NBA Play-In Tournament Odds and Schedule: Wolves on the Prowl

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It's do-or-die for the four teams remaining in the NBA Play-In Tournament. With the 8-seed in each conference still up for grabs, see which teams are favored in the Play-In odds before Friday's showdowns.

Last Updated: Apr 14, 2023 8:09 AM ET Read Time: 4 min
Anthony Edwards NBA Play-In
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NBA Play-In Tournament odds are still in the spotlight, as the clashes for the league's final playoff spots are upon us.

The Miami Heat and Minnesota Timberwolves, still stinging from their blunders Tuesday night, get another kick at the can, as the Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder await after winning the 9-10 games. 

Up next: a sudden-death battle tonight. The winner gets a playoff ticket, the loser goes to Cancun.

As the fight for an NBA playoff spot intensifies, bettors can cash in on the following teams' NBA odds in the final Play-In Tournament games. 

2023 NBA Play-In Tournament odds

Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

2023 NBA Play-In Tournament favorites 

Miami Heat (-204)

Miami's defense wasn't quite enough on Tuesday night. Despite holding Atlanta to just 24.4% shooting from long range (punctuated by Trae Young going just 1-for-8), the Heat couldn't muster their own offense, with only Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro showing any signs of life.

The South Beach shot diet was particularly gruesome on Tuesday; a deluge of forced passes to trailers in traffic and missed Jimmy Butler layups. 

Books are pegging the Heat as fairly clear favorites here, but after digging themselves such a big hole in their last outing, and falling flat again with the game in the balance, Miami will need a far more consistent effort Friday.

Minnesota Timberwolves (-202)

The Heat couldn't complete the comeback on Tuesday, and the Timberwolves couldn't avoid being the victim of one. Beating L.A. by double-digits for large chunks of the game, Minnesota went ice-cold in a 12-point fourth quarter that ultimately gave way to overtime, a loss, and its presence here. 

The Wolves get Rudy Gobert back for this game, but will still be without fellow Punch-Out! enthusiast Jaden McDaniels and breakout bench stud Naz Reid, leaving their front line thin. 

Luckily for them, the Thunder aren't exactly a big team, but anyone that just knocked off one of the league's hottest teams in the Pelicans can't be written off. 

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What is the NBA Play-In Tournament?

The NBA Play-In Tournament is a relatively new wrinkle in the league's playoff format. Instead of the Top 8 teams all being guaranteed playoff spots, the 7-through-10 seeds in each conference are entered into a mini-tournament, taking place shortly after the regular season's conclusion. 

NBA Play-In Tournament format

Here's how the Play-In tournament works:

The 7 and 8-seeds earn double-elimination status and play each other, while the 9 and 10-seeds play in a single-elimination game. The winner of the 7-8 game earns the No. 7 seed, while the loser of the 7-8 game then plays the winner of the 9-10 games for the No. 8 seed.

From there, the playoffs begin in earnest, following the traditional bracket format. 

NBA Play-In Tournament schedule

The 2023 Play-In Tournament is scheduled as follows:

Date Matchup
April 11 East 7 vs. East 8
April 11 West 7 vs. West 8
April 12 East 9 vs. East 10
April 12 West 9 vs. West 10
April 14 East 7/8 loser vs. East 9/10 winner
April 14 West 7/8 loser vs. West 9/10 winner

When was the NBA Play-In Tournament introduced?

The Play-In was introduced, in a beta concept form, for the 2020 season as part of the league's plans for a bubble re-launch during the heights of the COVID-19 pandemic — originally just with the 8 and 9-seeds playing. 

After positive initial impressions from both fans and media, the Play-In Tournament was expanded to its current format and introduced, however unideal the timing, for a 2020-21 season that was already marred by pandemic absences and injuries.

NBA Play-In Tournament trends

  • As of 2022, the 7-seed and 9-seed are a perfect 4-0 thus far in their opening play-in games.

  • Also as of 2022, the 9-seed is 3-1 as an underdog (record-wise) in the subsequent No. 8 seed game. 

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