The Philadelphia 76ers don't get much time to lick their wounds following Sunday's 93-88 loss to the visiting Toronto Raptors as they turn around to face the East-leading Miami Heat tonight in the City of Brotherly Love.
How will Jimmy Butler's potential absence impact the betting outcome should he be unable to play? Will the Sixers bounce back as home underdogs?
We dig a little deeper with our free NBA picks and predictions for Heat vs. 76ers on Monday, March 21.
Heat vs 76ers odds
This odds widget represents the best odds available for each betting market from regulated sportsbooks.
The 76ers opened as 1.5-point favorites at most books on Sunday night. By Monday morning — in the wake of Philly's loss to the Raptors — the line has shifted massively in the other direction to Heat -2.0 before settling around Miami -1.5. The total opened at 216.5 and has ticked down a point to 215.5 at the time of this writing.
Heat vs 76ers predictions
Predictions made on 3/21/2022 at 10:30 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: Monday, March 21, 2022
• Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. ET
• TV: NBCS-Philadelphia, Bally Sports Sun-Miami
Heat vs 76ers betting preview
Heat: Jimmy Butler PF (Questionable), Caleb Martin SF (Questionable), Gabe Vincent SG (Out), Victor Oladipo SG (Out).
76ers: No injuries to report.
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting trend to know
The Heat are 7-0-1 against the spread in their last eight 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.
Jimmy Butler is listed as questionable — a familiar sight in the 2021-22 NBA season — due to a lingering ankle injury and his presence, or lack thereof, could be integral to tonight's outcome.
One encouraging thing about Butler's injury is that despite missing four of nine games since the beginning of March, he hasn't sat out consecutive contests in that span. Miami hasn't played since Friday, either, so Butler's had a few extra days of rest before testing the ankle against his former team.
This marks the fourth meeting between the Heat and 76ers this season and will be the first with James Harden in Philly's lineup. He had already played four games with the Sixers when these teams last met but he sat on March 5. That most recent matchup went Miami's way with the Heat winning by 17 in a 99-82 final.
Harden's presence may complicate matters, especially if Butler takes another night off to preserve his ankle for a potentially deep playoff run. Miami's clinched its division and a postseason berth already, so risking Butler's health isn't exactly a necessity.
The Heat aren't doomed without Butler, either, even against an offense led by Harden, especially with NBA MVP odds leader Joel Embiid ruled out tonight. In 12 games since the All-Star break, the Heat are 9-3 straight up and 7-5 against the spread.
The Heat have seen a number of big spreads in that time, failing to cover as 13-point favorites in three of four outings. A lot of this can be chalked up to Miami tightening up even further on the defensive end. No team has a better defensive rating since the ASG.
With the Sixers coming off a grueling loss to the Raptors on Sunday night, and Miami playing the tightest defense on the planet, the Heat will come away with the victory and cover the modest spread as road favorites, with or without Jimmy Buckets. And with Embiid on the shelf, jump on that spread while it lasts.
Prediction: Heat -1.5 (-110)
That defensive rating isn't for show. The Heat grind opponents into dust with an efficient, suffocating defensive attack led by Bam Adebayo in the paint and tenacious veteran point guard Kyle Lowry finally healthy and averaging 32.6 minutes per game over the team's last six. And even when you pull back and look at the entire season, the Heat rank fifth in defensive rating, just narrowly behind the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Only those Cavs and the Boston Celtics allow fewer points per game in the East. And while the Heat have allowed a couple of high totals in recent games, surrendering 113 to the Minnesota Timberwolves (No. 1 in offensive rating since the ASG) and 111 to the Phoenix Suns (No. 6) is understandable.
The 76ers, even with Harden, rank 13th in offensive rating since the break. Philly is also dead last on the season in pace and that placement hasn't changed much since Harden's arrival, as they rank 24th in that span.
This total is low, and Miami has leaned to the Over for most of the season, but an exhausted 76ers roster might try to slow things down even more than usual.
Prediction: Under 215.5 (-110)
Bam Adebayo hasn't recorded a double-double in his most recent two games but has scored at least 10 points in 26 of his last 28 since returning from a lengthy absence. He's averaged 10.4 rebounds in that span and has reached double-double territory in 15 of those games.
The 76ers held him to six points on 30% shooting when these teams last met on March 5, which is anomalous but gives pause as they're headed for a rematch. A big reason, beyond his poor shooting, that Adebayo only recorded six points in the last game between these rivals is that he didn't go to the line once. It's one of only two times this has happened all season. He's not a terrible free-throw shooter, draining 75% of his shots from the charity stripe, so even a few trips to the line should help push him over the top.
Philadelphia surrenders 44.9 rebounds per game (20th in the NBA), so I like Adebayo at plus money to get a double-double with Embiid sidelined. It's certainly preferable to choosing him to go Over 26.5 points + rebounds (-115).
Pick: Bam Adebayo records double-double (+115)
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