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Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans defends against LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers as we offer our NBA Play-In Tournament power rankings ahead of the NBA playoffs.
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans defends against LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers at Smoothie King Center on April 14, 2024 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo by Tyler Kaufman/Getty Images via AFP.

With the NBA playoffs set to tip-off, we've put together our NBA Play-In Tournament power rankings based on the best NBA odds ahead of Tuesday's opening games. 

The NBA Play-In Tournament begins with four games on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the last two on Friday, potentially reshaping the NBA championship odds based on the outcomes.

Last season, the Miami Heat were on the brink of elimination before winning on the final day of the play-in tournament. They went on to face the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals, while Los Angeles Lakers achieved a similar feat, from the Western Conference play-in to the conference finals. 

Could we see a similar run in 2024? Our best sports betting sites have one play-in team priced among the title favorites, while two others are dealing at shorter than 50/1 odds to win it all despite a challenging road ahead.

To accompany our Play-In Tournament odds, here's a look at our power rankings for the eight teams in the NBA Play-In Tournament, along with their title odds from our best NBA betting sites.

2024 NBA Play-In Tournament power rankings

8. Atlanta Hawks

It's hard to inspire less confidence heading into this tournament than what we've seen from the Hawks, who held the ninth spot in the Eastern Conference standings less than two weeks ago before dropping six straight to close the regular season.

Atlanta owns the worst record (36-46) and net rating (minus-2.0) of any team in this tournament, and it's dealing as a road underdog Wednesday against the Bulls, who won in a similar spot a year ago. Trae Young is always dangerous in the postseason, but this team's ceiling feels like the second round at best ... if it can even survive the play-in tournament.

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Best odds: +150000 via bet365

7. Chicago Bulls

The only other team in this field with a losing record is the Bulls (39-43), who have been vexingly bad for years despite a decent roster on paper.

Chicago posted the worst net rating (minus-2.2) of any play-in team since the All-Star break, and it ranked no better than ninth in the East since the first weekend in November. DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic can present matchup issues in the first round, but neither is the type of star who can take over a playoff series at this stage in their careers.

Best odds: +100000 via BetMGM

6. Sacramento Kings

We saw this team burst onto the scene last year in a thrilling first-round series with the Warriors. Twelve months later, our best sportsbooks expect Golden State to end Sacramento's season on the first night of the play-in tournament.

This team seemingly has the upside to make some noise in April and May, but the Kings haven't been the same since losing third-leading scorer Malik Monk (15.4 PPG) - losing five of their final seven games to fall into the play-in tournament. And it doesn't look like he'll be coming back anytime soon.

Even when Monk was healthy, Sacramento's offense regressed in a big way from last year's record-setting group. Any team with De'Aaron Fox and Domantas Sabonis can threaten across a seven-game series, but this team doesn't look like a major threat to win it all.

Best odds: +30000 via Caesars

5. Golden State Warriors

This might be too low for a team with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, even if they're all 34 or older. Do they have enough left in the tank to make a deep run?

The Warriors were an elite team on the road this season, but the Chase Center wasn't a friendly spot for Steve Kerr's group, which posted an uncharacteristic 21-20 record at home to fall to the 10th spot in the West. All of that said, Golden State still posted a top-10 net rating since the All-Star break (plus-4.4) to stay alive in the Western Conference.

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It's hard to bet against the pedigree of this group, and I could see the Warriors stunning the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round. I'd still rather put my money on the four teams above Golden State on this list to make an extended run.

Best odds: +8500 via FanDuel

4. Miami Heat

No matter how many times Miami pulls off the same regular-season routine, our best sports betting apps continue to doubt Erik Spoelstra in the postseason. And it feels like history is repeating itself.

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Former Heat players have openly admitted that Spoelstra and Co., use the regular season as a training ground for the playoffs, and the results speak for themselves. Yet Miami routinely finds itself as a big underdog in the playoffs and a long shot to win it all.

This year's team isn't special by any advanced metrics, but I've seen enough over the years to place a wager on this group ahead of the play-in tournament. As long as Jimmy Butler is healthy, this team will be a tough out in the postseason.

Best odds: +4200 via FanDuel

3. Philadelphia 76ers

Most lists are going to have the 76ers as the best team in the play-in tournament. The betting market certainly agrees with that, as Philadelphia is trading at 20/1 or shorter to win it all across all of our best live betting sites.

