The NBA held its final regular season games on Sunday, setting the stage for the Play-In Tournament that starts tonight.
The Play-In Tournament has been in place since its inception two seasons ago, and it’s in its second season under the Page-McIntyre system, in which teams seeded seven through 10 play in a mini-tournament for the final two playoff spots in each conference.
The winner of the 7-8 matchup will advance to the playoffs while the loser will play in an elimination game versus the winner of the 9-10 matchup.
Both of this year’s 7 versus 8 play-in games will take place tonight. The No. 7 Brooklyn Nets (-9.5) are going up against the No. 8 Cleveland Cavaliers, as well as the No. 7 Minnesota Timberwolves (-3) hosting the No. 8 Los Angeles Clippers.
While the outcome of these play-in games will likely make or break those teams’ seasons, they will also have a considerable impact on the teams already locked into the playoffs. No. 2 Boston surely hopes that they face Cleveland in the first round, rather than the team with the second best odds to win the title in Brooklyn.
Don’t you worry if you’re not interested in betting on the games’ outcomes, because sportsbooks are offering a great menu of prop bets for both games.
Nets-Cavs Prop Bets:
Kyrie Irving Over 35 Points (+275, DraftKings)
This is not a moment that Irving will shy away from. He has tied his career high in average points per game at 27.4. I expect him to carry the scoring load tonight after averaging 30.5 points in his last 15 games. He is one of those players who can go off for 40, and no one would blink an eye.
Irving should not have trouble scoring tonight. The Cavs’ elite defense comes more so from their front court players in the paint, not so much from their guards on the perimeter. +275 is worth a look.
Darius Garland Over 25.5 Points (-110, DraftKings)
This will be Garland’s best chance in his young career to reach the playoffs, and he’ll need to score some buckets in order to achieve that. Garland started off the season slow, averaging 20.3 points per game before the All-Star break. After the break, he’s put up 24.8 points per game.
His matchup with the Nets is a fair one, as Brooklyn is ranked 19th in points allowed. Brooklyn’s winning strategy has been more about outscoring opponents than limiting opponents’ scoring. We should expect this to be a high scoring game, giving Garland a good opportunity to put up points.
Garland Over 8.5 Assists (-120, DraftKings)
Garland finished the season with the sixth highest assist per game average at 8.6. He made assisting the basketball more of his priority as the season progressed. He dished out eight assists per game before the All-Star break and 10 assists per game after the break.
In a game that will likely feature a lot of points on both ends, it would not surprise me if Garland amasses 10 assists or more in this one. He has given out at least 10 assists in 13 of his last 22 games, averaging 10.8 assists in that 22-game span.
Garland Over 2.5 Three Pointers (-125, DraftKings)
Garland has been on a little bit of a hot streak lately, knocking down at least three threes in six of his last eight games. If the Cavs have any hopes of winning this game against the underseeded Nets, then Garland is going to have to step up his game as Cleveland’s best player.
Wolves-Clippers Prop Bets:
Paul George Under 27.5 Points (-110, DraftKings)
George has not been “Playoff P” since returning from an elbow injury that sidelined him for roughly three months. He has scored at least 28 points in just one of his last five games. It is simply too hard for him to reach 28+ points shortly after returning from injury.
Anthony Edwards Over 2.5 Three Pointers (-170, DraftKings)
Anthony Edwards has become a reliable three-point shooter this season, particularly in recent months. He’s shooting the ball at his best clip at the perfect time as he heads into his matchup with Los Angeles, averaging 3.1 threes per game in March and April.
Also read: NBA Play-In Tournament Betting Odds