Philadelphia 76ers @ Miami Heat
When: Monday 3rd February @ 7:35PM
Where: American Airlines Center
Odds: Philadelphia 76ers +125 Miami Heat -160
Philadelphia faces the Miami Heat in a crucial Eastern Conference match-up on Monday night.
Our Pick: Miami Heat (-3) -110
We mentioned last week how close the Eastern Conference playoff picture is and this game could really be crucial in terms of final standings. The Heat’s nearly flawless homecourt record has largely been down to the form of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo as well as the coaching of Erik Spoelstra. The Miami nightlife has to take some credit too though – the ‘South Beach flu’ has been Miami’s hidden weapon for a number of seasons and this year is no different.
Conveniently, Philadelphia had an off day in Miami on Sunday coinciding with Super Bowl LIV – won by the Kansas City Chiefs. The whole 76ers franchise was pictured at the game, including part-owner Michael Rubin. Did they sample the Miami nightlife? Who knows? One thing we do know is that Miami have made winning at home a habit.
All-Stars Butler and Adebayo have powered the team to an almost guaranteed home seeding in the playoffs. It seems the only question now is how high they can go.
We think they’ll have no problem looking after the 76ers on Monday night and we’re backing the Heat to beat the spread.
Former 76er Jimmy Butler has been the key man on offense for the Heat. However, we’ve seen him play the role of distributor rather than scorer against the high-power defenses. For that reason, we’re backing him to score under 20.5 points at a reasonably priced -125 with VIP.
Portland Trail Blazers @ Denver Nuggets
When: Tuesday 4th February @ 9PM
Where: Pepsi Center
The Nuggets host the rising Trail Blazers on Tuesday night in this Western Conference match-up. Damian Lillard is scoring at a record-breaking level for Portland.
Our Pick: Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers are not easy opposition for any team at the minute. They have won four in a row and are edging ever closer to that coveted 8th seed. As has been the case for the last six or seven seasons, the Trail Blazers’ uptick in form has been a result of Dame Lillard’s colossal performances.
The Weber State alum has scored 30 or more in nine of his last ten games including 61 vs. Golden State, 50 vs. Indiana and 51 vs. Utah. The Nuggets don’t really have anyone who can match that scoring pace. Coach Mike Malone can call upon a more well-rounded squad though with big Serb Nikola Jokic leading the way.
The Nuggets are safe enough in the playoff spots and we could see them taking the foot off the pedal slightly as we head towards the All-Star break.
The Trail Blazers still have it all to play for and we’re tipping Lillard & Co. to do the business on Tuesday night. Bet on them to win with VIP Sports.
Indiana Pacers @ Toronto Raptors
When: Wednesday 5th February @ 7:30PM
Where: Scotiabank Arena
NBA Champions face Victor Oladipo and the Indiana Pacers in the first of a home and away series on Wednesday night.
Our Pick: Toronto Raptors
Just like Miami versus Philadelphia, this game will have a big impact on final standings in the East. The Raptors have performed way above expectations this season and currently find themselves in second place.
Likewise, the Pacers have shown encouraging signs and the recent return of Victor Oladipo has boosted them further. Nate McMillan’s side are 5th in the East at the time of writing.
The Raptors are the form team in the league at the moment. Nick Nurse’s side have won 11 in a row and are only six games back from the Bucks in top spot. The trio of Pascal Siakam, Fred VanVleet and Norm Powell have acted as the core of this young team as they look to retain the Larry O’Brien Trophy without last year’s talisman Kawhi Leonard.
Toronto are the strongest team in the league at the minute and we can’t see them losing any time soon. Back them to win with VIP Sports.