This is a game that everyone and their mother is on after the blowout Saturday and, while I usually hesitate to back public games like this, I can’t pass this one up.
I look a little extra for red flags on heavy public games so the fact that 85% of tickets are on the 76ers and the line dropped from -7 to -6.5 is an eyebrow raiser. But the same exact situation happened in Game 1 – the 76ers were -7 and the line dropped to -6.5 when 67% of tickets were on Philly (just 60% of the cash was on Philly). Sharp money leaned Miami in Game 1 and they were flat out wrong. Now, 82% of the cash is on Philly (heavy cash but still slightly less than the 85% of tickets).
The most obvious thing about Game 1 was that Hassan Whiteside gave no effort for the Heat. Already openly frustrated with Spoelstra from weeks ago, Whiteside had a 2 point, 12 minute effort with horrendous defense before being benched.
The 76ers have five 3 point shooters who can all get hot – Reddick, Belinelli, Saric, Ilyasova, and Covington – and Miami just doesn’t have the scoring to keep up if even 2 or 3 of these guys are shooting well. Miami’s starting SG Tyler Johnson has had just 12 points or less in 9 straight games and that puts a heavy burden on Dragic and Richardson to carry the scoring load. The Heat did not have an answer for Ben Simmons no matter who they threw at him.
I was a little worried about how a young team like Philly would handle all the premature “Eastern Conference Champs” hype for Game 1 (especially after blowing Milwaukee out Wednesday), but they handled Game 1 like veterans. What changes tonight? Philly may not be as hot shooting from 3 tonight but when the game gets tough, my money’s on the 76ers pushing through and winning the mental battle. If the Heat bounce back and this is a sucker’s play, so be it, I’ll be called a sucker for the night. I’m riding the team that is 16-0 SU their last 16 games, 12-4 ATS in that stretch, and 16-4 ATS at home as a single digit favorite since January 1. The Heat are 2-6 SU their last 8 road games and I think it’ll be 2-7 after tonight.