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NBA Betting Picks

Welcome to the Tuesday, April 9 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings SportsbookFanDuel Sportsbook888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.

Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.

Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.

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Season to Date:

ATS Leans/Picks: 51-39-1 (.567)
Moneyline: 31-9 (.775)
Over/Under: 32-16-1 (.667)

4/9/19 NBA Betting Pick:

Philadelphia 76ers (50-30) vs. Miami Heat (38-42)

DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Heat -5 (o/u: 220)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Heat -4.5 (o/u: 220)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Heat -5 (o/u: 220)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Heat -5 (o/u 220)

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The Breakdown

Late-season NBA is always good for a few funky scenarios, situations that defy conventional wisdom and prior records against the spread. Motivation, a lack thereof, or both, are usually major culprits in those situations. It certainly serves as a factor in Tuesday’s 76ers-Heat matchup. Philadelphia has wrapped up the third seed in the Eastern Conference.

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The Sixers still have incentive to play well, as they’ve dropped three of their past four contests and would like to build some momentum going into the postseason. However, Philly will be without both J.J. Redick (back) and Joel Embiid (knee). Then, the home-floor Heat have considerably more at stake. Unlike their opponent, they’re far from guaranteed a playoff spot. In fact, they’re currently on the outside looking in. Miami is a full game behind the eighth-seeded Detroit Pistons and needs to win both of its remaining games to even have a chance at garnering a postseason spot.

There’s also another rather sizable elephant in the room Tuesday — namely, that the contest at American Airlines Arena could sell serve as the legendary Dwyane Wade‘s final home game. The Heat has already announced it will certainly take that possibility seriously by putting together a pregame ceremony in Wade’s honor. The house will undoubtedly be packed as a result, and Miami should enjoy a tangible, legitimate emotional advantage.

We’ve seen those types of scenarios help teams in various sports get off to fast starts before things kind of settle in about a quarter into a game. That could well be the situation that unfolds Tuesday, especially with the 76ers missing two key pieces. The oddsmakers seem to be conceding as much with a line that could only have been possible at this stage of the season, one that sees Miami actually favored by a 4.5-5 points. However, the relatively modest number also seems to indicate a belief that Philadelphia isn’t exactly just going to lay down for the benefit of Wade and the Heat’s playoff fortunes.

This is clearly a situation where one sort of throws out the numbers we’ve typically relied on all season to prognosticate games. But for what it’s worth, the 76ers do hold a 2-0 series lead against the Heat this season. The second game, a narrow 106-102 win in Philadelphia back on Feb. 21, was one that Embiid missed as well. Boban Marjanovic filled in admirably, generating a 19-point, 12-rebound double-double. Marjanovic and Amir Johnson are likely to see heavy run at center Tuesday in Embiid’s absence, as Jonah Bolden is also questionable with knee soreness.

By The Numbers

The 76ers are 10-10 (50.0 percent) against the spread in games they’ve played with two or three days of rest.

Then, the Heat is 16-23-1 (41.0 percent) against the spread as a home team. That includes a 9-19-1 (32.1 percent) mark versus the number as a home favorite. Miami is also 25-26-1 (49.0 percent) against the spread in games they’ve played with one day of rest and 24-26 (48.0 percent) versus the number in conference games.

Finally, the 76ers have won both prior meetings between the teams this season.

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The Final Word

As mentioned earlier, this is an unusual game to try and gauge by conventional methods. With plenty of intangibles on Miami’s side, including what should be a raucous home crowd, I can see the Heat certainly pulling out the desperation win here. However, I think the 76ers have enough motivation to put together some solid performances ahead of the playoffs and take the Heat’s best punch early. Therefore, I see Philadelphia doing enough over the course of the game to remain within the five-point number.

The Pick: 76ers +5