Miami Heat Advance, Move to Top of Eastern Conference Betting Boards

Jimmy Butler Miami Heat Background

  • The Miami Heat are the new +105 odds on favorite to win the Eastern Conference.
  • Miami is the first team through to the Conference Finals after beating the Sixers 99-90 on Thursday night.
  • Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 32 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and 1 steal.

The race for the NBA’s Eastern Conference is down to three teams and it’s no surprise that the Top 3 seeds in the East playoffs are the teams left standing.

Among the three, the top-seeded Miami Heat is the new odds-on-favorite to win the Eastern Conference. According to the online sportsbook BetMGM, the Heat are the +105 favorites to win the East. The 3rd seeded Milwaukee Bucks are second at +150 odds while the 2nd seeded Boston Celtics are last at +450.

Miami is also listed at +105 at Bet365 USA. They are also a +110 betting favorite at the BetOnline App, PointsBet USA, and Caesars Sportsbook.

Heat Heading to East Finals

The Heat are the first team through to the Conference Finals. Miami defeated the Philadelphia 76ers 99-90 on Thursday night to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals for the second time in three seasons. The Heat went all the way to the 2020 NBA Finals in the Orlando bubble where they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Miami’s defense shut down the Sixers to only 90 points, one game after limiting them to a series-low 85 in Game 5 which was played in Miami. The Heat held the Sixers to 36-87 shooting from the field or 41.4% while also outrebounding them 49-35, including 13-6 off the offensive glass.

Jimmy Butler led the Heat with 32 points while also contributing 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks, and one steal in 43 minutes of action. He was the biggest thorn for the Sixers in the series as he averaged 27.5 points, 7.5 rebounds, 5.5 assists, and 1.7 steals per game. Butler had three games with 30+ points, including Game 6 where he went over his scoring prop of 25.5 points.

Harden Attempted Only Two Shots in Second Half

James Harden, whom the Sixers acquired for Ben Simmons, didn’t just play below par in the playoffs, he literally disappeared in the team’s most important game of the season. Philadelphia had hoped that Harden would not only help Embiid with the scoring in the playoffs but his experience would help them get over the second-round hump. That did not happen.

Harden scored only 11 points on 4-9 shooting in Game 6. He scored all his points in the first half and his last basket came at the 3:16 mark of the second quarter. Worse, Harden took only two shots in the second half, scoring as many points ( zero ) as Simmons did in the second half of Game 6 of the 2021 East semifinals series, which turned out to be Simmons’ final game as a Sixer.

Harden is eligible for a five-year $269.9 million extension this offseason but after Thursday, it remains a mystery if the Sixers will offer him that deal. Interestingly, the Sixers once had Jimmy Butler but allowed him to walk away and join the Heat. Philly kept Simmons and ended up trading the Aussie for Harden. Harden laid a fat egg in the second half on Thursday, giving Butler the last laugh and the Heat another trip to the Eastern Conference Finals.

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Shane Acedera / Author

Shane grew up watching the Magic & Bird rivalry but ended up rooting for Detroit's Bad Boys team in the 1990s NBA. He loves to tell sports stories and has been writing about sports since high school. When Shane isn't busy jotting down his thoughts, he's just chillin' at home with his wife Rocelle and their two dogs named Horry and Fisher. He recently added a new family member, adopting a handsome retired K-9 named Ranger.

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