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The Philadelphia 76ers travel to Miami to take on the Heat in the first game of their series. Can Philly win tonight without star Joel Embiid? Matt McCuen breaks down the game.
ANALYSIS

Miami Heat vs Philadelphia 76ers Prediction: Can Philly Win Tonight Without Joel Embiid?

The Philadelphia 76ers vs. the Miami Heat will take place on Monday night in beautiful Miami, Florida. The Heat enter play as the number one seed while Philly enters as the number four seed.

Heat vs. 76ers Start Time and Where to Watch, and Odds

  • Date: May 2, 2022
  • Game Time: 7:30 pm ET
  • Where to Watch: TNT

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Heat vs. 76ers Line Movement

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Miami Heat vs Philadelphia 76ers Prediction

The 76ers had to take in some tough news this week when the scoring champion Joel Embiid was ruled out for at least games one and two. Embiid was elbowed in the face by Raptors forward Pascal Siakam, causing a left orbital fracture and a mild concussion. This is a huge blow for this Philly team, but they do have other guys capable of stepping up. The one guy that will be looked to tonight is going to be one of the best scorers the NBA has ever seen in the form of James Harden.

Harden, who was added to the sixers from the Nets in the Ben Simmons trade, has not had an opportunity to be the leading scorer since his days in Houston. If you do remember those years, let me refresh your brain. Harden averaged 30.7 points in 2017, 36.1 points in 2018, and 34.3 in 2019. That was when he was Batman and not Robin, and tonight, he will have a chance to be Batman.

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There is no doubt Harden can still score with the best of them, but his style of game has turned into a pass-first guard. That may have to do with the fact that he played for the Nets, who have Kevin Durant, the best scorer in the Nba, and Kyrie Irving, perhaps the best scoring point guard in the NBA. I expect an aggressive brand of basketball tonight from number one. Tobias Harris is another guy who will have to pick up his scoring in the absence of Embiid. Harris is on a max contract for Philly, and these are the kind of games he can display why. Harris has had a great playoff so far, especially on the defensive end.

The Heat will look to shut down Harden and Embiid, led by one of the best defenses in all of the NBA. The Heat rank fifth in the NBA in defensive efficiency, a lot of that thanks to Jimmy Butler and PJ Tucker. These two veterans are two of the best defenders at their position, while Bam Adebayo has improved in guarding the paint. The Heat will be missing former NBA champion point guard Kyle Lowry for tonight's game. Jimmy Butler's status is also up in the air for tonight's game as he is listed as questionable tonight. Butler did not play in game five vs. the Hawks, and even if he goes tonight, he will not be one hundred percent. The line is -7.5 in favor of the hometown Heat. 

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I am backing Philly tonight with the eight points. I think this line is way overvalued in favor of the Heat, and it is a trap line. Joel Embiid is a massive loss, I will not dispute that, but this is still a playoff game, and the Heat are down one, maybe two starters tonight. Harden is going to have a big game in my opinion, after a great performance in game six in Toronto. I expect him to be uber aggressive tonight and force the issue on the offensive end. We all know how the NBA works when the star player goes out.

If the bet looks too easy one way, it probably is for a reason. I think the Heat could come out in this game with a lapse of focus due to the Embiid injury and get a snake bit early. This Philly team is playing with way less pressure here tonight as no one is really giving them a chance to win this game. This line is the best line we will get on Philly as dogs all series, very similar to what I said yesterday with the Bucks. I doubt we will get another line this inflated in the playoffs for the 76ers. Let's stay hot on the hardwood tonight! 

Miami Heat vs Philadelphia 76ers Pick

Pick: 76ers +8 -120 (Bet $120 to win $100)

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Article Author

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Matt McCuen is a native of Delco, PA. He has been working in the sports gambling industry and creating content for the last few years. He is an expert in numerous different sports, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and collegiate sports. You can follow Matt on Twitter at @DeadPresPicks.

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