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NBA Play-In Tournament Odds, Picks & Preview: Best Bets for Hawks-Bulls & More (2024)

This might be a hot take, but I enjoy the NBA Play-In Tournament. It keeps the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds on their toes for a few extra days while giving talented teams that suffered bad injury luck a chance to rally late in the season. While it took a few season for play-in teams to make noise in the postseason, we saw the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat do just that last year. Let’s dive into this year’s NBA Play-In Tournament odds and picks as we preview the first four games. If you’re hungry for more picks, check out our NBA betting tools or our NBA betting promos!

NBA Play-In Tournament Odds, Picks & Preview (2024)

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NBA Play-In Tournament Odds, Picks & Preview: Eastern Conference

Heat-76ers Play-In Odds

Odds via bet365
MIA ML: +160 | PHI ML: -190
MIA +4.5: -110 | PHI -4.5: -110
Over 207.5: -110 | Under 207.5: -110
Updated Heat-76ers NBA play-in odds.

Heat-76ers NBA Play-In Pick & Preview

This is a play-in game? The No. 8 Miami Heat will visit the No. 7 Philadelphia 76ers in a battle of two teams we’ve seen last at least two rounds with frequency in recent history. The injury to Joel Embiid was costly in the regular season, but with him back, the 76ers will look to make a run — and I think they can do it.

I have some serious concerns with the Heat. Don’t just pencil them in for another strong postseason run as we saw from them last year — also, don’t forget that they lost a home play-in game to the Atlanta Hawks and were trailing the Chicago Bulls with less than two minutes to go in last year’s play-in finale.

This year, the Heat struggled in the clutch and produced far less impressive lineup splits than the 76ers. Miami ranked a brutal 28th in clutch net rating this season (-13.5), largely due to a brutal offensive rating of just 100. The 76ers, despite playing without multiple starters for much of the year, ranked 11th (+4.7).

Lineup splits also raise some concerns for Miami. The Heat are a fluid team, but their two three-player lineups with more than 500 minutes on the floor were okay. Those combos, Duncan RobinsonJaime JaquezBam Adebayo (+4.6) and Terry RozierJimmy Butler-Adebayo (+4.5) trail the 76ers’ top combos, Tyrese MaxeyDe’Anthony MeltonJoel Embiid (+16.6) and Melton-Tobias Harris-Embiid (+15.2) by considerable margins.

Philadelphia has six roster combos with 500-plus minutes and better net ratings than Miami’s two lineups. Even if we reduce the minutes threshold to 350, the picture isn’t much better: Butler-Jaquez-Kevin Love (+18) is their best one, but that’s not likely a lineup of which we’ll see much. Their next-best choice is Butler-Nikola Jovic-Adebayo (+9.3).

In short: the playoff Heat were a real problem last year, but they were a real problem because of 3-point variance. This year’s team has been inefficient in the clutch offensively (their true shooting percentage has dropped by 9.3%!), and the 76ers with Embiid should be too tough for them to overcome.

Heat-76ers NBA Play-In Pick: Philadelphia -4.5 -110 at BetMGM
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Hawks-Bulls Play-In Odds

Odds via bet365
ATL ML: +130 | CHI ML: -155
ATL +3: -105 | CHI -3: -115
Over 220.5: -110 | Under 220.5: -110
Updated Hawks-Bulls NBA play-in odds.

Hawks-Bulls NBA Play-In Pick & Preview

I really liked the Atlanta Hawks heading into this season, largely because of Quin Snyder getting a full offseason to work with this team, the addition of Saddiq Bey and the development of Onyeka Okongwu. The Hawks struggled all season, the latter players are on the shelf for this one, and I’m on the Bulls for this one.

I could justify backing the Bulls in this spot through several methods, but the best is probably just by talking about Trae Young and Dejounte Murray. The backcourt duo does not work well together. Atlanta’s best three-man lineup combo with Young and Murray (and 500-plus minutes) is Young-Murray-Clint Capela at -4.9. The best defensive rating that a three-man Young-Murray lineup combo recorded was a brutal 118.2!

Oh, and by the way, the team’s best three-man lineup combo overall was Bogdan Bogdanovic-Bey-Okongwu at +7.3, so I don’t feel that bad about being wrong about the Hawks this season… I’m definitely not coping.

The second-best justification for betting on the Bulls in this play-in game is their clutch net rating. Atlanta ranks a dismal 26th in clutch net rating (-12.8) while Chicago ranks an impressive second (+23.5). As far as individual players go, Young (-19.9) was terrible, largely because of his impotent clutch defensive rating (127.5). Only Okongwu (+5.3) was above zero. All five of Chicago’s recent starters, Dosunmu, White, Caruso, DeRozan and Vucevic, sport clutch defensive ratings of 97.1 or lower.

Finally, while I already went after Atlanta’s bad top lineup options, Chicago has a few good ones. While the best DeMar DeRozanNikola Vucevic combo, Ayo Dosunmu-DeRozan-Vucevic, clocks in a concerning +1.3 in net rating, it’s one of five lineups above zero with 500-plus minutes. The Hawks have four lineups above that threshold, and again, none that feature both Young and Murray.

