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NBA Play-In Tournament Odds, Predictions & Best Bets For Friday

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

Mark Strotman  | 7 mins

NBA Play-In Tournament Odds, Predictions & Best Bets For Friday

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The Brooklyn Nets and Minnesota Timberwolves secured the No. 7 seeds in their respective conferences earlier this week, and the Charlotte Hornets and San Antonio Spurs were eliminated from playoff contention. That leaves four teams for two spots to determine the No. 8 seeds in both the East and the West.

These games are truly win or go home now: Winners earn the No. 8 seed, losers are out. With that in mind, let’s preview the two games and make our NBA picks on both the spread and total.

NBA Play-In Tournament Odds

8. Cavaliers vs 9. Hawks -2.5 Hawks O/U 225 -145 Hawks, +125 Cavs
8. Clippers vs 9. Pelicans -4 Clippers O/U 216.5 -180 Clippers, +155 Pelicans

Odds via DraftKings and accurate as of publication.

Atlanta Hawks vs Cleveland Cavaliers Prediction

Both these statements can be true: The Cavaliers are a good basketball team, and they’re sorely missing Jarrett Allen. They simply haven’t been the same since their man in the middle went down, and now they’re one game away from missing the postseason entirely—a few weeks ago they were flirting with homecourt advantage in Round 1! Still, a team with Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Kevin Love will compete, and they’re on their home floor where they were 22-17-2 ATS and 25-16 SU this season. That matters.

The Hawks looked dominant in a blowout win over the Hornets on Wednesday, and they beat the Cavaliers three out of four times this season. All the momentum is on Trae Young’s side. He finished the regular season averaging 32.3 points and 10.3 assists over his last seven games, and now he gets a beat-up Cleveland defense.

We’re not believers in momentum being a factor. This Cavs team is too legitimate—even without Allen—to be home underdogs on betting apps. Garland is going to put Cleveland on his back here and he brings the LeBron-less Cavs back to the postseason. Two ugly defenses and streaky offenses means we’ll also play the over here on NBA betting sites.

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LA Clippers vs New Orleans Pelicans Prediction

How are the Clippers here? They led the Timberwolves with 5 minutes to play and Karl Towns had fouled out of the game. They have to be seething for letting that lead slip away, but they’ll need to refocus quickly or else they’ll be on the outside looking in. Paul George (34 points) can only do so much, and we’re interested to see if LA can find a second scorer with Kawhi Leonard still on the shelf. The game may come down to Reggie Jackson’s ability to make shots.

The Pelicans are hoping CJ McCollum will stay as hot as he was in a win over the Spurs. The former Blazers guard was unstoppable on Wednesday, tallying 32 points on 12-for-23 shooting. He, Brandon Ingram (27 points) and Jonas Valanciunas form a nice little trio that will absolutely compete against the Clippers, a team they beat three times in the regular season.

These two teams played on April 3. The Clippers won 119-100 at home. The game was over at halftime. Despite New Orleans’ hot shooting, we’re leaning the Clips’ way here at home, where they were an excellent 25-16 SU. We think this one could turn into a track meet, too, so we’ll grab the over here on betting sites.

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How Does The Play-In Tournament Work?

On each side of the bracket, four teams are fighting for the final two seeds in the Eastern and Western Conferences. The format is the same in both conferences. The winner of the 7 vs. 8 game becomes the 7 seed. The loser of that game faces the winner of the 9 vs. 10 game in a single elimination contest.

That means there will be three Play-In Tournament games in each conference. The higher seed receives the home game in all instances.

About the Author

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com
Mark Strotman
Mark is a veteran sports betting journalist who has covered the Bulls and the NBA since 2012. His work has appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune and Yahoo Sports. He regularly provides NBA betting picks, as well as in-depth sportsbook reviews and the latest promo codes for all the major sports gambling operators, including Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and more.