Heat vs. 76ers Odds & Picks: Shorthanded Miami Can Still Hang (Jan. 14)
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Duncan Robinson
- The 76ers are a big favorite over the shorthanded Heat on Thursday night as Miami is still without several stars due to the health and safety protocol.
- Despite their absences, the Heat hung tough with Philly earlier this week and almost pulled off the outright upset.
- We're going back to the well with Miami on Thursday:
Heat vs. 76ers Odds
|Heat Odds||+11 [BET NOW]|
|76ers Odds||-11 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+450 / -625 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||221 [BET NOW]|
|Time||7:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
The Miami Heat face the Philadelphia 76ers Thursday night for the second consecutive game after Philly won in overtime on Tuesday 137-134.
After the Heat had their Sunday game vs the Celtics postponed because they couldn’t field the minimum number of players, they played with the minimum (eight) against the Sixers. While the Sixers had some notable absences too, they had two of their former All-Stars available while the Heat were without theirs — Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Goran Dragic. Ben Simmons fouled out while scoring five points on two shot attempts, but Joel Embiid scored a season-high 45 points to lead Philadelphia to a win.
The Heat surprised some people by making Tuesday’s game as close as it was. Expect the Heat to compete again and cover the double-digit spread.
Outside of Andre Iguodala and Chris Silva, all six of the other Heat players were efficient offensively. Miami should be able to score, but their defense will determine if they can cover.
The Heat had several impressive performances from their younger players. Tyler Herro scored a career-high 34 points while Gabe Vincent added a career-high 24 points. Rookie Precious Achiuwa recorded his first double-double with career-highs in minutes (36), points (17), and rebounds (13).
The Heat have the scoring ability to beat the Sixers with these three players along with Duncan Robinson, Kelly Olynyk and Max Strus, who can catch fire at any moment. Despite only having eight players available, the Heat’s strict commitment to conditioning puts them in a better spot than other teams.
The concern for the Heat lies on defense.
After all, only three certainties in life are death, taxes, and Danny Green lighting up the Miami Heat, no matter which colors are on his uniform. Green scored a season-high 29 points (previous high was 15) while making a career-high nine 3’s on 21 attempts. The Heat simply couldn’t guard Joel Embiid inside, and this led to too many open threes for Green.
The Heat will likely play with the same eight players, but Meyers Leonard (shoulder) has an outside chance to play as he is listed as doubtful. If he is healthy, he gives the Heat a bigger body to help with Embiid down low.
Olynyk isn’t the defender inside that Leonard or Adebayo is, and consequently, the Heat had Achiuwa guard Embiid for most of the night. While Achiuwa used his speed advantage to score offensively, he wasn’t physically big enough to keep Embiid from getting wherever he wanted or seeing passing lanes to find the open man.
While the Heat may have one more player available, the Sixers likely add Shake Milton, Tobias Harris, Terrance Ferguson, and Matisse Thybulle back to the rotation as they are all probable to return from health and safety protocols. Ben Simmons (knee) and Embiid (back) are both probable to play, but if you want to back the Sixers here, I’d wait to do so until confirming that they will both play. The Sixers will be without Seth Curry, Furkan Korkmaz, and Vincent Poirier (health and safety protocol).
The Sixers should again play through Embiid with Adebayo and Butler unavailable to make life difficult for him. Simmons only had two shot attempts on Tuesday (which he made both of), and I expect a nice bounce-back game for him as the Heat are down all of their best perimeter defenders except Iguodala (who played the second-fewest minutes of the eight Heat players). The Heat should be better at limiting opportunities for Embiid and trying to limit open 3’s, which should give a motivated Simmons an opportunity for a big night.
While the Heat will be shorthanded again on the road against the Sixers, the value is on their side as 11-point underdogs. Unlike many NBA teams who have a clear hierarchy of players, the Heat have a more fluid roster where they play certain players more in different situations according to matchups and momentum.
The absences of half the team means that this is a golden opportunity for the remaining players to show that they are worthy of more playing time, or in the case of two-way players Max Strus and Gabe Vincent, a roster spot.
The Heat caught the Sixers in a flat spot Tuesday, but they have the scoring ability to cover and even pull the upset if shooters like Robinson, Herro, Vincent, and Strus get hot. The Heat have the coaching edge with Spoelstra, and I expect him to have made the necessary adjustments to keep this game close. Take the 11 points.
Pick: Heat +11 (bet down to +9)