If you rolled with my NBA picks to start the playoffs, you can’t be mad. I backed the Wizards on Saturday (+8) and they handed in a push. To be frank, the ending of that game was garbage, too. John Wall got fouled at least twice going to the basket and the reffing was awful.
You should have gotten a win on Saturday, but if you went with my gut, you at least earned the push.
On Sunday I loved the Pacers (+6.5) to at least hang tight in their showdown in Cleveland with the Cavaliers. They did more than that, as they completely dominated LeBron James and co. and earned me a huge win. Dating back to the final week of the NBA regular season, I’ve put up a 3-1-1 record and I’ll look to keep the positive momentum rolling for tonight’s light two-game NBA betting slate.
The game on hand tonight is the second showdown between the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers. This was actually a really close game in the first half of game one, but Philly’s offensive versatility and explosiveness proved to be too much in a second half beat down.
Miami looks to respond in game two in Philly, but are they worth backing at +7 underdogs? Let’s break this matchup down to find out:
Miami Heat (+7, -115) @ Philadelphia 76ers (-7, -105) Total: 215 (-115/-105)
The only reason at all I’m remotely considering Miami is because Erik Spoelstra is a good coach. He’s sure to have Miami fighting in this second game, plus you have to consider the fact that Joel Embiid is out again for this showdown and the Heat had to have been embarrassed after losing by almost 30 points.
There’s more evidence to support Miami, if only slightly.
Miami did split the season series (2-2) between these two sides. They also can play stingy defense (7th in efficiency) thanks to the league’s 25th slowest pace of play. The Heat have also been pesky against the spread (40-37-6 on the year), going 19-11-2 as the road underdog.
Unfortunately, that’s where the optimism ends.
The Sixers are an extremely tough out on their home floor. Ben Simmons is locked into superstar mode these days as Philly keeps looking to add to a 30-11 home record – one that doesn’t dip much (25-12) when they’re favored against the spread.
That, and Philly is ablaze right now, having won 17 games in a row.
You can’t put money down on the Sixers right now (they’re an absurd -300 at Bovada), but it certainly isn’t crazy to think they pull away from a tight game and cover a relatively tame -7 point spread.
Miami has the pace and defense to give the Sixers some problems. You saw it in game one, as Miami kept things tight for the first two quarters before slowly unraveling.
The problem is the 76ers can kill you from so many spots. Miami can defend at a high level, but they can’t control the pace in Philadelphia and there are simply too many shooters to keep track of.
Ben Simmons isn’t a problem from a shooting perspective, but the Heat didn’t have an answer for him in game one. If they can’t keep him in check in game two, there is no reason to expect his penetrating and play-making to quiet down.
I do worry slightly about Philly with Embiid still out, but he’s been sidelined for a while now and it hasn’t slowed the Sixers down whatsoever. Ultimately, the Heat at +7 feels like a huge trap. Philly made an eye-popping 18 long balls (shooting 64%) in game one and something tells me they’re just getting started.
Miami has the experience, but they’re also older, slower and playing on the road. They have the coaching and grit to again stick in this fight early, but I love the Sixers to win again and I think they can do enough to pull ahead just enough to score the spread cover in this spot.