That sounds great in theory. In reality? I don't trust that Joel Embiid is healthy - or that he'll stay that way into the postseason - and I don't trust that this team can adapt on the fly and win multiple playoff series after Embiid played just five games since the start of February.

Yes, Philadelphia posted a 31-8 record with Embiid on the court this season. The upside is immense, hence this team's ranking on this list. The downside is also tremendous, and I'd rather bet either of the two teams above the Sixers.

Best odds: +2000 via bet365

2. Los Angeles Lakers

It's been an up-and-down season for the Lakers, who ranked as high as fourth and as low as 11th in the Western Conference standings and narrowly escaped the bottom two spots in the play-in tournament.

This has been a different team since Feb. 1, when Jarred Vanderbilt's injury forced Rui Hachimura into the starting lineup. Since then, Los Angeles has gone 23-10 with the NBA's third-best offensive rating (118.4), while superstar Anthony Davis has assumed a larger role on both ends of the court.

A win Tuesday would set up a first-round date with the Denver Nuggets in a rematch of last year's Western Conference Finals. That certainly isn't ideal. Still, this team has as good of a shot as any in the play-in field to make a deep run.

Best odds: +3500 via BetMGM

1. New Orleans Pelicans

A late-season swoon with Brandon Ingram (knee) sidelined seems to have thrown bettors off the scent for one of the West's best teams. But New Orleans is absolutely capable of making some noise in this year's NBA playoffs.

Entering Tuesday's games, the Pelicans rank sixth in the entire league in net rating (plus-4.6) with an offense that ranks just outside the top 10 and a defense knocking on the door of the top five.

They also feature two elite scorers in Zion Williamson and Ingram; high-end secondary scorers in CJ McCollum and Trey Murphy; an elite perimeter defender in Herb Jones; and a physical threat down low in Jonas Valanciunas.

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It seems the only thing this team lacks is experience, which will always plague those new to the contending scene. Still, on paper, this is the most dangerous team in the play-in field and one that shouldn't be taken lightly ahead of the NBA playoffs.

Best odds: +8000 via Caesars

NBA Play-In Tournament picks

Odds to make the NBA playoffs

(Odds via DraftKings as of Monday, April 15)

TeamTo make playoffsTo miss playoffs
Philadelphia 76ers-1400+800
Los Angeles Lakers-600+425
Miami Heat-550+390
New Orleans Pelicans-500+360
Golden State Warriors+320-425
Sacramento Kings+425-600
Chicago Bulls+475-700
Atlanta Hawks+600-900

NBA championship odds 2024

Celtics+160 +165+180 +165+160
Nuggets+280 +300 +300 +265 +300
Clippers+1200+1400 +1200+1500 +1100 
Bucks+1400+1400 +1300+1900 +1200
Thunder+1600+1600 +1600+1600   +1200
Mavericks+1600+1700+1800   +1200   +1200
Suns+1900 +1900 +2000 +1800 +1800 
76ers+1900 +1600 +1800 +1900 +2000 
Timberwolves+2500 +1900 +2000 +2000 +1800 
Lakers+3000 +3300 +3500+2500 +3000 

NBA Play-In Tournament schedule

DateMatchupOdds (DraftKings)
April 16Lakers vs. PelicansPelicans -1
April 16Warriors vs. KingsWarriors -2.5
April 17Heat vs. 76ers76ers -4.5
April 17Hawks vs. BullsBulls -3
April 19East 7/8 loser vs. East 9/10 winner
April 19West 7/8 loser vs. West 9/10 winner

What is the NBA Play-In Tournament?

The NBA Play-In Tournament determines the final two seeds from each conference in the NBA playoffs, as only the top six seeds are guaranteed a spot. In the past, the top eight seeds were guaranteed a spot, but now the teams that rank ninth or 10th in the standings can play their way into the playoffs. 

NBA Play-In Tournament format

The ninth and 10th seeds will face off, with the winner of that game having the opportunity to steal the eighth seed from the loser of the game featuring the seventh and eighth seed.

You need to win only one game to make the playoffs if you finish the regular season as the seventh or eighth seed. For a team to qualify for the playoffs if it finishes ninth or 10th in its respective conference, two games must be won. 

NBA betting odds pages

Here are our best NBA betting sites

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