Philadelphia 76ers vs Miami Heat (3/1 @ 7:30 PM EST)
Spread: Sixers -1.5
Money Line: Sixers -115 / Heat -105
Overview and Betting Info
The Philadelphia 76ers (39-21) will head south to take on the Miami Heat (33-29) on Wednesday night. These teams met for the first time on Monday, with the Heat winning a 101-99 thriller in Philadelphia. The Sixers are currently third in the East, trailing the Bucks and Celtics by four games. The Heat are in seventh, just two games away from the coveted sixth seed.
The Sixers are 34-25-1 against the spread this season and have covered five of their last seven games. They’ve gone over the total 33 times but have been under six of their last nine.
The Heat are 22-37-3 versus the spread and have covered just two of their last ten games. They have gone over the total 28 times, including in three of their last five.
The Sixers will have a shot at redemption on Wednesday after losing a heartbreaker to the Heat on Monday. It was their second straight loss, but they have been playing well. They beat the Cavs and Grizzlies in their last four games and lost to Boston and Miami by a basket. The Sixers’ defense has been a big part of their success, ranking third in opponent scoring (110.2 PPG), sixth in assists (23.7 APG), thirteenth in field goal percentage (47.0%), and fourth in three-point percentage (34.5%). The offense has been down a bit, ranking sixteenth in scoring (113.9 PPG), tenth in field goal percentage (48.0%), and fourth in three-point shooting (38.3%). One major area of concern has been rebounding, as they are 28th in the NBA with 40.6 per game. The Sixers have played well on the road, going 15-11 this season.
The Sixers are led by Joel Embiid (33.0 PPG, 10.4 RPG, 1.1 SPG, 1.6 BPG) and James Harden (21.6 PPG, 10.7 APG, 1.3 SPG). Embiid is second in the NBA in scoring, ninth in rebounding, and sixth in blocks. He has been incredible since the All-Star break, averaging 31.6 points, 14.3 rebounds, and 3.3 steals. He was good against the Heat on Monday, scoring 27 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. That was Embiid’s first time scoring over 20 against the Heat in his last four matchups. While Harden’s scoring has been slowly declining, he has made up for it by leading the NBA in assists. He has made under 34% of his shots over his last two games but did have 20 points, 12 assists, six rebounds, and two steals against the Heat.
The Sixers stars are joined by a solid group of players in Tyrese Maxey (19.5 PPG, 3.5 APG), Tobias Harris (15.3 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 1.0 SPG), and De’Anthony Melton (10.4 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 1.6 SPG). Maxey has been coming off the bench for most of the season, but that hasn’t stopped him from scoring. He’s been a better player on the road this year, averaging 20.4 points and making 39% of his threes. Maxey was the second-leading scorer against Miami on Monday, making 50% of his shots for 23 points. Harris had one of the worst games of his season against Miami on Monday, with the same number of points as turnovers (2). It’s been a down-scoring month for him, averaging just 11.1 points. Melton is fifth in the NBA in steals and is one of their best three-point shooters (39.8%). He had just six points in 31 minutes on Monday but did have two blocks and a steal.
The Heat’s win against the Sixers on Monday broke a four-game skid. While two losses came against the West-leading Nuggets and East-leading Bucks, the other two were against the lowly Nets and Hornets. Despite the streak, they’ve slowly climbed up to the seven seed and are just two games away from jumping over a gutted Nets team for the sixth seed. They’ve been led by one of the league’s best defenses, ranking second in opponent scoring (108.5 PPG), despite being in the league’s bottom half in opponent field goal and three-point percentage. They are also third in steals (8.4 SPG) but last in blocks (3.1). Their offense has been bad, ranking last in the NBA in scoring (108.0 PPG), 29th in field goal percentage (45.0%), twenty-eighth in three-point percentage (33.3%), and twenty-sixth in rebounds (41.4 RPG). Miami is 19-10 playing at home this season.
The Heat are led by a trio of Jimmy Butler (21.9 PPG, 5.9 RPG, 5.1 APG, 2.0 SPG), Bam Adebayo (21.2 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 1.2 SPG), and Tyler Herro (20.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 4.3 APG). Butler has one of his best games against the Sixers on Monday with 23 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists, and four steals. He has given up shooting the three but is making 51.7% of his shots from the field. Butler has been better at home, averaging 23.2 points and 6.5 rebounds. Bam is having another great season, but he’s been struggling since the All-Star break. He is averaging just 15 points and 6.7 rebounds in the three games since the break. That included a poor performance against the Sixers on Monday, where he shot 28.6% from the field for 13 points and had five turnovers. Herro is also coming off a poor game against the Sixers, where he made 23.1% of his shots for eight points. It was an off-night for the Heats’ top three-point threat, but he has struggled with his shot and is only making 40% from the field over the last two months.
With Kyle Lowry out (12.0 PPG, 5.3 APG), the Heat will rely on Max Strus (12.3 PPG), Victor Oladipo (10.4 PPG, 1.6 SPG), and Caleb Martin (10.1 PPG, 5.2 RPG, 1.0 SPG). Strus is a fantastic shooter that the Heat has begun to rely on, especially when Herro goes cold. He is questionable to play on Wednesday, and it would be a massive loss if he misses. Oladipo and Martin have dealt with injuries but are vital to this Miami defense. Look out for Kevin Love (8.4 PPG, 7.0 RPG), as the newly acquired forward got the start on Monday and has 26 rebounds in his first three games with the team. He also has two blocks and two steals since joining Miami.
Free Pick: Sixers -1.5
We think the Sixers will come into Miami on Wednesday looking for payback. They have been playing better than Miami, and the loss dropped them further behind the East leaders. The difference between the two and three seeds in the East is enormous, so expect a sense of urgency.
While Miami’s defense has been great, we don’t see them shooting down the Sixers’ role players again on Wednesday. Maxey, Harden, and Embiid scored over 20 points, but no other player had more than eight. Harris and Melton were ice cold, which was hard for the Sixers to cover with defensive-minded PJ Tucker on the floor. Expect to see the Sixers spread the ball around more and get those players more looks. On the other side, Bam is struggling, and Herro’s shooting percentage is dropping. We don’t think the Heat will have the offensive firepower to keep up with Miami’s injuries and Herro’s cold shooting.
We’re confidently giving up the points to roll with the Sixers on Wednesday.