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NBA Play-In Betting Trends: Bet Under, Fade 10 Seeds

We are heading to the fourth NBA Play-In Tournament. Since 2021, the league introduced a Page-McIntyre system to determine the final two playoff teams between those who finished from seventh to 10th in the conference standings. There have been mixed results and no shortage of NBA news and rumors accompanying these games. Digging into the stats, we’ll examine what to expect from a betting perspective with this season’s tourney.

How Does the Play-In Tournament Work Again?

The play-in tournament consists of three games from each conference for a total of six. The first pair of games pit the seventh and eighth seeds against each other while the ninth and 10th seeds face off. The higher seeds host the game and are thus usually favorites per the NBA betting odds.

NBA Play-In Betting Trends: Bet Under, Fade 10 Seeds
Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Anthony Davis #3 of the Los Angeles Lakers | Tyler Kaufman/Getty Images/AFP

The winner of the 7 vs 8 game moves on to the playoffs to become the seventh seed while the loser faces the winner of 9 vs 10. The 9-10 loser is eliminated. The winner of this third matchup then moves on to the NBA playoffs as the eighth seed.

Miami nearly became the first play-in team to win the NBA title as it made it to the NBA Finals last season.

NBA Play-In Tourney By the Numbers

Zero 10-Seeds Have Made the Playoffs

No 10th-seeded team has advanced to the playoffs. Overall, 10th-seeded teams are 2-6 in the Play-In Tournament. Both Oklahoma City and Chicago won in 2023 only to lose the battle of the No. 8 seed.

This year, the No. 10 seeds are Atlanta and Golden State. The Hawks are +130 at Chicago while the Warriors are favored at -140 at Sacramento. Golden State is the first 10-seed lined as a favorite per the online sports betting lines. Atlanta is a perfect 3-0 on both moneyline and point spread in play-in games.

Totals Have Gone Under in 13 of the 18 Games

Over 72% of the play-in games have gone under their totals, which includes five of last season’s six games. The last four losers of the No. 8 seed game have each been held to under 100 points. All three of Atlanta’s games have gone under the total.

Underdogs are 5-13 Straight-Up

Underdogs have been tough to make an NBA pick in the Play-In Tournament. The 5-13 record roughly means that over one in every four underdogs prevail. Atlanta is responsible for two of these victories as it upset Cleveland in the No. 8-seed game in 2022 and then took out Miami last season.

Home Teams are 12-6 on the Moneyline

On average, two out of every three home teams win their play-in games. Specifically, home teams are 9-3 in the first portion of the play-in games (7 vs 8 and 9 vs 10) but just 3-3 when it comes to deciding the No. 8 seed. Last season, only one of the four home teams won their play-in games during the first matchups and it did it in overtime (the Lakers beat Minnesota).


Half of No. 9 Seeds Make the Playoffs

While the 10 seeds strike out and don’t make the playoffs, the No. 9 seeds are getting in half the time. In 2021, Memphis beat San Antonio and upset Golden State to become the eighth seed. And the following year, both ninth-seeded New Orleans and Atlanta made it in. The Pelicans beat the Spurs before taking out the Clippers to advance while Atlanta blew out Charlotte and edged Cleveland.



Questions of the Day

Can an NBA play-in team win the NBA title?

Miami proved last season that play-in teams are not to be underestimated. We’ll just have to wait for NBA basketball updates to see how this season’s play-in teams fare.

Which player will score the most points during the NBA Play-In tourney?

Hawks guard Trae Young is averaging 29 points in three play-in games. He’s a good bet online to score the most points.

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