NBA preview and tips: Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers

The marquee matchup on Thursday is the play-off-chasing Miami Heat visiting the championship-chasing Philadelphia 76ers.

It's tough to properly assess this game at the time of writing. It's been an up-and-down season for Miami, who have fared better when their best players are on their court.
That's pretty much true of any NBA team, but Miami's back-up players haven't inspired confidence at times. You need a deep bench to make a play-off run, and they just don't have it.
The 76ers don't have that issue at all. They have stumbled amid a very tough schedule lately, but their 103-101 win over Boston in a play-off-like game reminded us of their qualities.
The scenario here is that Philly are very much locked into the third spot in the Eastern Conference play-offs. Miami are guaranteed a play-in game, but they could still finish sixth.

The current total look appealing, as the two sides have averaged 203 points across their last 10 meetings, with the two lowest-scoring games coming in the past 12 months.

Suggested bet: Under 220.5 total points

There seems little sense in Philly risking Tyrese Maxey, and it's not a disaster if Miami ends up in the play-in games, so don't be surprised if Bam Adebayo also sits this one out.
The under is 9-1 when the 76ers are playing on a single day of rest, and the total has gone under in the Heat's last four visits to a team with a winning home record.
The under is 7-1-1 in Philadelphia's last nine home games and at least one side has been held to 105 points or less in four of Miami's last five games.
Another key factor here could be the speed these teams play at. Philadelphia and Miami play at the 27th and 29th fastest pace in the league.

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Team News

Bam Adebayo and Kyle Lowry are listed as questionable, whilst Nikola Jovic is out for Miami. Tyrese Maxey, Deanthony Melton, and PJ Tucker are also questionable for Philly.

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