The Eastern Conference Playoff picture is starting to come together and we know the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat will both take part in the festivities. If the Heat can make up a game and a half deficit on the Nets, then they could even match up in the first round. If not, then Miami will have to make their way through the Play-In Tournament.
Last time out, the Sixers beat the Celtics after falling to the Bucks the game before, so there’s a lot of competition between the top three teams in the conference in the finals weeks of the regular season. Miami comes in after winning two straight, but against Dallas and Detroit, so not quite the same quality of opponent.
Let’s take a look at the odds for Miami and Philly in this Eastern Conference matchup.
Heat vs. Sixers odds, spread and total
Heat vs. Sixers prediction and pick
In March, the Miami Heat went 7-8 which is not a bad record for a team that is barely over .500 on the year, but they were a worse team than that record indicates. They were 23rd in net rating, -4.2, and for a team that relies heavily on defense they were 27th in defensive rating. For the year, Miami is 2nd in opponent points per game, but that has a lot to do with the slow pace that they operate at. They are 30th in points per game and 27th in field goal percentage.
In big games, the Heat need former Sixer, Jimmy Butler to play like one of the best players in the NBA. He often does it in the postseason, and in March he averaged 25.1 points a game with 5.4 assists, and 1.4 steals. He could try to take over this contest, but nobody in the NBA can take over a game like Joel Embiid can.
Embiid had 52 points and 13 rebounds against Boston on Tuesday and one more big game could put the cherry on top of his MVP candidacy. He’s the favorite to win the award and he’s making sure he doesn’t let up with just a few games left and their position in the standings all but decided.
I like Philly to win tonight and I may bet them to cover the three points, but my best bet is the under for this one. For the season Philly is 27th in pace and Miami is 29. The under is 4-0 in Miami’s last four against winning teams and is 4-1 in Philly’s last five overall.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change