On Saturday, news broke that 76ers center Joel Embiid suffered a right orbital fracture and mild concussion in Philly’s series-clinching win against Toronto. Although the team later announced that Embiid could return as early as Game 3 of the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Heat – 76ers odds for Game 1 immediately shifted from Heat -4 to -8/8.5.
Can bettors find value in Philadelphia — on Monday night and for the series — after the market’s impact?
Heat – 76ers Odds: Betting Markets
As of Monday afternoon, Miami is a 7.5-point home favorite in Game 1 and -300 to win the series. Before the Embiid news, bettors could get Miami -175.
On the flip side, Philly was +150 to advance to the 2022 Eastern Conference Finals but rose 90 cents without its premier player for at least the first two games (+240). Embiid generated 26.2 points per contest in the first round despite Toronto’s attempt to consistently double him.
The Heat’s elite defense has carried over into the playoffs, yielding the second-fewest points per possession (104.1). They limited the Hawks to an average of 7.2 fast-break points per game in their first-round matchup, too.
Keep in mind, the 76ers average the most fast-break points per game in the postseason, and Doc Rivers’ bunch will certainly miss Embiid’s presence in transition.
Nevertheless, a 3.5-point swing has created some value towards Philadelphia. Considering its most-utilized regular season lineup without Embiid includes Andre Drummond, who’s no longer with the team, let’s dig into the Heat – 76ers matchup on March 21. Neither Embiid nor James Harden suited up.
Despite a limited roster, Philly was particularly efficient on catch-and-shoot 3s in half-court sets (via ShotQuality) and pulled off the upset win as an 8.5-point underdog. The 76ers’ effectiveness in that regard is sustainable with Harden via his dribble penetration prowess, and their offense will likely revolve around those sets with Embiid sidelined.
If Tyrese Maxey & Co. are on from deep, Philadelphia should at least hang within three possessions — especially with Kyle Lowry (hamstring) out. In terms of the series price, I’ll wait to see if I can grab a better number after a potential Game 1 loss.
Best Available Line: 76ers
Eli’s Bet for Heat – 76ers Odds:
Mo’s Take on Heat – 76ers Odds:
I also grabbed the 76ers +7.5 following the Embiid news drop. We have seen some guys come back pretty quickly wearing a mask, so I wouldn’t be shocked at all to see Embiid fairly soon. In fact, some players have missed no time at all.
However, he must first clear concussion protocol before he can even think about playing through the injury.
In the meantime, the Heat have their own injury issues. In fact, they have seven players listed on the current report — with four of them either starters or Tyler Herro, the near-certain 2022 Sixth Man of the Year. Jimmy Butler missed the last game for Miami and the aforementioned Lowry has has already been ruled out for Game 1.
Given how banged up the Heat are and teams’ tendency to come out with extra urgency in the first game without a superstar, I like a buy-low spot on the Sixers. I don’t mind gambling on an Embiid return and playing the Sixers series price either.
We’ll have to keep an eye on how they fare, since we have basically no precedent to work with. The numbers with Harden but no Embiid are staggeringly awful, but I don’t expect to see these lineups much at all. Sixers bettors must hope Doc Rivers learned his lesson after last year’s disaster when Dwight Howard’s minutes sank the team. Watch to make sure he uses logical lineups and leans small, which will give Philly a shot.
Inside The Sportsbook
“Embiid is worth, you could argue, seven to eight points on his own,” Lindeman said. “Butler and Herro (listed as questionable) is probably worth two to three points on speculation. That number will probably go back up if they end up playing.”