Miami Heat vs. Toronto Raptors 12/26/18: Starting Lineups, Matchup Breakdown, Odds, Daily Fantasy, Betting
Miami Heat vs. Toronto Raptors 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.
Time: 7:30pm ET
Arena: AmericanAirlines Arena, Miami, FL
Channel: NBA TV
Miami Heat Starting Lineup
Aside 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.
Toronto Raptors Starting Lineup
The 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,
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.
Bet on Matchup
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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.