It will be a routine evening for the Miami Heat, who host Washington tonight, writes Unibet columnist Mark Woods...
Miami Heat 1.30, Washington Wizards 3.50 – BET and WATCH live on Unibet Tv from 23.35 GMT
What’s eating the Miami Heat? Seemingly on a charge to sweep past their NBA rivals to claim the top seeding for not-so-distant playoffs, the reigning champions have lost three straight games including an overtime reverse to Chicago on Sunday.
Much of the fault lies with LeBron James, who is having a rare slump after averaging just 19.3 points, 7.8 below his seasonal mark, during the Heat’s current skid. But let’s not press the panic button just yet. This all followed his 61-point blast against Charlotte just seven day ago. The MVP is not going to suddenly wither out of sight.
All of Miami’s trio of defeats also came on the road. But they will be back on home ground on Monday when they host the Washington Wizards. And even though the men from DC are 8-1 over their last nine games, none of their opponents have been off the Heat’s lofty calibre.
LeBron and Co are 24-4 on their own floor and they are heading towards a relatively easy stretch run into the end of the regular season. And with the Indiana Pacers looking rattled after four consecutive losses, and their rivals out West failing to take full advantage, we shouldn’t be removing the tag of title favourites from the champs just yet.
Brooklyn Nets 1.73, Toronto Raptors 2.14 - BET and WATCH live on Unibet Tv from 23.35 GMT
The scrap for post-season berths and seedings in the Eastern Conference promises to be an intriguing sub-plot over the next six weeks with a number of candidates finding their best form.
The Toronto Raptors still look well-placed to go for third seed and an 8-2 spell over their last ten has strengthened their bid.
But they could face a surprise challenge from their Monday hosts, the Brooklyn Nets, who have won 11 of their last 15 to make up ground.
Toronto leads the season series 2-1, taking a 104-103 victory in NYC five weeks ago behind 31 points from Kyle Lowry. And with some momentum following impressive defeats of Minnesota and Golden State, back them to maintain their own momentum on a handicap of -3.5, with Paul Pierce a likely absentee for the Nets.
Best bet: Take Miami on the handicap at -6.5 to defeat Washington