NBA Finals Play-in Tournament Structure

  • The Golden State Warriors have +105 odds to make the NBA Playoffs.
  • The Washington Wizards have +150 odds to make the playoffs.
  • The NBA Play In Tournament will have the 7-10 seeds battle for a playoff spot.

NEW YORK – The NBA is gearing towards the end of the regular season and the standings are starting to heat up as teams battle for playoff seeding.

What makes this season all the more interesting from a sports betting standpoint is that the final two spots in the playoffs will be decided by the NBA Play In Tournament.

The play in tournament changes everything, as now a 10th seed team could get hot at the right time and sneak into the playoffs. This has an impact on NBA betting as a whole, as the options for longshot betting are larger this deep into the season.

NBA Play In Structure

The way the play in tournament works is that the teams in the 7 and 8 seeds will face off against each other, with the winner becoming the 7 seed and the loser forced to play another play in-game.

Meanwhile, the 9 and 10 seeds will go head-to-head. The loser of this game will be eliminated, and the winner will move on to face the loser of the 7 and 8 seed game.

Whoever wins the final game between the loser of the 7 and 8 seed and the winner of the 9 and 10 seed will then claim the final playoff spot.

Because of the way the NBA Play In is set up, teams who find themselves in the 10 seed have a chance to make the playoffs. This opens up NBA betting odds, as teams who normally have long or impossible odds to make the playoffs start getting action at online sportsbooks.

Odds To Make The 2020-21 Playoffs

  • Memphis Grizzlies+180
  • Indiana Pacers+250
  • Golden State Warriors-115
  • San Antonio Spurs+350
  • Washington Wizards+150
  • Toronto Raptors+3500
  • New Orleans Pelicans+5500

Looking at this betting line, a team like the Washington Wizards having +150 odds to make the playoffs simply would not be a thing last season.

The Wizards currently sit at the 10 seed in the east and have a 31 and 36 record on the season. But they are 7-3 in their last 10, have beaten big teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, the Indiana Pacers, and the Utah Jazz in recent games, and have seen hot streaks from both star guards Russell Westbrook and Bradley Beal.

Sports betting fans are looking at how the team has been trending in a positive direction and catching fire at the right moment. This can lead to them winning the two games needed in the Play In Tournament and sneaking into the playoffs.

This brings an entirely new element into NBA betting and completely changes how sports bettors approach taking teams to make the playoffs. Now a team like the Charlotte Hornets who are the 8 seed has longer odds at +165 than 10 seed Wizards.

NBA Play In Compared To The NFL Wild Card

This play in structure is not exclusive to the NBA. The NFL has had Wild Card Weekend as a part of the postseason structure for years.

The way this system works is that following the top team in each division making the playoffs automatically, two of the second-place teams in each conference with the next best record will battle for the remaining playoff spots.

The Wild Card Game is a big deal in the for-longshot NFL betting fans as a team who struggled early on in the season, whether it be due to injury or strength of schedule, will now have a chance to make the playoffs and go on a postseason run.

During the 2019-2020 NFL season, the Tennessee Titans managed to win their Wild Card Game against the New England Patriots. They then went on to beat the Number 1 seed in the AFC Baltimore Ravens and make it to the AFC Championship game.

Every year, underdog betting fans have cashed in big taking a lowly team to make it far in the postseason thanks to the Wild Card structure, and now the NBA has its own version.

Longshot Betting Increases

A major impact that comes from the play-in structure is the increase in NBA Finals betting options late in the season. Since there are now 10 teams in the postseason technically, longshot betting fans have even more ways to play big.

Looking at the odds of teams to make the finals like the Indiana Pacers (+25000), the Washington Wizards (+15000), The Memphis Grizzlies (+30000), and the San Antonio Spurs (+40000) can all be claimed whereas, in other seasons, these teams would be removed due to not clinching an 8 seed in the conference.

Should one of these longshot teams manage to pull the upset, go on a historic run, and claim the NBA Finals, underdog betting fans would cash in bigger than ever before on longshot odds.

The NBA Play In Tournament completely changes the legal sports betting landscape for NBA betting fans. The upcoming tournament will surely see a lot of action being placed at online sportsbooks.

The NBA Play In Tournament will begin on May 18 and run through May 21. The NBA Playoffs will start on May 22.

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