The NBA regular season has concluded but the playoff bracket hasn’t been decided just yet! Teams ranked 7th-10th in both conferences are set to battle it out for the final couple of playoff spots in the inaugural NBA Play-In Tournament.
Here, we bring you our best bets for the first four games set to take place over Wednesday and Thursday morning. Good luck to everyone following!
NBA Betting Tips: Play-In Tournament
Charlotte Hornets (10th) at Indiana Pacers (9th)
Wednesday 8:30am AEST, Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Charlotte Hornets didn’t finish off the regular season the way they would’ve liked, losing each of their last five games to slip to the 10th seed. LaMelo Ball hasn’t quite been the same since returning from injury, especially with how he’s been shooting the ball from range.
Indiana Pacers have had quite a disappointing season considering the depth of talent they have on their roster. Like most, we expected the Pacers to be vying for a top four finish, but consistent injuries to key players and inconsistent form has seen them finish outside the top eight.
The Hornets won the last two meetings between these teams to clinch the season series 2-1, but they won’t be without their star forward in Gordon Hayward for this crucial game, which will really hurt them. The Pacers have the experience edge in these types of big games and also hold the homecourt advantage, which should see them get the job done.
Prop: L. Ball 30+ PRA ($2)
Indiana Pacers -3.5
Washington Wizards (8th) at Boston Celtics (7th)
Wednesday 11am AEST, TD Garden
Washington Wizards have been in superb form over the past couple of months to win 17 of their last 23 games and finish in the 8th seed. The play of Russell Westbrook has been the catalyst for their surge up the standings and he’s recently been named as the Player of the Month in the Western Conference as a result.
Boston Celtics have had a really poor season when you consider the hype and expectations surrounding this team. Injuries to key players certainly hasn’t helped, but losing five of their last six games to fall out of the top six isn’t good enough for how talented their roster is.
The Celtics won the last meeting between these teams by a single point back in February to clinch the season series 2-1. However, the Wizards have dramatically improved since then and are actually the far better team in this matchup on current form. Despite that, we’re steering clear of the H2H result here and are opting to take the ‘unders’ in the total points market, which has easily saluted in all three of their meetings this season and should do again in a game that will have far greater defensive intensity than the previous three.
Prop: Westbrook 25+ Points ($1.94)
San Antonio Spurs (10th) at Memphis Grizzlies (9th)
Thursday 9:30am AEST, FedExForum
San Antonio Spurs have made life very difficult for themselves on the back of some horrible form over the past couple of weeks. They finished up the regular season with losses in 10 of their last 12 games, which saw them slip down to 10th spot and only just scrape into the Play-In Tournament.
Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of a favourable schedule over the last two weeks of the regular season to secure wins in five of their last six games. The return from injury for Jaren Jackon Jr. gave them a morale boost during their recent stretch and also took some scoring pressure off Ja Morant.
The Spurs won the first meeting between these teams this season, but the Grizzlies responded with blowout wins in their two later meetings to clinch the season series 2-1. On top of the confidence they’ll get from that, the Grizzlies have home court advantage and are also in the far better form. All signs lead towards Ja and co. moving onto the next round of the Play-In Tournament.
Value: Memphis Grizzlies 11+ ($3.46)
Memphis Grizzlies -3.5
Golden State Warriors (8th) at Los Angeles Lakers (7th)
Thursday 12pm AEST, Staples Center
Golden State Warriors have found their best form at the right time with wins in each of their last six games to finish the regular season in 8th place in the Western Conference. Steph Curry has had a thing or two to do with his team’s recent surge, pouring in 36 points a night during May, which helped him clinch the second scoring title of his career.
Los Angeles Lakers finally got their superstar tandem of Anthony Davis and LeBron James back from injury with a few games to spare, but unfortunately it was a little too late for the Lakers who couldn’t force themselves back into the top six. Instead, they’ll now have to take the long route if they’re to make it back-to-back championships.
What a matchup we have on our hands here in the inaugural Play-In Tournament. Both teams finished off the regular season strong, with the Warriors winning six straight and the Lakers five straight, which makes this an even juicier affair on top of all the other narratives. The Lakers won the two most recent meetings very comfortably to clinch the season series 2-1, but you just know both teams will put their best foot forward on the big stage and that the result will be determined in the final few possessions of the game on Thursday. We’re predicting that the Lakers might just get them with experience at the end, but the Warriors should still be close enough to cover the spread.
Value: HT/FT – Warriors/Lakers ($5.80)
Golden State Warriors +5.5