Philadelphia 76ers (35-28) at Miami Heat (34-31)
We took one on the chin last night as we backed the Indiana Pacers at home against the Utah Jazz. Victor Oladipo completely no-showed for us. The All-Star scored just 13 points on 6-19 shooting, including 0-3 from beyond the arc. The Pacers were dreadful as a team from deep as they shot just 13%, 3-23 from the land of three. You just aren’t ever going to beat a decent team like Utah if you are shooting that poorly, not even at home. The game wasn’t overly competitive all-night long as Utah jumped out to a double-digit lead early and finished it out strong for the 104-84 victory. It was a huge win for the Jazz as they are now in a three-way tie with the Los Angeles Clippers and the Denver Nuggets for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference. It is going to be a wild finish in the West and based on how they are playing over the last month it looks like Utah is the team that is going to break through and make the playoffs. Keep a very close eye on this Jazz team as they look to keep up this torrid pace to close out the season. Today I will look at two more teams hoping to make the playoffs as the Miami Heat host the Philadelphia 76ers.
The Philadelphia 76ers continue their road trip tonight as they head to Miami to face the Heat. The Sixers have won three out of their last four games and are starting to pull away from the field as they look to lock up a playoff berth. It is a similar story for Miami as they are tied with Milwaukee for the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference. However they do now hold a five-game lead over Detroit for the eighth seed in the East. Both teams would love to move up those standing even further tonight with a win. This game is an even pick ‘em. The game total over-under is set at 209 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 4:30 PM PST from American Airlines Arena.
This is a matchup of two very similar teams. Both are playing better in the second half of the season, and both look like they are likely going to make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference. These two teams have met up three times this season with the home team winning all three games. All three of those games featured great action and were very competitive, I expect the same result tonight in the teams last meeting of the regular season.
For Philadelphia, they are in the midst of a road trip that could very well define their season. The Sixers have not been a good road team this season at just 15-18, but they are getting better as the season wears on. The current stretch featured six out of eight games on the road for the Sixers. Philly has acquitted themselves nicely over this tough stretch so far as they beat the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Charlotte Hornets on the road, only dropping one road game to the Milwaukee Bucks. The Sixers are looking for revenge against this Heat team tonight as the last time they played they lost on a buzzer-beating circus shot from Dwayne Wade.
So, it turns out Dwayne Wade is still really good at basketball. When Wade went to Cleveland in the offseason, it was to be for some scoring production off the bench and as a role player. When Miami brought him back at the traded deadline this year, it was to lead this team to the playoffs. We saw what he did to Philly in their last meeting, and Wade has scored twenty or more points in three of his last five games. If Wade can revert back into being an elite scorer for Miami, this team has the potential of winning a playoff series this year.
This line opened at Philly -1 point. The Sixers who stink on the road as road favorites against a team they seem to be very even with? It didn’t make sense. The early action all came in on Miami, and the line has now moved to a pick ‘em. I wouldn’t be shocked to see this number continue to move towards Miami as they are decent at home and Philly has struggled on the road this year. I could see this number landing at Miami -1 or even -2 by tipoff.
I am going to get on board with the sharps tonight and back the Miami Heat. This is a series that has been dominated by the home teams this year, and I expect that trend to continue. The Heat have won six straight home games against Philly, and I see that hitting seven tonight. If you like Miami, and you should, I would suggest getting on this number now as it could very well keep moving and you won’t want to lay much wood in this matchup, as I expect another very competitive and close game. Give me the Miami Heat at an even pick ‘em tonight on their home court.