Both the Miami Heat and Philadelphia 76ers are going to be quite short-handed this Tuesday when they meet in the City of Brotherly Love (if the game is played), due to COVID protocols and injuries. Which way to lean at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
Miami Heat vs. Philadelphia 76ers
Tuesday, January 12, 2021 – 07:00 PM ET at Wells Fargo Center
Tuesday is the first meeting of the season between these Eastern Conference contenders; they will play again in Philly on Thursday, and then that’s it for the first half of the schedule in the season series.
Last season, Miami won the series 3-1 and was 1-1 in Philadelphia – the Heat is just 23-38 all-time there. Jimmy Butler averaged 22 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.8 assists vs. the Sixers to lead Miami. Of course, Butler used to play for the Sixers, although he was there so quickly it’s easy to forget. Philly shipped him out in a four-team sign-and-trade deal in July 2019. Goran Dragic averaged 20.3 points, and Bam Adebayo 16.0 points and 6.3 rebounds. Butler, Dragic, and Adebayo will not play Tuesday.
Joel Embiid led Philadelphia, averaging 27.3 points and 13.3 rebounds in the four games. Josh Richardson averaged 22.0 points, but he’s now with Dallas. Tobias Harris put up 14.3 points and 6.3 rebounds, and Ben Simmons 13.0 points, 7.8 assists, and 7.3 rebounds. However, it’s not all that likely either plays Tuesday.
Will Heat Have Enough Players?
There’s a reasonable chance this game is postponed as both the Heat and Sixers are dealing with COVID issues. Miami’s game in Boston on Sunday was postponed. That might have been a good thing for Butler, as he may not have played due to an ankle injury.
He is one of eight players who will not play Tuesday if the game goes off. That includes Dragic, Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn, Moe Harkless, Avery Bradley, Udonis Haslem (that dude is still in the league!?), and someone named KZ Okpala. All are in COVID protocols.
Center Meyers Leonard (left shoulder strain) is listed as questionable, while Kelly Olynyk (groin) and Gabe Vincent are probable. There must be eight players active for the game to be played, meaning two of those three injured guys must be active, or this game will be postponed. I have no clue what the starting lineup might look like here.
Because the virus is raging through the NBA, the league has scheduled a meeting of the board of governors Tuesday. There’s no expectation the season will be paused, but teams might be allowed to have expanded rosters.
Miami’s magic number this season is 40: As in the Heat are unbeaten (3-0) when holding teams to under 40 percent shooting from the field. The Heat doesn’t have anyone averaging even 18 points per game but have six guys averaging at least 10.0: Adebayo (17.4), Butler (15.8), Tyler Herro (15.6), Dragic (14.8), Olynyk (11.6), Duncan Robinson (11.3) and Bradley (10.0).
Robinson recently became the fastest player in league history to make 300 career three-pointers, doing it in his 95th career game. The previous record of 117 games was set by the Mavs’ Luka Doncic and Blazers’ Damian Lillard.
In sports betting, Miami is 1-3 ATS in its past four and the under is 3-1 in those.
Sixers Playing Second Of Back-To-Back
Philadelphia (7-4) lost its third in a row Monday, 112-94 in Atlanta. Embiid led Philadelphia with 24 points and 11 rebounds after missing the previous game with back stiffness.
Embiid is perhaps the only guy you have heard of who played. Ben Simmons was out with a sore left knee and a handful of guys were out due to COVID protocols, led by Tobias Harris, Seth Curry, Shake Milton, and Matisse Thybulle. Curry, brother of Steph, reportedly was the one who tested positive.
Here were the Philly starters on Monday: Embiid, Mike Scott, Danny Green, Tyrese Maxey, and Dakota Mathias. I do this for a living, and I can barely tell you who Dakota Mathias is – the rookie wasn’t even that good at Purdue. The guys who played off the bench were Dwight Howard and then unknowns Paul Reed, Tony Bradley, and Isaiah Joe.
So, I’d like to tell you who will/can play Tuesday; if Simmons can get out there (seems doubtful), or if Embiid sits the second of a back-to-back, but it’s impossible to know at this point. Embiid did only play 23 minutes Monday, so he should be able to go. Philadelphia is 1-3 ATS in its past four games on the NBA odds. The over is 3-1 in those four.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.