goran Dragic and shooting guard Dion Waiters. Wade, in his final season, is looking better than he has in years. He’s averaging 14.2 points per game, 3.7 assists and 3.6 rebounds per game. He has seemed to come up big when the Heat have needed him most, including a four-game stretch where he averaged over 22 points per game.

Another player that is making a splash in Dragic’s absence has been Tyler Johnson. Against the Magic, Johnson was on fire and knocked down six threes, finishing with 25 points. Having that pair to help shoulder the scoring load with Josh Richardson and Hassan Whiteside has been benefical.

Heat Quick Links: Heat Starting Lineup, Heat Roster, Heat Depth Chart, Heat Injuries, Heat News, Heat Schedule

Toronto Raptors Starting Lineup

PositionStarter
PGKyle Lowry
SGDanny Green
SFKawhi Leonard
PFPascal Siakam
CSerge Ibaka

Raptors Analysis

Toronto RaptorsThe Raptors have benefitted from having such a quick start out of the gate. They hang onto a one-game lead in the Eastern Conference while they’ve struggled with injuries, especially this month. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games.

Jonas Valanciunas remains out tonight, and three starters, Serge Ibaka, Danny Green and Kyle Lowry, are questionable for tonight’s game.

Leonard has shown the ability to put his team, a banged-up one at that, on his back before, but against a surging team like the Heat, they’ll likely continue to rely heavily on Pascal Siakam, who chipped in 26 against Philadelphia.

Lowry, Green, and Ibaka all played against Philadelphia, so if they can have those three and Leonard tonight, the Raptors have looked nearly unstoppable at full strength or near full strength,

Raptors Quick Links: Raptors Starting Lineup, Raptors Roster, Raptors Depth Chart, Raptors Injuries, Raptors News, Raptors Schedule

Miami Heat vs. Toronto Raptors Betting Odds

Toronto has a slight lead that seems to be getting smaller for tonight’s game. They opened as the -4 point favorites, but the spread is now -3.5. The over/under is set at 208 points, and there has been some movement on the moneyline as well. Toronto opened at -175 are now live at -160.

The Raptors have done well for themselves on the road, with a win percentage of 55.1 percent. That number grows to 74.1 percent as the favorite. While Miami wins 60.5 percent of their games at home, they are 61-89 as the underdog.

Odds & Line Movement Links: Miami Heat vs. Toronto Raptors, Vegas Odds (All NBA Games Today)

Bet on Matchup

If you’re in Pennsylvania, you can bet on this matchup. Sports betting is legal in PA. Our top rated online sportsbook bonus offers can be found in our articles: Fanduel Sportsbook promo code, DraftKings Sportsbook promo code & Pointsbet promo code.

DraftKings & FanDuel Fantasy Picks

Josh Richardson ($7.3k) and Kawhi Leonard (10.4k) are tonight’s stud picks. Richardson, Miami’s leading scorer, is projected for 32.92 points on FanDuel. Leonard, considered one of the best two-way players in the league, is projected to finish with 51.82 points.

Richardson would also fit as a value, but if you’re looking for a low risk, high reward type of player, Tyler Johnson ($4.3k) is your man. He seems to be the perfect player to round out a roster with some scoring and three-point percentage help. He’s projected for 18.35 points, but he’s been over 27 points in three of his last five games.

For the Raptors, I’m bucking the trend of always going for Siakam and taking Serge Ibaka ($6.9k). He’s projected for a big game on FanDuel with 32.38 points.

Find all of our Fanduel and Draftkings projections here: https://www.lineups.com/nba/nba-fantasy-basketball-projections. 

Michael is Chief Editor at Lineups.com. He has decades of combined experience in traditional print journalism and online media and is the publisher of the Project Spurs Network, which includes 13 team-specific sports media sites and the flagship ProjectSpurs.com. He is also the creator of the first Spurs podcast and the longest-running sports podcast on the internet, the Spurscast, and was formerly the host of the News 4 San Antonio Sports Roundtable.

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