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Make or Miss? Betting NBA Teams to Make the Playoffs – Picks Included

April 21, 2021
Three picks for teams to make or not make playoffs

It won’t be long until the NBA regular season wraps up and the play-in tournament will be upon us. While teams like Philadelphia, Brooklyn, and Milwaukee are locks for the playoffs in the East; there are a number of teams from seventh-place through 12th that could qualify.

The same holds in the Western Conference where Utah, Phoenix, the Clippers, and even the injured Lakers will make the playoffs. Teams in seventh through 11th place in the West could all find themselves playing in a first-round NBA playoffs series.

Bettors still have time to get in on the action on teams to make or miss the NBA playoffs. Here is a look at some of the best bets among those teams currently on the fringe.

CHICAGO BULLS (+360 to Make)
Currently, the Bulls are tenth in the East. They are tied with Washington at 24-33 overall and hold a tiebreak advantage over the Wizards. Chicago has been playing some very good basketball – especially defensively – and it has come at the right time. All-Star Zach LaVine has been out of the lineup, but the Bulls proved they can match up with anyone with a recent 102-96 win over Boston. It was the team’s second straight after losing five in a row.

Very soon, the Bulls will get LaVine back and with Nikola Vucevic averaging 23.2 points and 9.9 rebounds per game, Chicago can make up some ground with its remaining schedule. They will face Miami, Milwaukee, and Brooklyn twice each and they will need every victory they can get.

It’s more likely the Bulls earn a play-in spot and then be forced to win a game or two to get to the playoffs. At this point, with a healthy LaVine you have to like the Bulls at +360 to make the playoffs.

INDIANA (+172 to Miss)
The Pacers have been up and down all season long. They have suffered through some injuries to starters like Malcolm Brogdon who leads the team in scoring with 21.3 points per game. More recently, the Pacers have been down. They have lost four of their last five games and have wandered between ninth and tenth place for most of the last two months.

Currently, Indiana is ninth and has a two-game lead on the tenth-place Bulls. Yes, the Pacers may make the play-in tournament. That much is likely. What is not is winning two consecutive games to make the playoffs. If the season ended today, Indiana would host Chicago. The Pacers are just 9-17 at home this season. Plus, the Bulls, with a healthy LaVine, are simply better. If you can still find Indiana to miss the playoffs at plus money, take it.

GOLDEN STATE (-113 to Make)
The playoff picture in the West is much clearer than the East right not. The top six teams are locks for the playoffs with Dallas in a pretty comfortable position as the seventh-place team. The fight will be for the eighth and final spot. Right now, it’s Memphis that holds a one-game lead over ninth-place Golden State and tenth-place San Antonio.

BBet the Warriors to Make the Playoffsoth Memphis and Golden State are given the same odds (-113) to make or miss the playoffs. The Spurs are +290 to make but have a brutal schedule to finish the season. They will have five very winnable games – Miami, Detroit, New Orleans, Washington, and Miami again – before heading into a stretch that includes Boston, Philadelphia, two games at Utah, at Portland, Milwaukee, at Brooklyn, at the Knicks, and two games at home against Phoenix to finish the season. The Spurs to make the playoffs just doesn’t seem possible with that schedule.

Memphis has the experience of the play-in tournament from a year ago. The Grizzlies have split two games with the Warriors this season. They will finish the season on May 16 at Golden State in a game that could decide eighth-place.

The best bet in the West is on the Warriors at -113 to make the playoffs. Golden State has won six of its last eight with former two-time MVP Steph Curry absolutely on fire. Curry and the Warriors will play a remaining schedule that is much easier than Memphis. Golden State will face Washington, Sacramento, Minnesota, Houston, and has two games against Oklahoma City and three more against New Orleans. Those are all winnable plus the finale at home against Golden State.