With the NBA altering this season’s 2020-21 schedule as it continues to battle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, one of the things online betting fans have been treated to is consecutive games by the same teams in the same city.
On Thursday night, the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat will meet in one of those affairs when they throw down in South Philly for the second consecutive game.
Will the Heat bounce back from a heartbreaking loss in the City of Brotherly Love on Tuesday night? Will Joel Embiid ‘ball out’ again as he continues his MVP-caliber campaign?
I’m fired up for this matchup. Now, let’s find out where the best sportsbook betting value lies in this Eastern Conference affair.
Miami Heat (4-5) at Philadelphia 76ers (84)
When: Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, at 7:00 PM ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center
NBA Odds: OFF
What’s Up With Miami?
While Miami mugged Milwaukee and bullied Boston to reach last season’s NBA Finals opposite the LA Lakers, the Heat have gotten off to a pretty pedestrian start this season. Hell, the most consistent thing about Miami this season has been its inconsistency. Believe it or not, Miami has alternated wins and losses every single game this season.
I guess that could be a good thing though heading into Thursday’s rematch against the 76ers seeing as how the Heat were on the wrong end of a heartbreaking 137-134 overtime loss on Tuesday night.
Tyler Herro put up a team-high 34 points while Duncan Robinson added 26 points, but the Heat were without Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and Goran Dragic for COVID-19 reasons.
“It’s a shame because our guys did more than enough to put ourselves in position to win,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. “They could have kept on going another two overtimes. It wasn’t a matter of lack of want or lack of effort. Our guys emptied it all out there. It’s just a matter of getting over this hurdle of really finishing plays.”
Doc Makes A House Call!
Man, I sure miss the glorious 80’s when Julius ‘Dr. J’ Erving was routinely making ‘house calls’ at the old Spectrum Arena, but there’s another ‘Doc’ in South Philly these days making a difference.
I expected Philadelphia’s hiring of widely-respected head coach Doc Rivers would make an immediate difference and it has. Rivers’ no-nonsense ways have removed a lot of the foolishness we’ve seen out of the talented, but often unfocused, duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
The Sixers are off to a solid 8-4 start after a dozen games even though the organization has had its own COVID-19 battles this season. Philly’s win over Miami on Tuesday night snapped a three-game skid as Joel Embiid went off for a game-high 45 points and 16 rebounds.
“I’ve got a goal. I want to win the championship and I can’t do it alone,” Embiid said.
Embiid hit a handful of clutch shots down the stretch.
“He willed that game for us,” coach Doc Rivers said.
Expert Analysis and Prediction
Right now, it’s not known who’s going to miss this game, particularly for Miami. The Heat had their previous game against Boston canceled and had to sit Butler, Adebayo and Dragic on Tuesday.
If those guys have to sit again, Philadelphia will get back-to-back victories. If all two of the three can make it back, I’m going with Miami. The Heat will extend their season-long trend of alternating wins and losses.
In the end, I think the smart money has to be on Philly. The 76ers have the most talented player on either team in Joel Embiid. Miami has lost six of its last eight road games and three of four this season. Philadelphia is 6-1 at home and I like them to take care of business on Thursday night!
Pick: 76ers 121 Heat 115
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