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Burning or Busting? Play-In Teams on Fire (and Fading) According to Odds

The 2023-24 NBA regular season is in the books. And as the Play-In Tournament starts tonight, we look at the NBA title odds board to see which teams have lines reflecting their recent play. If momentum counts for anything, our NBA expert picks highlight the teams with increased or decreased chances of making deep playoff runs.


Burning or Busting? Play-In Teams on Fire (and Fading) According to Odds
Neemias Queta #88 of the Boston Celtics | Brian Fluharty/Getty Images/AFP

The Hottest Teams Heading to the 2024 NBA Playoffs

Oklahoma City Thunder (+1400)

Few teams are hotter than the Thunder right now. They have won five straight games and have blowout victories over Milwaukee, Phoenix, and Dallas (albeit without its starters). And with superstar Shai-Gilgeous Alexander’s return from injury, OKC has looked the part of a new title threat. The Thunder are 55-20 when the MVP contender plays.

Their NBA lines at 14-1 could be a discount if this team fulfills its potential. Naysayers may point out their inexperience as a potential pitfall. But the Thunder are also younger and hungrier than the old teams they will likely encounter. There are far worse NBA predictions, so now may be the time to back these youngsters.


Boston Celtics (+160)

Congratulations to folks who bet Boston at +500 or longer on early NBA championship odds. At +160, the Celtics are a tier above the rest. But is this finally the year they do it? Boston has consistently and notoriously fallen short in recent seasons. Adding Jrue Holiday, who won a title with Milwaukee in 2021, and star big man Kristaps Porzingis has made them better.

We’d discount the losses to Milwaukee and New York in these final few games because Boston clinched the top spot a while back. Boston is 19-9 against the other top-eight playoff teams in the conference. And overall, it is 34-15 against teams at .500 or better, which is the best mark in the league.


Philadelphia 76ers (+2000)

Speaking of MVPs, Joel Embiid’s return to Philadelphia has made it an intriguing contender. Philadelphia is 31-8 when the reigning MVP plays. This winning rate puts them at 65-17 in an 82-game schedule, a top team in the NBA. The team is currently in the Play-In Tournament, which complicates online sports betting lines.

Philadelphia will need to beat Miami in the Play-In game. Otherwise, it could be a brutal road to the NBA Finals. Still, no team would like to play the Sixers with Embiid back in the lineup. He’s averaged 33 points, 12 rebounds, and 5.3 assists while hitting 55.6% of his 3s. This team could go on an “underdog” run.


Teams Struggling into the Playoffs

Milwaukee Bucks (+1400)

While the Celtics and 76ers are hot, the Bucks are not. This team has fallen so far since opening the season tied with Boston on the title odds. Milwaukee is 3-7 in its last 10 games with a net rating of -4.2. Sure, it beat Boston and Orlando. But it’s evident this team still has an identity crisis.

Other than looking like a bad NBA title bet, we also can’t recommend Milwaukee per NBA 2nd half lines. The Bucks continue to collapse late in games. Milwaukee is 19th in the NBA with a -2.1 net rating in the second half since the All-Star break. And with Doc Rivers, an infamous playoff choker, Milwaukee is harder to support.


L.A. Clippers (+1200)

The Clippers are cursed and will always be. We never bought into this team even when it looked like the best team for a few months in the season. Los Angeles is 15-14 after the All-Star break and is ranked 14th or worse in many major metrics. And of course, it has injuries with Kawhi Leonard and James Harden listed on the injury report.

Leonard and George have not played a full playoff series together since the 2020 NBA Bubble. Also, the Clippers are only 27-26 against teams at .500 or better. This is the third-worst mark among the top eight seeds in the West. So even at 11-1 odds, we’ll consider L.A. overpriced. Avoid betting here.


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Questions Of The Day

Which NBA teams have the best odds to win the 2024 title?

At 14-1, the Thunder may be a sharp bet to win the NBA title. At the least, they can make a deep playoff run.

Can the Nuggets win the NBA title again in 2024?

Denver is listed at +300 to repeat as champion. This is the shortest line in the Western Conference.

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