March Madness will take a few days off following a wild weekend. Of course, you can still get your basketball betting fix satisfied between now and then. We’ve got nine games on the NBA slate for Monday, which gives you no shortage of options this evening.
The 76ers, meanwhile, have fallen to third at 43-27 on the year. Philly lost in disappointing fashion at home on Sunday night to a shorthanded version of the Raptors, but they’ll look to bounce back tonight. The latest odds from BetOnline have the 76ers listed as four-point underdogs on their home floor in this one.
Despite a few injury issues, the Heat never seem to stop winning. Miami comes into tonight’s game riding a two-game winning streak with a 7-3 record over their last 10 games. Jimmy Butler, a former 76er, is also expected to return to the lineup after missing a couple of games with an ankle issue.
Butler has only played in 48 of the Heat’s 71 games, but he has played well when healthy. Butler is averaging 21.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.6 assists while providing his standard stellar individual defense on the wing. Miami has more depth this season than they have in previous years, which is one reason they’ve been able to continue to win at a solid clip despite Butler’s injury problems.
One key for the Heat in this one will be Bam Adebayo. Miami’s star young center is one of only a few players in the league averaging a points/rebounds double-double at 19 points and 10.3 boards per game. Adebayo has picked up the slack in a big way in the games Butler has missed, and his matchup tonight just got a whole lot better. Instead of squaring off against Joel Embiid, Adebayo will go toe-to-toe with DeAndre Jordan, Paul Millsap, and whoever else Doc Rivers tries to throws at him tonight.
The Heat are 2-1 straight-up in their first three meetings with Philadelphia on the year. That includes a 101-96 win in their last trip to the Wells Fargo Center back on December 15. Miami dropped the rematch in Miami in January before picking up a 99-82 win over the Sixers earlier this month.
As mentioned, the Sixers will be a little shorthanded tonight. The team has already said Joel Embiid will sit the second half of the back-to-back tonight as a result of lingering back soreness. Embiid has been questionable with the injury over the past few games, but this is the first game he’ll actually miss as a result of the issue.
With Embiid out, we’ll see what Rivers decides to do with his frontcourt. Embiid hasn’t missed a game since his old backup, Andre Drummond, was shipped to Brooklyn in the James Harden trade. The 76ers have since signed DeAndre Jordan, who spent most of the year playing a very minor role off the Lakers’ bench.
Regardless, Harden will have to play a prominent offensive role if the Sixers are to keep pace in this one. Since the trade, Harden is averaging 22.4 points, 10.5 assists, and seven reboundnss while shooting about 35 percent from three-point territory.
Harden got off to a blazing start with the 76ers, but he’s cooled over the past few games. Last night against the Raptors, the former league MVP collected just 17 points with nine rebounds and eight assists in 38 minutes of action. His usage has been down since coming to Philadelphia, but don’t be surprised if he takes on a more aggressive scoring role without Embiid this evening.
The Sixers will also have to rely more heavily on Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris to pick up some of the slack. Both have struggled since Harden’s arrival, but both should be featured players next to Harden in tonight’s contest.
Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers NBA Game Pick
Miami opened as a 2.5-point favorite on the road in this one. The Heat haven’t played since last Friday, so they should have the rest advantage here against a Sixers squad that just played last night. The line has since moved to Miami -4 since the Embiid news came out early in the afternoon.
Given those struggles and the fact that Miami comes into this game largely healthy, I have a hard time not loving the value on the Heat to cover the four-point spread on the road. Miami has the fourth-best against-the-spread record in the NBA this season at 40-30-1. I expect them to improve upon that mark in this game.
Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers Betting Recap
- Moneyline: Heat -173, 76ers +153
- Point Spread: Heat -4 (-110), 76ers +4 (-110)
- Over/Under: Over 215 points (-110), Under 215 points (-110)
- Pick: Miami Heat -4 (-110)