The Miami Heat and Phoenix Suns looked sharp at home during their respective series against the Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks. Bettors are wagering that they’ll continue to outmatch their opponents on the road, as well. More than 70% of all the tickets and handle at BetMGM are counting on the Heat and Suns to win and cover tonight as they aim to extend their 2-0 series leads.
Results without process
Miami took full advantage of Joel Embiid’s absence in the first two games of their series, pounding the Sixers by 14 and 16 points. Without their 7-foot MVP candidate, Philly was outrebounded by double-digits in each contest. Of greater concern, though, has been their inability to stop Heat center Bam Adebayo.
DeAndre Jordan started both games at center for Doc Rivers’ team, but the 33-year-old was relentlessly hunted in pick-and-rolls to the point of being unplayable. Six minutes of Paul Millsap in Game 1 proved to be six minutes too much, as Millsap never saw the floor in a Game 2 where Georges Niang fouled out in 10 minutes of action.
Paul Reed has logged the most minutes amongst Philly big men. He’s been serviceable, but his penchant for fouling has limited his time on the court.
Bettors believe it will be another long night for the Sixers if Embiid is unavailable to play. He cleared concussion protocol today, but is still listed as doubtful. Seventy-eight percent of the betting handle is on the Heat to cover the spread, which opened at -1.5, ballooned to -3.5 after Embiid was ruled out, then shrank back down to -1.5 upon the news he cleared concussion protocol. Few bettors think the Sixers can pull out a win, with 85% of the handle on the Heat moneyline.
Embiid’s status could still change before tipoff. If he suits up, he’ll have to battle through an orbital fracture and a torn ligament in his right thumb. Meanwhile, Miami guard Kyle Lowry has been upgraded to questionable after missing the last four games with a hamstring injury.
Interestingly, only 44% of tickets are backing the under of 210.5 total points, but 65% of the handle is on the under.
Suns rising in the West
Phoenix has won three in a row since Devin Booker returned from a strained hamstring. Booker and Chris Paul have taken turns torturing Luka Doncic, whose spectacular offensive abilities have been negated on the other end by his lackluster defensive performances.
The Suns seem more than happy allowing Doncic to expend all of his energy on offense, knowing they can exploit him for a bucket whenever they want when they have the ball. Doncic isn’t the most well-conditioned athlete, which is part of the reason he’s such a liability on defense. Phoenix scored a blistering 1.24 points per possession in Game 1 and an even better 1.29 ppp in Game 2.
Dallas opened as a 1.5-point underdog but flipped to a 1.5-point favorite today, despite 84% of bettors backing the Suns to cover. Just over three-quarters of the moneyline handle is also on Phoenix.
Stats provided by Basketball Reference, teamrankings.com, and nba.com.