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Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers Betting Preview

NBA Previews

A pair of Eastern Conference title contenders will square off Thursday night when the Philadelphia 76ers host the Miami Heat.

We are less than 48 hours removed from these two teams playing each other, so we have a pretty good idea of what Thursday night should look like.

On Tuesday night, the incredibly short-handed Heat took the Sixers to overtime in a 137-134 loss. The Heat did not have many key players like Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Avery Bradley, or Goran Dragic.

The Heat managed to have eight players available. Leading scorer Tyler Herro paced them with 34 points and seven boards. All five starters scored in double figures for the Heat, including 26 from Duncan Robinson and 24 from second-year player Gabe Vincent.

The 76ers, on the other hand, had everyone back from their COVID-19 quarantines. Joel Embiid went off for 45 points and 16 rebounds in a double-double effort. 

Even Danny Green racked up 29 points against the Heat. Dwight Howard came off the bench and nearly had a double-double with 10 points and eight rebounds.

What To Know - Miami Heat

The Heat will again be very short-handed as many players are out Thursday night due to COVID-19 protocol. Butler, Bradley, Udonis Haslem, Kendrick Nunn, Adebayo, Maurice Harkless, Dragic and KZ Okpala are all out due to COVID-19 exposures. Miami big man Meyers Leonard will also not suit up due to a shoulder injury.

This leaves the Heat with the same eight players they had available for Tuesday night's game. Rookie Precious Achiuwa, Kelly Olynyk, Herro, Vincent, Robinson, Max Strus, Andre Iguodala, and Chris Silva will be suiting up to take on the 76ers. 

What To Know - Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers have dealt with their own COVID-19 issues this year and fully understand what it's like to be short-handed. Even this past game vs. Miami, they were missing key players Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, Tobias Harris, and Tarrance Ferguson. All of those players are probable to return for Thursday night's contest.

After his 45-point explosion on Tuesday night, Embiid is probable after suffering some back tightness of the past couple of days. Ben Simmons is also probable with some left knee swelling.

The return of the 76ers players, coupled with the Heat's shorthandedness, could spell a blowout in the making Thursday night in Philadelphia.

The Spread

According to the Dunkel Index, the 76ers come into Thursday night's game as 10.5-point favorites. Not much has changed from either team's circumstances from the other night other than the Sixers possibly having more players. 

On Tuesday night, the Sixers were nine-point favorites and did not cover in the three-point overtime win. Swelling that spread to 10.5 points Thursday night is a little curious. 

The Pick Is In

The 76ers are getting healthy and getting their roster back in place while Miami is staring down a very short bench. Miami's starters have only had one day off since playing a ton of minutes against Philadelphia on Tuesday night.

This is not a recipe for a close game. I will take the 76ers to easily cover this 10.5-point spread and have most of their bench in the game by the start of the fourth quarter. 

The Pick: Philadelphia 76ers -10.5

For more Dunkel Index NBA picks, check out our NBA picks page.

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