Blake Daniels, May 2, 2022
The 4th seeded Philadelphia 76ers open their second-round series against the East’s top-seeded Miami Heat on Monday at the FTX Arena.
Philadelphia advanced to the second round by defeating the Toronto Raptors in six games. However, the Sixers’ postseason run has ended in this round in three out of the last four seasons. Philadelphia has not made the Conference Finals since 2001 and they have not won a championship since 1983. Expectations were high this year after they traded for James Harden but with Joel Embiid sidelined to start the second round, things look tough for Philly right now.
Miami finished with the best record in the East and they dispatched the 8th seeded Hawks in five games, shutting down Trae Young and the Atlanta offense in a brilliant defensive showcase. The Heat lost to the Lakers in the 2020 Finals at the Orlando Bubble and their 2021 campaign ended in a first-round sweep against the Bucks. With homecourt advantage throughout the East playoffs, the Heat are looking for another title run.
The Sixers’ playoff hopes suffered a huge blow when Joel Embiid suffered an orbital fracture and concussion during their close-out game against the Toronto Raptors in the previous round. Without Embiid, the Sixers will likely go with veteran DeAndre Jordan who scored 8 points and grabbed 11 rebounds in 23 minutes of playing time while playing in Embiid’s spot during a regular season game last month.
Without Embiid, the onus will fall on former MVP James Harden to lead the Sixers’ offense. Harden averaged only 19 points in 40 minutes of playing time during the opening round. Harden shot 7-12 from the field and scored 22 points with 15 assists in Game 6 so he is coming off a good performance. Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Haris, and Danny Green will all have to bring their A-game to help Harden with the scoring chores.
Moneyline Odds: Sixers +280, Heat -350
Odds from BetOnline as of 05/02/2022
The Heat also head to Game 1 walking wounded. Miami will be without floor general Kyle Lowry as he continued to deal with a hamstring strain. Main man Jimmy Butler missed their last game with a knee issue but is expected to start in Game 1 on Monday. Gabe Vincent will most likely start again in Lowry’s place. Although he isn’t a true point guard, Butler will be there to help in the playmaking plus Vincent can knock down three-pointers and play good defense.
A big bonus for Miami will be guard Victor Oladipo who scored 23 points while starting in Butler’s place in Game 5. With the Sixers likely going small without Embiid, Oladipo should figure in significant minutes in Game 1. Max Strus has averaged 16 points per game in a starting role while Tyler Herro is looking for a bounce-back series after averaging only 11 PPG in the first round.
The Sixers are 9-3 SU in their last 12 games played. Philadelphia is 3-2 SU in their last five games played at home, 36-22 SU in their last 58 games against the Eastern Conference, and 20-9 SU in their last 29 road games against opponents from the Eastern Conference.
The Heat are 10-2 SU in their last 12 games played. Miami is 6-0 SU in their last six games played at home, 39-18 SU in 57 games played against the Eastern Conference, and 23-6 SU in their last 29 home games against teams from the Eastern Conference.
Head to head, the Heat are 6-4 SU in their last 10 games played against the Sixers. Miami is also 5-1 SU in their last six home games against Philadelphia.
Injuries are going to be key in this series. Miami played without Jimmy Butler in Game 5 against the Hawks due to a knee injury but he is expected to play in this game. Tyler Herro who had a non-COVID illness is also expected to suit up for the Heat. However, Miami will be without floor leader Kyle Lowry who is out with a hamstring injury.
The Sixers meanwhile, will be without superstar center and MVP finalist Joel Embiid who suffered an orbital fracture and concussion after colliding with Pascal Siakam in the Sixers’ previous game. Embiid was already playing through a torn ligament in his thumb but his latest injuries will force him to sit out games.
These teams split their four meetings during the regular season but the Sixers are only 6-8 SU without Embiid this season. There’s no question that the Heat will miss Lowry’s services but if Butler does play in this game, the Heat should be fine. Meanwhile, you can’t say the same for the Sixers because Embiid is irreplaceable, not just on offense but also on defense. I expect the Sixers to give it a good fight. However, the Heat should have more than enough firepower to pull off the win.
