NBA Play-In Tournament Futures and Predictions: Best West and East Picks

The NBA Play-In Tournament field is set after the regular season wrapped up on Sunday. The Western Conference play-in games are scheduled for Tuesday and Friday, while the East’s play-in games will take place on Wednesday and Friday.

In the West, two teams from the group of 7-seed New Orleans, 8-seed Los Angeles (Lakers), 9-seed Sacramento, and 10-seed Golden State will reach the playoffs. The teams that finished seventh through 10th in the East are Philadelphia, Miami, Chicago, and Atlanta, in that order.

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NBA Play-In Tournament Games, Current Odds

  • New Orleans Pelicans () vs. Los Angeles Lakers () | Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET | TNT
  • Sacramento Kings ( ) vs. Golden State Warriors () | Tuesday, 10:00 p.m. ET | TNT
  • Philadelphia 76ers () vs. Miami Heat () | Wednesday, 7:00 p.m. ET | ESPN
  • Chicago Bulls () vs. Atlanta Hawks () | Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. ET | ESPN

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NBA Odds to Make Playoffs

Below are the odds for each team to reach the playoffs.


2024 Play-In Tournament Favorites: 76ers, Heat, Lakers, Pelicans

In the East, Joel Embiid and Co. are understandably seen as a lock to move on to a first-round matchup against either Boston or Milwaukee. And while reigning conference champ Miami disappointed during the regular season, it should have little trouble handling Chicago or Atlanta if it loses to Philadelphia.

The West, on the other hand, is tough to predict. All four Western Conference play-in teams not only have a legitimate chance to reach the playoffs, but realistically challenge whoever they face in the first round.

When healthy, the Pelicans are good enough to win a playoff series or two thanks to how well they defend. The Lakers and Warriors are always dangerous because of the playoff success and experience their best players bring to the table. The wild card in the West is 46-win Sacramento, which finished third in the conference a year ago and took Golden State to seven games in a hard-fought first-round series. Tuesday night’s do-or-die rematch of that series promises to be one of the most memorable play-in games since this tournament was created in 2021.

2024 NBA Play-In Tournament Picks

The East looks chalky — while Philadelphia and/or Miami may struggle to advance, those two will find a way to survive.

Eastern Conference Play-In Picks: Philadelphia, Miami

In the West, Zion Williamson’s playoff debut at home should bring out the best in the Pelicans. That would set up a battle for the last spot in the West between the Lakers and the winner of Kings vs. Warriors. I can’t see Curry letting the Warriors’ season end on a Tuesday night in mid-April in Sacramento.

If the final spot in the West comes down to LeBron James and LA vs. Stephen Curry and Golden State in a rematch of last year’s Western Conference semifinals, Anthony Davis will make the difference for the Lakers again. The Warriors had no answer for him last year, as he averaged 21.5 points and 14.5 rebounds in that series. LA went 1-3 against Golden State in the regular season, but in a matchup of two of the biggest stars in the league, Davis should give the Lakers the advantage.

Western Conference Play-In Picks: New Orleans, LA


About the Author
Tyler Everett

Tyler Everett

Tyler Everett has been a sports writer since joining the student newspaper at his alma mater, NC State, back in 2008. He has covered sports, sports betting, and the business of sports for several newspapers and websites, including the Denver Broncos, Charlotte Observer, High Press Soccer, and Sports Business Journal.

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