The NBA’s play-in tournament begins Tuesday, April 11, and runs through the end of this week to determine which teams will face the top two seeds in both conferences. Miami and the LA Lakers will host the Hawks and Timberwolves in games where the winner automatically advances and becomes the 7th seed in the conference.
The loser of those matchups will play the winner of meetings between the ninth and tenth seeds to determine the eighth seed in the final playoff bracket.
In the East, the win-or-go-home matchup on Wednesday night features the Raptors hosting the Bulls. Out West, New Orleans hosts Oklahoma City, hoping to make the elimination rounds for the second straight year. In 2022, the Pelicans and Hawks won two games during the play-in round to advance and face the top seed in their conference.
We’ve reviewed the spreads and totals for this year’s edition and have put together a best bet card to pair with this midweek action.
These two meet again after dueling for five games in the first round of last season’s playoffs. The disparity in nightly scoring between that series and their four meetings during the regular season this year is eye-opening.
Their 230.5 points per game in four matchups this season is an 11.4% increase from the five games in their playoff series that averaged 206.8 points per game in 2022.
However, the playoffs are a different story for the Heat. Miami allowed 106 points per game to opposing teams over the final four games of the regular season when the standings tightened up.
Additionally, Heat playoff games over the last two seasons have averaged 206.7 points per game, and the team is notorious for its defensive focus in the postseason. We’re on the under in Miami.
Chicago and Toronto will meet on Wednesday for the first time in the postseason. Since the start of 2022, the teams have split six games evenly, although the Raptors took two of three from the Bulls during the 2022-23 regular season.
Before the playoff bubble in 2020, Toronto had won 12 in a row against Chicago. However, the story flipped in 2021, and the Bulls have taken seven of ten from the Raptors since.
This season, Toronto was 21-12-1 ATS as a home favorite, the best record in the league among teams who played 25+ games in that situation. We’ll take the Raptors to keep that trend going at home on Wednesday.
The play-in structure of the NBA Playoffs could be paying off, as evidenced by another first-time meeting between teams in a postseason setting. The last ten games between these franchises have resulted in six Pelicans wins and an average combined score of 214.6 points.
Three of their four regular season matchups this season did not go into overtime, and the teams averaged 205 points per game. The outlier in this sample is an overtime win by New Orleans in OKC, where they combined for 253 points.
Regardless, we’ll use the larger sample size to form our opinion. Play the under between the Thunder and Pelicans in their first non-regular season meeting.
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