MetroBet takes a look at a pair of NBA games on Thursday night.
Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers (-9)
Moneyline: Heat +315, Sixers -400
Betting Total: 219.5 points
Time (Eastern), TV: 7 p.m.
The finale of a six-game road trip for the Miami Heat (26-30) takes place in their first game back from the All-Star break as they visit the Philadelphia 76ers (37-21) on Thursday night. They’re 2-3 straight-up so far but 3-2 against the spread, and are handed another significant number here. Josh Richardson and company should be able to keep this game close.
The Sixers went into the break averaging 120.4 points over their last five contests (3-2, with narrow losses to the Raptors and Celtics), but Miami’s stingy defense (second in the NBA at 105.7 points allowed per tilt) should keep Joel Embiid and company in check.
The trends suggest that the Heat have a significant advantage with extra rest under their belts. Per Covers.com, they are 6-2 against the spread in their last eight games playing on three or more days of rest. Miami has also covered in 15 of their last 22 road games. By contrast, the Sixers are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games with the same amount of rest.
Bettors may also want to be on the Under here. The average combined score in the last five regular season meetings between these two clubs is just 210.8. The Under is 6-2 in Philly’s last eight overall, and 5-2 in their last seven at the Wells Fargo Center.
The play: Heat spread
Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks (-5)
Moneyline: Celtics +170, Bucks -210
Betting Total: 224 points
Time (Eastern), TV: 8 p.m., TNT
After playing eight of their last 10 games before the All-Star break on the road, the Milwaukee Bucks (43-14) are probably very happy to begin the unofficial second half of the season at Fiserv Forum. The Boston Celtics (37-21), a mediocre road team (10-16-1 against the spread), could be in trouble on Thursday night.
Milwaukee’s defense stepped up during the final four games of the first half of the year, allowing just 101.8 points per contest. Their Giannis Antetokounmpo-led offense is the best in the league in home games at 119.6 points per tilt. Boston, whose point differential shrink from plus-6.4 overall to plus-2.9 on the road, may get run over on defense, especially if they can’t rebound. The Bucks are first in offensive rebounding, while the Celtics are 22nd.
Finally, Milwaukee has been known to keep good things going throughout the season, as they’re 13-3-1 against the spread in their last 17 games following a spread win.
The play: Bucks spread