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After laughter comes tears

That’s a Wu-Tang Clan sample for all of you new to the game. Before Sunday, the 76ers were rolling along nicely, winning 9-of-10. Then, Joel Embiid came down with an upper respiratory illness, and the Brooklyn Nets exploited his absence. The result was a 89-109 blowout at Barclays Center. It was a reminder of Embiid’s irreplaceable role as an emotional and physical team centerpiece. With Al Horford slowed by lingering knee and hamstring pain, Philly’s coach had to get creative with his big man rotation. Marc Narducci summed up the results in his takeaways article for the Philadelphia Inquirer:

“For the second straight game, Brett Brown used [Norvel] Pelle as his first center off the bench instead of Kyle O’Quinn. Pelle brings energy and he has a knack for blocking or altering shots, but he also gets caught out of position, and only is helping on offense, with follow-up dunks. When either Embiid or Horford misses a game, the backup center becomes key.”

Compounding the problems at center, the Sixers also had an awful game from long range. They went just 5-26 on three-pointers. Specifically, Horford, Tobias Harris, and Josh Richardson combined to shoot 0-13 from beyond the arc. The resulting loss dropped Philly to 6-8 away from Wells Fargo. Tonight, they return there to defend a 14-0 home mark against a resurgent Eastern Conference power.

NBA Betting Preview – Heat vs Sixers

Wed. 12/18 at 7:00 PM

Perched at #4 in ESPN’s Week 9 NBA Power Rankings (one spot ahead of the Sixers) are the Miami Heat. They moved up from #6 the previous week, thanks to two overtime wins over Atlanta and Dallas. Their rankings bump also came despite a 110-113 home loss to the L.A. Lakers. ESPN writer Royce Young summed up the reason why thusly:

They didn’t win, but the Heat showed they are more than capable of hanging with the Lakers. A few plays here, a couple of bounces there, and Miami would’ve had another marquee win to solidify its status as a legitimate contender.

That status suffered a bit of a hit on Monday, when they lost on the road to the Memphis Grizzlies, 111-118. Star rookie Ja Morant scored 20 points, while center Jonas Valanciunas finished with 21. For the Heat, Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 25, while making 12-14 free throws. Miami center Bam Adebayo was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week earlier in the day. He earned his 17th double-double of the season with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

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The Pick: 

Joel Embiid’s health will determine if the 76ers keep their home unbeaten streak alive. He practiced on Tuesday and is expected to play. The Sixers beat the Heat at Wells Fargo by 27 on November 23rd. Richardson went off for 32 against his old Miami mates, while ex-Sixer Butler scored just 11. Miami has gone 8-4 since then. Moreover, Butler has scored 20 or more points in nine straight games, and the Heat are 6-3 over that span. Tonight, I don’t think Philly will repeat its demoralizing combo of poor three-point shooting and soft center play. So, I’m taking the Sixers to win as 7.5-point favorites tonight.

Where to Bet it Online:

There are a lot of great options if you want to bet on this game legally at online sportsbooks. PointsBet, Unibet, SugarHouse, BetMGM, Borgata Online and DraftKings are all offering a -110 payout ($110 to win $100) on Philly as -7.5 point favorites. So you can’t go wrong taking your action to any of these betting sites. Click here for the odds and bonuses from all of these Top US Online Sportsbooks.

Our Top 3 Prop Bets: Heat vs. 76ers

Top Prop #1

Ben Simmons is coming off two decent shooting games. He scored 20 and 24, respectively, against the Nets and Pelicans. But before that, were two games where he chipped in just 7 points apiece against the Celtics and Pelicans. With the Heat’s perimeter defense closer in quality to those latter two teams, PointsBet is offering a tempting bet on Simmons. They have boosted the payout from -120 to +105 that the Sixers PG scores 15+ points at home against the Heat.

Top Prop #2

Meanwhile, Unibet is offering a decent payout if Jimmy Butler can continue his streak of 20+ point games. They offer a payout of +110 if Miami’s top scorer can shut out all the boos he’ll hear at Wells Fargo, and drop over 22.5 points against his old team.

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Top Prop #3

Here is a very enticing multi-player prop bet from Draftkings. You’ll need Kristaps Porzingis, Pascal Siakam and Joel Embiid each to record a triple double for a whopping +525 payout. That’s $100 to win $525. DK applied an odds boost to sweeten the deal on this one. Originally, the bet had a smaller payout at +480.

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After this betting preview, stay tuned to The Props Network for promotions and bonuses.


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