James Harden’s been letting it fly from distance of late, a trend our NBA picks see continuing tonight as the 76ers take on a Heat defense that’s liable to get burnt from 3-point range.
It seems kind of crazy that Monday night will be the first time this season that Eastern Conference foes the Miami Heat and the Philadelphia 76ers will do battle. That means it’s the first time these teams will have met since the Heat eliminated the 76ers in six games in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinals.
But it’s the Sixers who look like the team to beat if these two were to meet in another playoff matchup and are laying 6 points of chalk for this East throwdown.
Philly just had a five-game winning streak snapped but sits comfortably in third place in the East. While Miami has lost four in a row, dropping them to seventh in the standings. But the Heat could make a statement with a win in Philly tonight — is giving them that many points disrespectful?
I break down this Eastern Conference clash and bring you my best bet in NBA picks and predictions Heat vs. 76ers.
Heat vs 76ers best odds
Heat vs 76ers picks and predictions
The 76ers are hoping this is finally the year they make it to the NBA Finals. And they know if they want that to happen it’s going to be because Joel Embiid and James Harden are playing, well, like they are right now.
Despite a close loss to the East-leading Celtics last time out, the Sixers are playing excellent basketball at the moment. Philly has won 14 of its last 18 games overall.
Embiid is averaging 32.5 points on 52.2% shooting while adding 11.3 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.6 blocks per game over that stretch. But he has generally always done that. It’s Harden finding his elite level of play that can make this team dangerous.
Over that same stretch, Harden’s putting up 21.3 points with 9.9 assists and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 40% from 3-point range. And Harden’s long-range shooting should come into play today.
Even though Miami has a highly-rated defense, the team’s style of play can leave them vulnerable on the perimeter. The Heat tend to collapse on the ball when it moves inside, and that’s definitely where it will go in a game featuring Embiid. But a smart team with vision can keep the ball out for open looks from three.
As a result, the Heat allow the second-most made threes per game in the NBA, while ranking 21st in opponent 3-point shooting percentage.
As noted, Harden has been feeling it from deep. He’s shooting 45.5% from three over his last four games on a big 8.3 attempts per game. Harden’s 3-pointers made prop is set at 2.5 and juice way to the Over. So, let’s get a little crazy and look at his alt-made threes prop. He’s hit four or more twice in his last four games and I think his offense will be needed with Bam Adebayo blanketing Embiid tonight.
At +145, it’s worth backing Harden to stay hot from downtown in this matchup against the Heat tonight.
My best bet: James Harden 4+ made threes (+145 at FanDuel)
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Heat vs 76ers spread analysis
The spread for this Eastern Conference clash is an interesting one. It opened with the 76ers as 5.5-point home favorites, and they have moved up to 6 at some spots. But both numbers look available as of Monday afternoon.
To be honest, it’s a little jarring to see a spread this large between two teams with high expectations for this season. But there are a few things at work here resulting in this much chalk for the Sixers.
As noted, the Sixers are playing very well of late, going 14-4 straight up and 11-7 against the spread over their last 18 games, and generally, Philly has been dominant at home. The Sixers are 24-9 SU and 22-11 ATS when playing at Wells Fargo Center this season.
Meanwhile, the Heat are cold, losing four in a row and six of their last nine overall. The offense hasn’t been great all season but it’s really cost them lately — to the point where Miami has covered the spread just once in its last nine games and now ranks 26th in offensive rating. It doesn’t help that Kyle Lowry is still out and Tyler Herro is now questionable to play tonight.
It feels like 6 points are too many for a team that is known for its competitive nature and defensive prowess. But with the current form of each team taken into consideration, Philly’s excellence at home, and the fact Miami is a sub-par 12-18-1 ATS on the road this season, I think staying away from the spread is the right choice here.
Heat vs 76ers Over/Under analysis
With all the scoring going on in the NBA this season, a total below 220 feels like a bit of a rarity. But that’s exactly what we’re getting in this matchup of Eastern Conference foes. The total for this game hit the board 216 and has moved up slightly to 217. But even a low number like this still feels a little high for these two teams.
Yes, Philly is balling right now. But I expect the Heat to bring their A-game defensively into this matchup. Miami ranks fifth in the NBA when it comes to defensive efficiency this season and is second when it comes to scoring defense, allowing just 108.6 points per contest.
Throw in a Miami offense that ranks 26th in efficiency, 27th in effective field goal percentage, and dead last in scoring at 108.1 points per game and you have the recipe for an excellent Under team. And not shockingly, the Heat have the fourth-best record to the Under in the NBA this season.
And it’s not like that offense will suddenly get going against the Sixers. Philly ranks seventh in defensive rating and third in scoring defense at 110.4 per contest.
Mixing in the fact the Sixers and Heat rank 26th and 28th respectively when it comes to pace, the tempo of this game will be slowed to a crawl. I would lean Under here.
Heat vs 76ers betting trend to know
The Under is 8-3 in both the Heat’s and the 76ers’ last 11 games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record. Find more NBA betting trends for Heat vs. 76ers.
Heat vs 76ers game info
|Location:||Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA|
|Date:||Monday, February 27, 2023|
|Tip-off:||7:00 p.m. ET|