The play-in round of the NBA postseason has been off to an exciting start. Day one of the tournament began with a couple of blowout wins, while the second day was much closer.
When it comes to the Eastern Conference, the Indiana Pacers blew out the Charlotte Hornets, 144-117, on May 18. On the other hand, the original No. 8 seed Washington Wizards lost 118-110 to the Boston Celtics on Tuesday. Now, the Pacers and Wizards will clash on Thursday to see who will take the East’s final spot for the NBA Playoffs.
Meanwhile, the Western Conference play-in matchups were much closer. The No. 9 Memphis Grizzlies managed to overcome the No. 10 San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday in a pretty event contest, walking away with the 100-96 victory. In the second game of the night, the Los Angeles Lakers squeezed out the 103-100 win over the Golden State Warriors, securing them as the 7th-seeded team. The Warriors will place host to the Grizzlies on Saturday to decide the Western Conference’s No. 8 team.
The final two NBA play-in matchups should be just as intense as the rest. With that being said, Bovada has released odds for each game. To see who’s favored to win, continue reading on.
NBA Eastern Conference Play-In Odds
Odds via Bovada as of Thursday, May 20
- Record: Indiana Pacers (34-38) vs Washington Wizards (34-38)
- Season series: 3-0 Washington
- Moneyline: Pacers (+130), Wizards (-150)
- Point spread: Pacers +3.0 (-110), Wizards -3.0 (-110)
- Total: Over 237.5 — Over (-110), Under (-110)
It might not come as much of a surprise that the Wizards are favored to win their NBA play-in matchup with the Pacers. Washington dominated the season series, winning all three of their games against Indiana. Each game was a high-scoring affair, too, with both teams combining to score at least 256 points in each of the three meetings.
One thing that the Wizards will need is a big game from Russell Westbrook. He wasn’t himself on Tuesday night, shooting 6-for-18 from the field while turning the ball over four times. He was also a -19 on the contest, so it’s safe to say that he and Bradley Beal (-20) need to turn things around so they don’t go home.
Meanwhile, the Pacers need their depth to continue helping them win. In their win over the Hornets this week, Indiana had eight NBA players hit double-digit point totals. If the team can keep that going, they should be able to give the Wizards some issues with such a deep lineup. They’ll also need Domantas Sabonis to have another game as he did on Tuesday when he crashed the board for 21 rebounds.
Western Conference Play-In Odds
Odds via Bovada as of Thursday, May 20
- Record: Memphis Grizzlies (38-34) vs Golden State Warriors (39-33)
- Season series: 2-1 Golden State
- Moneyline: Grizzlies (+140), Warriors (-160)
- Point spread: Grizzlies +3.5 (-110), Warriors -3.5 (-110)
- Total: Over 224.0 — Over (-110), Under (-110)
After winning their season series against the Grizzlies, 2-1, the Warriors will have to defeat them one more time if they want to keep their postseason hopes alive. In order to do that, they’ll have to play as they did against the Lakers on Wednesday. Even though they lost, the Golden State played terrific defense all game, with Draymond Green essentially shutting down Anthony Davis.
Fortunately for the Warriors, they already beat the Grizzlies last Sunday on the last day of the regular season behind a 46-point effort from Stephen Curry. Since not a lot has changed since then, it’s possible that we could see a repeat performance.
When the Grizzlies defeated the Spurs this week, it was thanks to the effort of three players having 20+ point games, including Jonas Valanciunas, who had a 23-point, 23-rebound double-double. While those types of performances are impressive, they need to make sure that their bench can pick up the slack if their top options are shut down. After all, just saw what kind of defense the Warriors can put on against the likes of Davis and LeBron James — two top-10 players in the NBA.