76ers vs. Heat Play-In Game Opening Odds Like Philly Despite Embiid Injury Concerns

The opening odds for the Philadelphia 76ers' first NBA Play-In Tournament game like Nick Nurse's squad to defeat the Miami Heat despite concerns around Joel Embiid's health.
Apr 12, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) and guard
Apr 12, 2024; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) and guard / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers are officially headed to the NBA Play-In Tournament following the results of Sunday's early slate around the league. Philadelphia will enter as the No. 7 seed, setting up a clash with the No. 8 Miami Heat to kick things off.

The biggest storyline before these rivals squad off surrounds the health of 76ers star Joel Embiid, who was forced to sit out the team's regular-season finale following an injury scare in Philly's previous contest.

Despite these worries, however, oddsmakers like the Sixers' chances of taking down the Heat.

FanDuel Sportsbook's opening odds for Philadelphia vs. Miami list the 76ers as -198 moneyline favorites, compared to +164 for the Heat. Meanwhile, Philly is -4.5 on the spread with -112 odds to cover.

Considering these numbers, it doesn't look like books are all that concerned about Embiid, who missed 29 games during the second half of the season due to a left meniscus injury.

Sixers head coach Nick Nurse did clear up an uncertainty around Embiid following Sunday's game, telling reporters his former MVP will be ready to take on Miami.

Unfortunately, the head-to-head results from this season between the Sixers and Heat are skewed a bit since Embiid didn't take part in three of four meetings. However, he was on the floor for the most recent matchup on April 4, which ended in 109-105 victory for Philly. Embiid made his presence felt in that one with 29 points.

Assuming Embiid isn't limited in any way for this meeting, the 76ers should be able to take care of business. This squad is rolling heading into the play-in tournament, winning eight games to end the year on a high note. The fact this happened with Embiid returning at the start of April is no coincidence, either.

The Heat do boast one of the league's strongest defenses, holding opponents to the third-fewest PPG and posting a top-five defensive rating during the regular season. But the Sixers are strong on that side of the ball as well (No. 9 in OPPG, 11 in defensive rating) while possessing more offensive firepower.

Jimmy Butler pulling off another Herculean performance could be the only way the Heat flirt with an upset here. But even then, the 1-2 punch of Embiid and Tyrese Maxey should turn out to be too much and send the Sixers through to the first round.

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