In gambling, there is always a "should've, could've and would've."
The Heat were a mere 3.7 seconds away from capturing Game 1 of the best-of-seven series before Kyle Lowry stepped up from half-court and drained a buzzer-beating three-pointer to force overtime. Hey may have tied the game for my hometown Raptors, but he cost me my bets on Miami's team total (under 93.5) and the full-game "under" 192.
It was a tough pill to swallow, but I mustn't sulk about what could have been but instead push forward and hit Game 2 even harder. Before I get to that, however, I must say that Game 1 was the sloppiest basketball I've seen in a while. Between missed dunks, sloppy turnovers and a very slow pace, Game 1 left a sour taste in my mouth.
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On to Game 2. The Raptors are in the same spot they found themselves in after Game 1 of the Indiana series - down 1-0 and about to head on the road for Games 3 and 4. This is as much of a must-win for this franchise as the Game 7 was in the first round.
I re-watched the game and saw some good things from both teams as well as many things that need improvement. I then combed through the quotes and press conference to see what the players were thinking and what they thought of how the game played out.
Game 2 should be a much different game than Tuesday night. I predict the Raptors will push the pace as much as possible and try to break down the Miami structure and capitalize on fast-break opportunities. I feel as if this is the right move for them, and I hope Dwane Casey feels the same way. Miami, on the other hand, will want to play exactly as they did in Game 1 and focus more on limiting the amount of turnovers. Miami is better suited in a half-court game, so this game will likely go to the team that dictates tempo.
Here are three prop opportunities that I feel are the best options in terms of betting this game. As always, odds and lines are courtesy of Bovada.
"Over" 189 -110, "Under" 189 -110
The over/under in Game 1 was set at 191 points, and the sole reason it went over was because of a half-court buzzer-beater that forced overtime. What was lost in the shuffle is the fact that Toronto shot very poorly from three-point range (5/21) and the two teams combined for 32 turnovers. It's hard to imagine those numbers being duplicated in Game 2 now that both teams are accustomed to the magnitude and tempo of the series.
On an individual level, the Raptors weren't able to contain Dwayne Wade or Goran Dragic, who combined for 50 of the team's 102 points. Unfortunately for Raptor fans, I see much more of the same production for these two guards, which bodes well for taking the over for this game.
On the other side of the coin, Dwane Casey was consistently urging his team to push the ball up-court in Game 1 and I expect the team to play loose and adapt that kind of approach to even the series at one game apiece.
Jonas Valanciunas had a monster game with 24 points and 14 rebounds and the bench pitched in with 33 points of their own. I expect more of the same from JV and the bench as JV seems to be on a mission and Miami's bench can't play much defense.
The X-Factor: IF and it's a big IF, Kyle Lowry somehow gets going, this game could find itself pushing 200.
Pick: "Over" 189 -110
Team Total Points
Miami Heat - "Over" 92.5 -115, "Under" 92.5" -115
Miami was very effective from three-point range in Game 1, connecting on 8 of 11 attempts, and I expect more of the same from the Heat in Game 2. The Raptors, for whatever reason, seem to be incapable of defending the three-point line and we saw that the entire first round and for much of Game 1 vs. Miami. The Heat were also able to grab 11 offensive rebounds, which means extra possessions and second-chance points.
One thing the Heat need to be better at is limiting turnovers, and I expect a much better game from them in that regard. They were lucky to escape Game 1 with a victory after turning into a bakery and handing out 17 turnovers over the course of the game.
I expect the Heat to come out and play another solid game and capitalize on the Raptors lack of three-point defence once again and help push their total and game total over the number.
Pick: "Over" 92.5 -115
Total Points - Jonas Valanciunas
"Over" 13.5 -110, "Under" 13.5 -110
Jonas Valanciunas was a beast in the opening round series against Indiana and he picked up right where he left in Game 1 of the second round series. The bigLithuanian has scored in double digits in seven of his teams eight playoff games so far this postseasonand was once again a beast on the boards in Game 1 hauling down 14 rebounds.
Hassan Whiteside was unable to handle JV for the most part of the game and now he is battling a knee sprain suffered in the opening game.
I expect the Raptors to feed the big man early once again to establish him and then open the floor with their outside shooting. It's always tougher in the postseason but this double-double machine, should reach the 14-point mark once again.
Pick: "Over" 13.5 - 110
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