The play-in tournament has arrived with two mouthwatering games set to kick-start the most entertaining period of the NBA season.
With the Hawks taking on the Heat and the Timberwolves travelling to LA, BetDeluxe looks at both games and delivers the best bets.
Heat vs. Hawks
12th April 9:30am
The Miami Heat will enter their play-in matchup against the Atlanta Hawks as $1.46 favourites with BetDeluxe following a string of impressive performances over the past two weeks.
Their most recent outing – a 123-11 victory over Orlando – was nothing more than a tune-up for their role players, with Jimmy Butler sitting it out alongside Tyler Herro and Bam Adebayo. It made it four wins from their past five as they entered the post-regular season.
Butler starred for the Heat once again this year with 22.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, 5.3 assists and almost two steals per game. Alongside Bam’s 20.6 ppg and Herro’s 20.3, the Heat boasts three genuine scoring threats capable of putting up big numbers.
On the other side of the floor, the Hawks had the most brutal schedule heading into the play-in tournament, with losses to Philadelphia and Boston. They, too, took the opportunity to rest their best player, with Trae Young watching on as they got critical minutes into fringe players Garrison Mathews and Bruno Fernando.
Young has been a beast running the point this season, with 26.2 points and 10.2 assists. Dejounte Murray also missed the season finale due to ankle soreness but will be suitable to take his place and build on the 20.5ppg, 6.1apg and 1.5 steals.
With three wins over the Hawks this season and an enviable 27-14 home record, expect the Heat to live up to market expectations in this one.
Suggested Bet: Heat to win @ $1.49
Lakers vs. Timberwolves
12th April 12:00PM
It’s the dream result for the NBA and its fans, with the LA Lakers earning their play-in spot against the Timberwolves with nine wins from their past 11 games.
The in-form Lakers rubber-stamped their position with a 128-117 win over the Jazz, with LeBron James leading the charge and dropping a 36-6-6 stat line. Anthony Davis continued his red-hot form since the All-Star break with 16 points and 13 boards.
These two sides last met over a week ago, and the Lakers ran out comfortable 123-111 winners on that occasion.
While the market has the Wolves as $3.05 outsiders, they do have the talent to push the Lakers, with Anthony Edwards and Karl Anthony-Towns dropping 56 between them in their latest outing against the Pelicans.
The talking point in Minnesota revolves around the availability of Ruby Gobert, who was removed from the game against the Pels after striking his teammate, Kyle Anderson, during a time-out. While that incident didn’t play well in the public eye, nor did Jaden McDaniels, who fractured his hand punching a wall.
Heading into their most crucial game of the season, there’s no room for in-house fighting, and the form Lakers should take advantage and come out victorious in this one.
Suggested Bet: Lakers (-6.5) @ $1.86