Heat vs 76ers Game 3 Picks and Predictions: Miami Covers the Points in Game 3

Without perennial All-Star Joel Embiid, Philadelphia finds itself heading home in an 0-2 hole against Miami. Will Philly be able to win Game 3 or will the visiting side go up 3-0? Read our Heat vs. 76ers NBA betting picks and predictions to find out.

Jason Logan: Senior Betting Analyst at Covers
Jason Logan • Senior Betting Analyst
May 6, 2022 • 15:56 ET • 4 min read

The Philadelphia 76ers are holding out hope for the return of All-Star center Joel Embiid as they head home down 0-2 to the Miami Heat in the conference semifinals Friday.

Embiid has yet to play in this series due to a facial injury suffered in the close-out game versus Toronto in Round 1, and his absence has been a massive issue for Philadelphia on both ends of the floor. 

However, the current Game 3 NBA betting odds (and series price) would indicate bookmakers are protecting themselves against a potential Embiid return.

Check out our free NBA picks and predictions for Heat at 76ers on May 6.

Heat vs 76ers odds

This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.

Some books opened Philadelphia as a 1.5-point home underdog and saw early action move this spread over the fence to -1. Other shops opened the Sixers as 1-point faves and that jumped to +1 with Embiid’s status uncertain. The total hit the board at 210.5 points.

Use the live odds widget above to track any future line movements right until tip-off and be sure to check out the full NBA odds before betting to ensure you get the best number.

Heat vs 76ers predictions

Predictions made on 5/5/2022 at 11:00 a.m. ET.
Click on each prediction to jump to the full analysis.

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Heat vs 76ers game info

Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Date: Friday, May 6, 2022
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET

Heat vs 76ers series odds

Heat: -800
76ers: +500

Heat vs 76ers betting preview

Key injuries

Heat: Kyle Lowry G (Questionable).

76ers: Joel Embiid C (Questionable).

Find our latest NBA injury reports.

Betting trend to know

The Heat are 11-3-1 ATS in their last 15 road games. Find more NBA betting trends for Heat vs. 76ers.

Heat vs 76ers picks and predictions

Our side and total predictions are based upon our analysis of the line and total in this game. Our best bet is our favorite pick across all markets.

Spread analysis

Given how Philadelphia has struggled without its big man in the middle, this tight spread for Game 3 feels a little short and very much seems like bookies are padding that line against a potential return from Embiid on Friday. 

We saw the Game 1 line swing as many as five points at some shops when Embiid’s injury was revealed, so should he get cleared for Game 3, this line could potentially be in the 76ers -4 to -5 range – given Embiid’s impact and the desperation of facing a potential 0-3 series hole.

I’m not buying into Embiid’s return just yet, as reports state the MVP-calibre center is struggling with concussion symptoms to the point in which he’s had trouble looking at his own phone. Throwing him back into action and facing constant crash-and-bash physicality in the post will only worsen those symptoms. 

Without Embiid, the 76ers look lost – namely on defense. Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers is grasping for straws at the center position, rolling out zone defenses and man-to-man sets hoping to find some sort of push back against a Miami attack getting whatever it wants. 

The Heat posted an effective field goal rate of 53.8% in the first two games of the series, either scoring inside against a small Sixers lineup, or stretching a lumbering zone with solid outside shooting, connecting on 14 of 29 3-point attempts in Game 2. Miami essentially took whatever it wanted in Wednesday's win.

Philadelphia has put up more of a fight on offense, getting outstanding efforts from Tobias Harris, who’s kept the Sixers tethered by averaging 24 points in the opening two contests and scoring key buckets.

Harris along with Tyrese Maxey are Philly’s most effective scorers while James Harden drifts in and out of the offense, shooting a collective 11-for-28 from the floor (3-for-12 from deep) with 15 totals assists against eight turnovers.

The market will be a good indicator of Embiid’s status, so keep an eye on this spread and if it runs either way. However, as of Thursday morning, I’m not sold on Embiid’s health given the severity of his injury and I’ll snatch up whatever points I can get with Miami.

Prediction: Heat +1.5 (-120 at BetMGM)

Over/Under analysis

The Game 2 total was way too low as oddsmakers overreacted to poor 3-point shooting performances in the series opener. And while the Sixers stayed cold, the Heat made up for those misses with a 48% effort from outside on Wednesday.

The Game 3 total has been bumped up a bit, opening at 210.5, which still isn’t enough given the potential of both offenses. Philadelphia may be ice cold from the arc but is still shooting better than 59% on 2-point field goals, and amassed 103 points in Game 2 despite a flailing 8-for-30 night from downtown.

The 76ers are a solid shooting team and their dribble penetration is generating plenty of open chances for spot-up shooters on the wing. The problem is that Philly just can’t knock down those good looks from long range, with guys like Danny Green and Georges Niang struggling. 

A return to the Wells Fargo Center, where the 76ers shoot 36.1% from distance (ninth best in NBA), should help those triples find their way. And with Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra likely sticking to his defensive game plan of pressuring Harden and Maxey the second they get over half, those kickout opportunities will still be there Friday night.

As for the Heat, we’ve already praised their offensive output. Miami is taking whatever the Sixers are giving them and has a surplus of capable scorers, including sixth and seventh men Tyler Herro and Victor Oladipo, who combined for 47 points in Game 2.

There have been no clear updates on Kyle Lowry’s status for Game 3 and Miami is in no need to rush him back from a hamstring injury. But should he return, the Heat have a wealth of scoring options that have been able to overwhelm the undersized Sixers.

Prediction: Over 210.5 (-110 at PointsBet)

Best bet

Embiid’s presence would drastically change things for the 76ers' defense. As it stands, Philadelphia has zero rim protection to help back up the perimeter defenders, and the interior guys they do have are either too small to change shots or two slow on the help side (see: DeAndre Jordon).

Losing their length has also been a burden on the boards, as Miami has attacked the glass for a total of 23 offensive rebounds in the series. That’s panned out into 39 second-chance points for the Heat. Miami had just eight offensive rebounds in Game 2 after grabbing 15 in the series opener, but that was because it shot the ball so well that there weren’t as many rebounding opportunities on the offensive glass.

I don’t expect the Heat to shoot as well from outside as they did in Game 2 when the series swings to Philly, but even an average shooting effort from Miami (which makes an NBA-best 37.7% from 3-point range) would still put about 12 triples on the score sheet or close to 37 points. That would do a share of the heavy lifting for the Heat’s team total of 105.5 points.

Pick: Heat team total Over 105.5 (-110 at FanDuel)

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