NBA Play-in Predictions 2023: Final Games April 11-14
The NBA special mini-tournament before the playoffs is here again. Here are the odds and predictions of the 2023 play-in tournament.
The NBA Play-in, a tournament that was brought into place in 2020-21, kicks off on the 11th of April, 2023. This tournament features four teams each from Eastern and Western conferences to make it eight total teams. This year features the Los Angeles Lakers, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, and Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference. Meanwhile, the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Toronto Raptors, and Chicago Bulls are the teams that qualified for the tournament in the Eastern Conference. With only two spots left to fill before the season’s most anticipated part, the playoffs, let’s see how these teams match up in the play-in tournament.
The NBA Play-in Tournament Format
NBA, during the pandemic, thought of a new way of qualifying for the playoffs where only the teams that finished in the first six positions would earn an automatic qualification to the postseason. However, this meant that the seventh and eighth seed was up for contention and would be competed for by the seventh, eighth, ninth, and tenth seeds. The format with which the tournament takes place is as follows;
- The seventh seed plays the eighth seed, and the winner of this match claims the seventh spot by default. The loser has one more chance at redemption, as they are still in contention for the eighth seed.
- The ninth and tenth seeds battle it out as well. The loser goes home, while the winner of this matchup goes up against the loser of the game between the seventh and eighth seed to decide who claims the eighth spot in the playoffs.
2023 NBA Play-in Final Standings
- Seventh seed: Miami Heat
- Eighth seed: Atlanta Hawks
- Ninth seed: Toronto Raptors
- Tenth seed: Chicago Bulls
- Seventh seed: Los Angeles Lakers
- Eighth seed: Minnesota Timberwolves
- Ninth seed: New Orleans Pelicans
- Tenth seed: Oklahoma City Thunder
2023 NBA Play-In Schedule
Game: Miami Heat Vs Atlanta Hawks
Date: April 11, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm ET
Venue: FTX Arena, Miami, Florida.
Game: Los Angeles Lakers Vs Minnesota Timberwolves
Date: April 11, 2023
Time: 9:30 pm ET
Venue: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, California
Game: Toronto Raptors Vs Chicago Bulls
Date: April 12, 2023
Time: 7:00 pm ET
Venue: Scotiabank Arena, Toronto, Canada
Game: New Orleans Pelicans Vs Oklahoma City Thunder
Date: April 12, 2023
Time: 9:30 pm ET
Venue: Smoothie King Center, New Orleans, Louisiana
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2023 NBA Play-in Tournament Preview And Predictions
Miami Heat Vs Atlanta Hawks
- The Heat have found themselves in an unfamiliar position this postseason as this is their first-time appearance in the play-in. The Heat won the Eastern Conference at the end of the last regular season, so it’s quite a drastic drop in form to see them competing for a second chance to earn a spot in the playoffs.
- On the other hand, Hawks are used to this kind of situation. They were the ninth seed last season and went undefeated in the play-in tournament to claim the eighth seed. Miami Heat is a dangerous team in the postseason, so the game between them and the Hawks will be hard-fought.
- The Miami Heat did incredibly well after the All-Star break, which helped them greatly in securing the seventh spot at the end of the regular season. We know Jimmy Butler is a different man in the playoffs, and head coach Erik Spoelstra has proven he can bring the best out of the Miami Heat team in the postseason. Back the heat to win this game and cover the spread.
Pick: Miami Heat -5.5
Odds: 2.02 (decimal), +102 (American)
Los Angeles Lakers Vs Minnesota Timberwolves
- The Los Angeles Lakers have significantly changed the roster that kicked off the season. From all indications, Russell Westbrook was not a good fit on the Lakers team that had LeBron James and Anthony Davis. The front office did their thing on the trade deadline as they shipped out the veteran point guard for a younger set of players who eased into the Lakers team and turned their season around.
- On the other hand, the Minnesota Timberwolves may just be regretting all their trade decisions this season as they have once again found themselves in the play-in tournament in back-to-back years. The acquisition of Rudy Gobert with hopes to improve their defense has been a complete Catastrophe. The highlight of the last game day of the regular season saw a scuffle between the “Eiffel Tower” Rudy Gobert and Kyle Anderson.
- The Timberwolves had to go through one hell of a game against the New Orleans Pelicans to secure that eighth spot. Now they are playing a Lakers’ side that has not shown any sign of relapse since they peaked after the All-Star break. Although the Lakers are the favorite, we back the Timberwolves to keep it close, causing a winner to emerge only by a fine margin.
Pick: Minnesota Timberwolves +6.5
Odds: 2.12 (decimal), +112 (American)
Toronto Raptors Vs Chicago Bulls
- The Raptors have struggled since they won the ring with Kawhi Leonard in the 2019-20 season. They have a different squad now, which only continues to show promise. The current Toronto Raptors squad will take a while to reach its potential. However, they have claimed the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference and consequently qualify for the play-in tournament.
- The Chicago Bulls were a disjointed team until they signed Patrick Beverly. The veteran point guard somehow has catalyzed the Bulls’ season turnaround. The Bulls went 8-4 with Parick Beverly to secure the tenth spot and qualify for the play-in.
- This will be a tough matchup, as both teams are in a win-or-go-home situation. Desperacy is at its peak here. The Raptors’ home-court advantage is not a significant game-changer because the Bulls have the best road record in the league in March. Although the Raptors’ defense is strong, it won’t hold up against a Chicago team that features Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan. Here, the Bulls are the favorite to prevail.
Pick: Chicago Bulls to win
Odds: 2.70 (decimal), +170 (American)
New Orleans Pelicans Vs Oklahoma City Thunder
- The Pelicans are one dangerous team in this play-in tournament, and they are gutted they could not secure the eighth seed. With Zion Williamson out, the Pelicans have managed to hold things out, and if not for their loss on the final day of the regular season, they could have claimed the eighth spot.
- On the other hand, Oklahoma City Thunder is achieving their dreams of building with a core of young players as they have clinched the play-in tournament this season in a very competitive Western Conference. OKC, led by Shai Gilgeous Alexander, is a team to fear, and they can’t just be written off.
- The Pelicans’ defense, which allows 112.5 points per game, is ninth in the NBA and this will come into play here. They can defend and score, with Brandon Ingram leading the offense. Pelicans are potent on both ends of the court, and in such a win-or-go-home situation, I’d back them into emerging victors. Here, the Pelicans are backed to win and cover the spread.
Pick: New Orleans Pelicans -6.5
Odds: 2.13 (decimal), +113 (American)
The NBA play-in tournament is one interesting addition to the NBA postseason, and since its inception, it has never failed to deliver entertainment. Follow FBR for more NBA game previews and predictions with odds from our esteemed partner, Stake.com.
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