Update: Butler has been ruled out due to his calf injury. The Heat are 2-point favorites and the total has come down to 224.5. I still like the Heat as the ATS pick and the under on the total.
The Philadelphia 76ers (20-8) will head to South Beach on Christmas Day to take on the Miami Heat (17-12). The 76ers and Heat have each won their last two games as they look to extend their winning ways Monday. This is the first meeting between these teams this season.
Reigning league MVP Joel Embiid has been ruled out for the 76ers with an ankle sprain. He did not travel with the team. Nicolas Batum is also out for Philly, while Robert Covington and Mo Bamba are probable. The Heat have listed star forward Jimmy Butler as questionable with a calf injury. Butler did not practice Sunday. Josh Richardson is probable for Miami.
The Heat are 3-point favorites according to DraftKings Sportsbook, with the total coming in at 226. Miami is -148 on the moneyline while Philadelphia is +124.
76ers vs. Heat, 8 p.m. ET
Pick ATS: Heat -3
Embiid being out changes everything for the 76ers. They have lost all three previous times he sat out, with each setback being six points or more. The 76ers are the best ATS team in the league at 20-8, but they won’t have their best player who has been dominant recently. The Heat have not been good against the number at home this season with a 4-10 mark, but they did just cover against the Hawks.
I’d feel better about taking Miami if Butler suits up, but Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro are more than enough to handle a 76ers team without Embiid. Give me the Heat to win on Christmas Day.
Over/Under: Under 226
The 76ers are third in defensive rating this season, while the Heat haven’t been too shabby at 13th. Philadelphia’s system does take a hit with Embiid out but should still be able to slow down Miami’s lackluster offense. The Heat won’t have to worry about a dominant big man, which tends to help them defensively given their speed. Miami has gone over the total in four of its last five but I like the under in this one.