Heat vs 76ers Odds, Picks, and Predictions Tonight: Finding Value in Butler's Absence

Jimmy Butler may be out, but the results the Heat have put up without him this season give our NBA picks faith tonight against the similarly short-handed 76ers.

Feb 14, 2024 • 16:19 ET • 4 min read
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The Miami Heat are developing a habit of winning games without their biggest superstar, a habit the Philadelphia 76ers are envious of. Neither franchise is certain how long its star will be sidelined for, so their grips on current seeding in the Eastern Conference standings feel tenuous, at best.

Without Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid, tonight’s matchup may lose some national allure, but those absences create unique angles to ponder. The Heat, in particular, keep defying the NBA odds and delivering without Butler, and even on the second night of a back-to-back, doubting that ability would be foolish.

Let’s use that guiding principle to find value in our free NBA picks and predictions as we preview Heat vs. 76ers on Wednesday, February 14.

Heat vs 76ers odds

Heat vs 76ers predictions

Before the Heat faced the Bucks last night, a question had to be asked: Is Miami better without Jimmy Butler? Of course not. The Heat’s ceiling is certainly significantly higher when the forward is on the court.

But Miami has now played 17 of 54 games without its leader, and its net rating is 2.3 points better without Butler than with him. This needs to at least be acknowledged.

The Heat are 11-6 against the spread without Butler, including 10-3 since Dec. 20. With him, Miami is just 14-22-1 ATS. Sportsbooks seem to overvalue his impact.

His playoff performances have probably earned that respect, but the on-court numbers are what they are this season.

While there is enough of a sample size to trust the Heat in this instance, it is too soon to sum up the new-look 76ers. They have gone 2-1 since adding Buddy Hield’s shooting, but one of those wins was against the Wizards, not to mention they lost to the Hawks. Beating the Cavs is impressive, but that one game should not instill trust yet.

Of course, with Hield making his impact known, the Miami onus needs to be defending the arc. In his three games with Philadelphia, Hield is averaging 22.3 points while shooting nearly 10 threes per game and hitting 44.8% of them.

A problem the 76ers are going to have to figure out, though, is that no one else on this offense is shooting well from deep. Tyrese Maxey is 8-of-22 in his last four games, 36.4%. No one else in the rotation is shooting better than 34% since Embiid’s injury to end January. The only redeeming value for Philadelphia has been an awareness of this struggle, taking only 35.1% of its field-goal attempts from beyond the arc, third-lowest rate in the NBA since Jan. 31.

The Heat are neither the defense to face when not wanting to shoot from deep, nor the defense to face when trying to right shooting woes from deep. They will force you to live beyond the arc and, more likely than not, die from beyond the arc.

Butler missed nearly a month from Dec. 19 to Jan. 14, playing only 23 minutes in those 12 games. So let’s pull trends from then to emphasize how badly opponents shot against the Heat without Butler.

Miami forced 43.6% of opposing shots to come from deep, third-highest rate in that stretch, while opponents made just 31.4% of those attempts, the second-lowest percentage.

Philadelphia is going to be kept behind the arc tonight, where it struggles most. Going against a relatively slow team — No. 25 in pace in that prolonged piece without Butler — that should be even slower on the second night of a back-to-back, losing that much of its offense should doom the 76ers scoring.

My best bet: 76ers team total Under 114.5 (-117 at BetRivers)

Heat vs 76ers same-game parlay

76ers team total Under 114.5

Tyrese Maxey Under 3.5 threes made

Heat +4

All three legs of this same-game parlay correlate with each other, dropping the overall payout, and the Maxey 3-pointers prop comes with some juice (-150), but it is a laughable number, regardless. Maxey has made more than three 3-pointers exactly once in his last nine games. Without Embiid around, Maxey does not have the space to operate that he needs to be a dangerous shooter.

He will, worryingly, have to shoot plenty tonight. Miami will force him to. Perhaps he gets hot.

But logic expects Maxey chucking from deep to yield nothing but empty possessions. At that point, leaning into the Heat in all regards makes too much sense.

Learn how to bet a same-game parlay with these helpful tips and strategies.

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Heat vs 76ers spread and Over/Under analysis

The first number to hit the market on this game came Tuesday afternoon with Philadelphia a 4.5-point favorite. Once Miami so thoroughly dispatched the Bucks last night, it fell to -4 and even -3.5 at some books, both numbers still available well into Wednesday.

As long as it remains above -3, the Heat are two-score underdogs. They have gone 6-5 ATS without Butler in that position this season, including 5-2 since Dec. 20. The market likes to overestimate Butler’s impact when he's not on the court.

With Butler, Miami has cashed the Under in 21 of 37 games. Without him, it has done so in 12 of 17 games, including last night.

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Heat vs 76ers betting trend to know

The Heat are 4-3 straight-up since Dec. 20 when without Butler and an underdog of at least four points. Find more NBA betting trends for Heat vs. 76ers.

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Heat vs 76ers game info

Location: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
Date: Wednesday, February 14, 2024
Tip-off: 7:00 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sun, NBC Sports Philadelphia

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