2022 NBA Play-In Tournament: Schedule, Odds, Predictions, and Best Bets

The 2022 NBA Play-In Tournament is here, as eight bubble teams will battle it out over the next few days for four total playoff spots.

In the Eastern Conference, the preseason favorite Brooklyn Nets will face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers, while the Atlanta Hawks face a must-win game against the Charlotte Hornets. Out West, the Minnesota Timberwolves drew a dangerous Los Angeles Clippers squad, and the New Orleans Pelicans will play the surprising San Antonio Spurs.

Ahead of this year’s play-in tournament, we’ve got you covered with the schedule, odds for each game, and some best bets to hold you over until the actual playoffs get started this weekend.

NBA Play-In Tournament schedule, odds, and predictions

Brooklyn Nets vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

Date: Tuesday, April 12, 7 p.m. ET on TNT
Spread: Nets -9.5
Total: 227
Moneyline: Nets -475, Cavaliers +350

Raise your hand if you predicted the Nets would be fighting for their postseason lives in the play-in tournament this season. Yeah, me neither.

After dealing with James Harden’s drama, Kyrie Irving’s vaccination status, Kevin Durant’s extended injury absence, and now Ben Simmons’ mysterious back injury, Brooklyn finished the regular season with a 44-38 record and the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference. The Nets still have the talent to make a run to the NBA Finals, but they’ll have to crack the playoff field first before any championship talk can commence.

That shouldn’t be a problem for Durant and Co. based on the Las Vegas odds. The Nets currently sit as a 9.5-point favorite over the upstart Cavaliers on Tuesday night. Cleveland is a fun team, but not many players on the roster have any playoff experience. Star center Jarrett Allen is also expected to miss the game with a fractured finger.

The Nets should handle business on Tuesday night to lock in the No. 7 seed, but I wouldn’t trust them to cover this massive spread.

Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Date: Tuesday, April 12, 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Spread: Timberwolves -3
Total: 230.5
Moneyline: Timberwolves -150, Clippers +130

This has to be the most anticipated game of the play-in tournament slate.

Anthony Edwards and Karl Anthony-Towns have led the Timberwolves to the highest-scoring team in the NBA this season. They’re a threat to score 130 on any given night.

On the other side, the Clippers are finally starting to get healthy again. Paul George and Norman Powell have both returned from extended absences, and no one would be surprised if LA made a run to the Western Conference Finals.

Kawhi Leonard won’t be available Tuesday night, but George will be the most experienced player on the court. It might be worth a shot taking the Clippers on the moneyline at +130 odds.

Atlanta Hawks vs. Charlotte Hornets

Date: Wednesday, April 13, 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
Spread: Hawks -4.5
Total: 236
Moneyline: Hawks -190, Hornets +160

You like points? Look no further than the Hawks-Hornets matchup on Wednesday night.

Both teams rank inside the top six in the league in scoring and the bottom 10 in points allowed. It’s no wonder this matchup features the highest total of the four play-in games at 236.

I trust Trae Young and a Hawks team that reached the Eastern Conference Finals last season more than the inexperienced Hornets, so I’d lay the 4.5 points here.

New Orleans Pelicans vs. San Antonio Spurs

Date: Wednesday, April 13, 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Spread: Pelicans -5
Total: 228
Moneyline: Pelicans -225, Spurs +175

Here’s the matchup that has by far the least juice in the play-in tournament. Both the Pelicans and Spurs are at least 10 games under .500 this season, and they’re prime examples of why some people hate the addition of two extra postseason teams.

Zion Williamson won’t be on the court for the Pels, and the Spurs only stole a play-in spot because of the Los Angeles Lakers’ epic failure of a season. Neither of these teams can make any noise in the West, so good luck finding a valuable betting angle in this one.

Best bets for the NBA Play-In Tournament

Cavaliers +9.5

I don’t expect the Nets to lose to an undermanned Cavaliers team on Tuesday night, but 9.5 points are simply too many to lay on the most overrated team in the betting market all season.

Brooklyn was the worst home team in the NBA against the spread in the regular season. The Nets went 9-31-1 ATS on their home court, and they failed to cover by an average of 6.8 points per game. On the other side, Cleveland went 20-19-2 ATS on the road and covered by an average of 2.3 points per game.

The Cavaliers will be able to score enough against the Nets’ horrid defense to cover 9.5. If you wait for all the public Brooklyn money to roll in, you might even be able to get a 10 or 10.5 by game time.

Clippers ML +130

A few weeks ago, I wrote about jumping on Clippers futures before the market adjusted to their roster finally getting healthy. Since then, George and Powell have returned to the lineup, and LA has dropped from 55/1 to 30/1 to win the title.

For the Clippers to make a postseason run, though, they’ll have to upset the Timberwolves to set up a first-round matchup against the Memphis Grizzlies. They probably don’t stand a chance against the Phoenix Suns without Leonard, so they can’t afford to drop to the No. 8 seed.

LA is well aware of that fact, so I expect the team to treat this as a must-win game. The Clippers will have the best player on the floor in George, the better coach in Ty Lue, and the more experienced roster.

Give me the moneyline.

All betting odds courtesy of DraftKings as of 4/12.

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