Raptors vs Heat Picks and Predictions: Familiar Foes Continue to Prove Evenly Matched

Toronto and Miami have made a habit of playing in tight games, with each of last season's four meetings being decided by five or fewer points. With those rosters largely intact, our NBA picks aren't expecting anything different this time around.

Oct 22, 2022 • 11:04 ET • 4 min read
Jimmy Butler Miami Heat NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Raptors are taking their talents to South Beach to face off against the Miami Heat in NBA action on Saturday night.

Both of these Eastern Conference contenders will be looking to bounce back from losses last night and the Heat are looking for their first win of the season.

NBA odds are expecting a close game with the Heat opening as 3-point home favorites before shortening to -2.5. Here are our best free Raptors vs. Heat NBA picks and predictions for October 22.

Raptors vs Heat best odds

Raptors vs Heat picks and predictions

Handicapping teams at the start of the NBA season can be a bit tough when evaluating offseason additions and subtractions. That isn't really true for either of these teams with the Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat throwing out virtually their exact same starting lineups and similar rotations to a year ago. 

They faced off four times last season with each side going 2-2 SU and ATS (1-1 SU and ATS at home), with each game being decided by five points or fewer. 

Both of these teams have impact players with the Heat having perhaps the two best players in this contest in Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but the Raptors boast a starting five that can all get buckets (Caleb Martin is the clear weak link for Miami). 

These teams are very evenly matched, which is reflected in the spread that has the Heat favored by just 2.5 points, with the average home-court advantage in the NBA sitting at around 2.33 points, according to Jeff Sagarin. I'm expecting another close game between these Eastern Conference foes and betting on a winning margin between 1-5 points. 

My best bet: Winning margin 1-5 (+190 at bet365)

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Raptors vs Heat spread analysis

The Toronto Raptors mounted a fourth-quarter comeback to beat the Cavs 108-105 in their season opener on Wednesday night. Last night, they headed to Brooklyn and lost 109-105 with the Nets pulling away in the final two minutes.

The Heat have opened their campaign with back-to-back losses against the Celtics and Bulls. They went into the fourth quarter of both games with double-digit deficits and playing shutdown defense in the final 12 minutes wasn't anywhere near enough to close the gap. 

These teams were fairly similar in terms of overall results last year. The Raps got off to a slow start to their season with the team decimated by COVID-19 and injuries but after January 1, they went 33-17 with a net rating of +3.8 points per game.

Over the same span, the Heat went 30-16 with a net rating of +4.8 ppg. They were also both eliminated 4-2 by the 76ers in the playoffs with Toronto losing in the opening round and Miami falling in the second. 

The Raptors have a versatile lineup that does an excellent job of scoring points in transition and all five of their starters averaged more than 15 ppg last season. That said, they often struggled to get looks in half-court sets and their lack of a true go-to scorer has been exposed at the end of tight games. 

The Heat can score in bunches as well and despite the high-scoring Butler and Adebayo not being able to shoot from beyond the arc, they led the NBA in 3-point percentage (37.9%) and were sixth in 3-pointers made per game (13.6). That said, they ranked among the Bottom-6 teams in the league when it came to fastbreak efficiency and turnover rate.

Raptors vs Heat Over/Under analysis

You might see the Raptors run the floor off turnovers and missed shots and think that they play at a fast pace but they generally move the ball at a slower tempo.

Last season, Toronto finished 27th in the league in pace, one spot ahead of Miami. Through the first two games of this season, the Heat are 20th in the league in pace while the Raps are 25th. 

Although both teams have multiple players that can fill up the hoop, they are actually better on the defensive end of the floor.

After January 1, the Heat were fifth in the NBA in defensive rating while the Raps were sixth. Over the same stretch, they ranked 14th and 16th in offensive rating.

That said, despite the defensive ability of both squads the Over has gone 4-1 in the last five meetings.

Raptors vs Heat betting trend to know

The Under has gone 22-8 in Toronto's last 30 games on the road while going 9-4 in Miami's previous 13 contests at home. Find more NBA betting trends for Raptors vs. Heat.

Raptors vs Heat game info

Location: FTX Arena, Miami, FL
Date: Saturday, October 22, 2022
Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Sun, Sportsnet

Raptors vs Heat key injuries


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