Monday, May 27, 2024

NBA power rankings: Ranking all 8 play-in teams based on odds to make the playoffs

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The NBA regular season is over, and the postseason will begin on Tuesday.

This year brings the fifth iteration of the NBA play-in tournament – and the fourth in its current format.

Eight teams across both conferences – the Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Atlanta Hawks, New Orleans Pelicans, Los Angeles Lakers, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors – are vying for the final four spots in the playoffs.

Each conference’s No. 7 and No. 8 seeds will be determined by the outcomes of the tournament. The Boston Celtics, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets wait in the wings ready to take on the winners of the play-in tournament.

Here’s how each play-in team ranks by its odds to make the playoffs, courtesy of BetMGM.

NBA play-in tournament: Matchups features big stars. See the TV and streaming schedule

NBA power rankings: Play-in tournament odds

1. Philadelphia 76ers (-2000)

Up until the end of January, the 76ers were competing for the Eastern Conference’s second seed. When reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid went down with a knee injury at the start of February, Philadelphia slid down the standings. Now, they’re a play-in team.

Embiid returned to the lineup earlier this month, and the 76ers closed out the regular season with an eight-game win streak. They finished tied for fifth in the East and are getting hot at the right time. That being the case, the odds strongly suggest Philadelphia will make it out of the play-in tournament one way or another.

2. Miami Heat (-600)

Like the 76ers, the Heat were almost able to avoid the play-in tournament with a stellar 46-36 record. Had a few things broken their way on Sunday, they could have risen as high as the No. 5 seed. Instead, they’ll go on the road to play Philadelphia in the first round of the play-in tournament.

Even if Miami loses, they would play the winner of Bulls-Hawks to determine the No. 8 seed in the playoffs. Both Chicago and Atlanta finished with losing records, and the odds reflect that Miami has a great shot at making the playoffs as a result.

3. Los Angeles Lakers (-550)

One month before the play-in tournament was scheduled to begin, the Lakers were in 10th place in the West, the last team into the postseason in their conference. In their last two games of the season, they pulled ahead of the Warriors and Kings, who were in a tie for ninth place.

That was enough to give Los Angeles the eighth-place finish, and with it, two shots at winning a play-in tournament game to advance to the playoffs. With LeBron James, a strong regular season record and a favorable play-in spot, oddsmakers like the Lakers’ chances to move on.

4. New Orleans Pelicans (-450)

The Pelicans were safe from the play-in tournament as the West’s No. 6 seed until the Lakers beat them in New Orleans in Sunday’s regular season finale. They’ll be looking to get revenge on Tuesday night.

Even if they are unsuccessful at home once again, they’ll take on the Warriors or Kings. The Pelicans are a combined 4-0 against Golden State and Sacramento, including consecutive wins against each team last week.

5. Golden State Warriors (+325)

The Warriors hold a slight edge over the Kings in playoff odds after the two teams split the season series, 2-2. That’s intriguing given Golden State’s need to go on the road in both play-in games, though the Warriors hold the clear edge in playoff experience on their roster.

Last year, the Warriors were the lower seed playing the Kings in the first round of the playoffs. They won in seven games, thanks to two big victories on the road.

6. Sacramento Kings (+400)

7. Chicago Bulls (+500)

8. Atlanta Hawks (+650)

NBA playoffs: Who made it? Bracket, seeds, matchups, play-in tournament schedule, TV

What is the NBA Play-In Tournament?

The NBA Play-In Tournament, with its current system implemented for the 2021 playoffs, allowed each conference to expand its potential playoff field from eight teams to 10. The seventh- through 10th-ranked teams in each conference at the end of the regular season play in a four-day tournament to decide the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds in the first round of the playoffs.

In one set of games, the seventh-place team for each conference hosts the eighth-place finisher. The winners in each conference gets the No. 7 seed in their brackets.

In another set of games, the ninth-ranked team in each conference hosts the 10th-place team. The winners of those games play the losers of the seventh place vs. eighth place matchups to determine the No. 8 seed in their respective conferences.

This year, the play-in tournament begins April 16 and concludes April 19. The first round of the NBA playoffs begin April 20.

NBA Eastern Conference play-in tournament matchup

Here’s how things currently look for the play-in in the East:

  • Seventh-place Philadelphia 76ers vs. eighth-place Miami Heat
  • Ninth-place Chicago Bulls vs. 10th-place Atlanta Hawks

NBA Western Conference play-in tournament matchup

Here’s how things currently look for the play-in in the West:

  • Seventh-place New Orleans Pelicans vs. eighth-place Los Angeles Lakers
  • Ninth-place Sacramento Kings vs. 10th-place Golden State Warriors

When do the 2024 NBA Playoffs start?

The first round of the NBA playoffs begins April 20. Depending on how quickly first-round matchups are decided, the conference semifinals begin either May 4-5 or May 6-7. The conference finals are scheduled to begin May 21-22 but could move to May 19-20 pending conference semifinal results.

The NBA Finals begin June 6.

Play-in game matchups, schedule, TV, times

Tuesday

No. 8 Los Angeles at No. 7 New Orleans, TNT, 7:30 p.m. ET

  • Winner is the No. 7 seed against No. 2 Denver in a West first-round series

No. 10 Golden State at No. 9 Sacramento, TNT, 10 p.m. ET

Wednesday

No. 8 Miami at No. 7 Philadelphia, ESPN, 7 p.m. ET

  • Winner is the No. 7 seed against No. 2 New York in an East first-round series

No. 10 Atlanta at No. 9 Chicago, ESPN, 9:30 p.m. ET

Friday

Loser of Miami-Philadelphia vs. winner of Atlanta-Chicago, ESPN, Time TBD

  • Winner is the No. 8 seed against No. 1 Boston in an East first-round series

Loser of Los Angeles Lakers-Pelicans vs. winner of Golden-State Sacramento, TNT, Time TBD

  • Winner is the No. 8 seed against No. 1 Oklahoma City in a West first-round series

How to watch: Catch all NBA playoff action with a subscription to fuboTV

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