The NBA regular season is over, but playoff spots remain up for grabs.
With the Association’s current play-in tournament format, the No. 7 to 10 seeds in both conferences have to battle for the final few postseason spots, trying to keep their NBA championship hopes alive.
Below I’ll break down the play-in odds, some picks to make the playoffs, and how the current play-in format works:
Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament Odds:
Odds as of April 11, 2023
The Heat hold the top spot in the Eastern Conference play-in.
A team like the Raptors could really use a play-in run. They squeaked into the tournament berth, but chaos is leaking out of a Toronto franchise that’s been one of the most consistent in the Association the last few years.
Coach Nick Nurse had some veiled comments before a recent game that implied his time with the Raps could be at an end. Making the playoffs could heal all, but if the Raps don’t win a few more games this year, they could have bigger issues.
Eastern Play-In Best Bet: Hawks -280
Since firing their coach in February, the Hawks are 12-11. It may not seem like a huge hot streak, but they’ve beaten the Mavericks, Cavs, Warriors and Nets during that time. Amid all the .500, mediocre teams in this East play-in, that slight success the Hawks have flashed lately is all I need to be convinced.
Western Conference Play-In Tournament Odds:
|Los Angeles Lakers||-2000|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+250|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+600|
Odds as of April 11, 2023
The Lakers couldn’t lock up a “real” playoff spot in the Western Conference, though their -2000 odds represent a 95.24 percent chance to make the playoffs. The books like LeBron to find a way. Can you blame ’em?
Western Play-In Best Bet: Pelicans +250
The Pelicans are the hottest team in the West, ripping off nine wins in their last 12. The run includes meaningful victories over the Grizzlies and two against the Clippers.
There’s also a slight chance the Pels get Zion Williamson back for the play-in. New Orleans is 17-12 SU with Zion healthy this year.
How Does The NBA Play-In Tournament Work?
The NBA Play-In Tournament setup can be quite complicated for new bettors and even professional ones trying to wrap their heads around it. Below, we break down key dates, how the schedule will unfold and important factors to consider before placing your bets on these props.
When Is The NBA Play-In Tournament?
The NBA Play-In Tournament for the Eastern and Western conferences will begin on April 11 and go till April 14. The playoffs will begin April 15 with first-round action.
NBA Play-In Tourney Format
Eight teams will be part of the NBA Play-In Tournament, with four from each conference. There will be six total games played involving only the teams that finish seventh to 10th in each conference at the conclusion of the regular season.
Here’s a breakdown of how the play-in schedule will unfold in each conference:
This means that the No. 7 and No. 8 teams each have two shots to earn a playoff spot. The No. 9 and No. 10 teams have to win two straight games in order to clinch a spot in the postseason.