Prediction: Miami Heat
Other Bets to Make
Philadelphia is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games played. They are also 4-0 ATS in their last four games after a straight up win of more than 10 points, 5-0 ATS in their last five games when playing on three or more days rest, 4-1 ATS in their last five games after a straight up win, 7-2 ATS in their last nine games as road underdogs, 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games against an opponent with a winning percentage better than .600, 7-3 ATS in their last 10 Monday games, and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games after scoring more than 125 points in their previous game.
The Sixers are 2-6 ATS in their last eight games played on the road, 6-14 ATS in their last 20 games after an ATS win, 6-16-1 ATS in their last 23 games after scoring more than 100 points in their previous game, 0-3-1 ATS in their last four road games against an opponent with a winning percentage better than .600.
Miami is 9-3 ATS in their last 12 games played. The Heat are 4-1 ATS in their last five Monday games, 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games played as betting favorites, 10-2 ATS in their last 12 games as playoff favorites, 5-1 ATS in their last six games as home favorites, 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games when their opponent scores more than 100 points in their previous game, 7-2 ATS in their last nine games against an opponent with a winning straight up record, 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games against an opponent with a winning percentage better than .600, 36-16 ATS in their last 52 games after a three-day rest, and 34-16-1 ATS in their last 51 conference semifinals games.
Head to head, the Heat are 6-4 ATS in their last 10 games played against the Sixers. Miami is also 4-1 ATS in their last five home games against Philadelphia.
Spread Odds: Sixers +8 (-110), Heat -8 (-110)
Odds from BetOnline as of 05/02/2022
The Heat have a big advantage right now with Joel Embiid out indefinitely. Embiid is the Sixrs’ best player and is averaging 26.2 points and 11.2 rebounds per game in the playoffs. Without him, players will have to step up for Philadelphia. But even then, no one or more players can make up for his absence and what he does to the offense.
The Heat have the second-best scoring defense in the 2022 NBA playoffs and without Embiid, they will be able to focus more on the Sixers’ other scorers like Harden, Harris, and Maxey. We saw the Miami defense shut down Trae Young in the previous series. Look for them to do the same to the Sixers. I see a double-digit win for Miami here.
Prediction: Heat -8
The total has gone under in four out of the last five games played by the Sixers. The under is 4-0 in their last four games after scoring more than 100 points in their previous game, 4-0 in their last four Conference semifinals games, 5-1 in their last six games after an ATS win, 9-2 in their last 11 games as road underdogs, 4-1 in their last five Monday games, 4-1 in their last five games against an opponent with a winning straight up record, 5-2 in their last seven games after a straight up win of more than 10 points, 35-17 in their last 52 games against an opponent with a winning percentage better than .600, and 5-2 in their last seven road games after a rest of 3 or more days.
The total has gone under in each of the last five games played by the Heat. The under is 6-1 in Miami’s last seven games against the Western Conference, 5-0 in their last five games as betting favorites, 4-0 in their last four games as home favorites, 13-3 in their last 16 playoff games, 4-1 in their last five games when their opponent scores 100 or more points in their previous game, 4-1 in their last five games after a straight up win, 4-1 in their last five games against an opponent with a winning record, and 4-0 in their last four games played at home.
Head to head, the total has gone under in four out of their last five meetings.
Over/Under Odds: Over 208.5 (-110), Under 208.5 (-110)
Odds from BetOnline as of 05/02/2022
The Heat rank 2nd in scoring defense in the postseason while the Sixers are 4th. Together, they combined for only 200.6 points per game allowed in the first round of the playoffs. Miami held the Atlanta Hawks to 94 or fewer points in three of five games played in their series while the Sixers to 103 or fewer points four times in their six games played in round one.
These are two tough defensive teams who will be meeting in a playoff series and you also have to factor in the absence of Joel Embiid on the side of Philadelphia. Sure, the Sixers are going to get some players to score more than usual, but without Embiid, the offense isn’t the same and so will the output.
Prediction: Under 208.5