On Saturday night, the Sixers will be in South Florida to take on the Miami Heat in what is a road back half of a back to back and will also be the Sixers’ third game in four nights. The Sixers put a pretty comprehensive beating on the Boston Celtics last night to climb back to seven games above .500. Winning in Miami will be a tough task, as the Heat are 27-15, second in the Eastern Conference, and have won four in a row.
Let’s get into our Sixers vs. Heat betting pick with player prop predictions, odds, and analysis for this January 15, 2022 matchup.
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Sixers vs. Heat Betting Pick (January 15, 2022)
Jimmy Butler was a bit of a comet in his time as a Sixer. He played 55 games here in the 2018-2019 season (which now seems like an eternity ago) and was a big part of what can reasonably be called the last Sixers team which sort of kind of maybe if everything had gone right had a chance to actually win anything.
The Kawhi Leonard triple doink put an end to that, of course, and for reasons that no one has ever come fully clean with, Butler left the Sixers in a four-team deal that was functionally a sign-and-trade for Butler, who promptly got a four-year, $142 million deal from the Heat. It has been speculated that Butler didn’t want to be a perpetual third option behind Joel Embiid and (this hurts to type) Ben Simmons. Whatever the reason, Butler left, and he’s on a better team than the one he left behind.
Still, it’s not all sunshine and endless potential for the Heat here. Butler signed a four-year, $184 million extension in the summer of 2021 that hasn’t even begun yet. Butler is making $36 million this season at age 32 and has missed 18 of the Heat’s 42 games. In the last two years of the extension, when Butler will be 35 and 36 years of age, he’ll be paid $48.7 million and (holy mackerel) $52.4 million.
If Butler was the sort of player who can make a living hitting long jump shots, maybe paying him that kind of money late in his career would make sense. He’s not, though. Butler is averaging fewer than two three-point attempts per game and he’s only hitting on 25% of those attempts. Butler’s game depends on getting to the rim and getting to the line, which means he’s ball-dominant, and that style puts a lot of wear on a man. Butler has already played in 657 NBA games and logged over 21,000 minutes of game time.
This is all a long way of saying that the Sixers probably got lucky when Butler decided to head to the Sunshine State. It’s not that he’s a bad player. It’s that he’s wildly expensive for what he is, especially when his durability and his productivity project to tail off precipitously in the next few seasons.
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Sixers vs. Heat Odds
Here’s the line for the Sixers and Heat at FanDuel Sportsbook:
- Point Spread: Sixers +2 (-110), Heat -2 (-110)
- Moneyline: Sixers +114, Heat -134
- Total: 210.5
Bets We Like With a Sixers Win
Sixers to Win and Under 210.5 Total Points (+282, FanDuel Sportsbook)
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If the Sixers are going to win this game, which we have some reservations about, they’re going to have to keep the Heat from filling it up the way they have for the past four games (124, 115, 123, 115). Whether the Sixers can do that on tired legs, and possibly without Matisse Thybulle (who fell hard last night after a high speed dunk), that’s a significant question.
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Bets We Like Independent of Outcome
Jimmy Butler Under 21.5 Points (-130, Caesars Sportsbook)
This isn’t a spite pick or a “back up the lede” pick, either. This is an acknowledgment that Butler had 23 points last night against the Atlanta Hawks after missing the prior three games, and that therefore he can be forgiven for possibly not having his legs fully under him in this game.
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Joel Embiid Over 27.5 Points (-110, DraftKings Sportsbook)
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We wish we could quit this prop, but tonight’s not the night for that. Bam Adebayo is still out with a surgically repaired thumb. Markieff Morris is in the league’s health and safety protocols. Dewayne Dedmon is a useful backup, but he’s not a player who can meaningfully slow Embiid down.
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Tobias Harris Over 6.5 Rebounds (-133, FOX Bet)
Sometimes it’s just as easy as “we won with this EXACT prop at this EXACT price last night, and none of the indicators have changed.” This is one of those times.
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Sixers vs. Heat Prediction
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We looked long and hard at this one. “The line is telling you something” is, as we have noted many times before, a pretty silly reason to take a side. But wow, the Sixers heading to Miami to play a demonstrably better team in their third game in four nights are only getting two points? Where is all of this Sixers money coming from? Not from us. We’re not laying the points, though. You can’t make us.
Pick: Heat moneyline (-129, Barstool Sportsbook)
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