Hawks-Bulls NBA Play-In Pick: Chicago ML -148 at FanDuel
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NBA Play-In Tournament Odds, Picks & Preview: Western Conference

Lakers-Pelicans Play-In Odds

Odds via bet365
LAL ML: -105 | NOP ML: -115
LAL +1: -110 | NOP -1: -110
Over 224: -110 | Under 224: -110
Updated Lakers-Pelicans NBA play-in odds.

Lakers-Pelicans NBA Play-In Pick & Preview

The No. 8 Los Angeles Lakers will visit the No. 7 New Orleans Pelicans for a shot at the No. 2 Denver Nuggets. It’s not an enviable playoff matchup, and there’s an argument that the No. 1 Oklahoma City Thunder are a less challenging opponent, but it would be foolish for either side to play matchups with the possibility of elimination on the line.

The Lakers won the regular-season series versus the Pelicans this year, besting them in three of four games. However, they split the series 1-1 in New Orleans. The Lakers lost the first trip to the Big Easy but won the second, which was scheduled for the final day of the regular season and allowed the Lakers to lock up the No. 8 seed.

Los Angeles’ 16-point win over the Pels looms large heading into this matchup, the odds for which are a pick’em. Anthony Davis and LeBron James combined for a whopping 58 points, 22 rebounds and 20 assists in the quasi-playoff game environment. The Pels seemingly took a more relaxed approach, refusing to use any of their starters for more than 32 minutes.

The big question for Tuesday’s Lakers-Pelicans game is whether Brandon Ingram will be back to full health. Head coach Willie Green acknowledged that Ingram was on a minutes restriction before the game. The Pels used him for only 23 minutes in his return to the floor on Sunday. He finished at -28. It’s an open question, but I’m leaning toward Green giving Ingram the green light come Tuesday.

It’s inefficient for L.A. to be a pick’em with New Orleans for this game. Since the All-Star Break, the Lakers have allowed the sixth-most points in the paint per game (52.7), the sixth-highest conversion rate in the restricted area (69.8%) and the ninth-highest conversion rate from mid-range (44%).

Zion Williamson should feast down low, as he scored the second-most points in the paint in the regular season (17.6), while Brandon Ingram should convert plenty of high-quality mid-range looks, as he ranked fifth in mid-range makes per game this year (2.6).

On the defensive end, the Pels have a talented cast of defensive weapons, including starter Herbert Jones, that will cause problems for the Lake Show. New Orleans ranks sixth in defensive rating since the All-Star Break (110.3). Importantly, the Pels also rank third in points allowed in the paint (45.2) through that sample, which should limit Davis’ effectiveness.

Lakers-Pelicans NBA Play-In Pick: New Orleans ML -106 at FanDuel
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Warriors-Kings Play-In Odds

Odds via bet365
GSW ML: -150 | SAC ML: +125
GSW -2.5: -115 | SAC +2.5: -105
Over 223.5: -110 | Under 223.5: -110
Updated Warriors-Kings NBA play-in odds.

Warriors-Kings NBA Play-In Pick & Preview

The No. 10 Golden State Warriors will visit the No. 9 Sacramento Kings in a rematch of last year’s playoff series. Although they’re the home team, the Kings are underdogs to the visiting Warriors, which speaks to just how far the team has fallen this year. Meanwhile, Tyrese Haliburton is locked in for the Pacers.

The Kings are in a tougher spot than they were last year. Malik Monk and Kevin Huerter are out with injuries, leaving them with a tighter rotation at wing and thrusting Keon Ellis into a starting role. While Keegan Murray has been better this year than last year (and the team added Sasha Vezenkov in free agency), neither of them can make up for their losses.

Meanwhile, the Warriors are arguably in a better spot despite their worse performance this season. Jonathan Kuminga has broken out. Trayce Jackson-Davis and Brandin Podziemski are providing valuable minutes off the bench. Chris Paul is in town now, too. The only big departure was Donte DiVincenzo.

The Warriors also have more efficient roster combinations at their disposal than the Kings. The Stephen CurryDraymond GreenJonathan Kuminga combo logged 590 minutes together and recorded a nice +11.5 net rating. Swap Green for Andrew Wiggins, and you’ve got a combo with a +7.4 over 533 minutes.

Meanwhile, Sacramento’s best available lineup is Keon EllisHarrison BarnesDomantas Sabonis at +7.7. The team’s two next-best combinations featured Kevin Huerter, leaving the De’Aaron FoxKeegan Murray-Sabonis combo as the next-best choice at +5.3.

The Kings and Warriors have met just once in 2024, and that game illustrates a clearer path to victory for the Dubs than the Kings even though the Dubs dropped that contest by a point. The Warriors, who were without Paul and Jackson-Davis, got 31 points from Kuminga off the bench and 33 from Curry. The Kings needed an improbable career-high 39 from Barnes, which required him to shoot 58/58/100.

Let's dive into the 2024 NBA Play-In Tournament odds as we make our picks and preview each game, including Lakers-Pelicans...
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Warriors-Kings NBA Play-In Pick: Golden State ML -135 at Hard Rock
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