NBA

NBA Betting Guide for Tuesday 4/12/22: Picks for Day 1 of the Play-In Tournament

The NBA playoffs are here! The high-stakes drama in a gauntlet of best-of-seven series returns for another year, and it starts with the play-in tournament to decide the final two spots in each conference.

Betting on the NBA can be tricky, but you can rely on numberFire to help. We have a detailed betting algorithm that projects out games to see how often certain betting lines hit. You can also track spread bet percentages at FanDuel Sportsbook.

Where do our algorithm, our power rankings, and the betting trends identify value in tonight's games? All odds are from FanDuel Sportsbook, and all ratings are out of five stars.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets

Cavaliers (+8.5) - 4 Stars
Under 228.5 - 2 Stars

Our model loves the Cleveland Cavaliers traveling to Brooklyn.

With stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the Nets are a public favorite to advance in this spot as a preseason title favorite. The Nets' bumpy road has been well-documented, but they have been playing better recently. Brooklyn has the fifth-best net rating (+6.3) in the NBA since March 1st.

Even with that, the Nets aren't blowing teams out of the water. Five of their last eight games have been decided by 11 points or fewer. Therefore, this is a massive spread in a winner-take-all game where both teams will be at maximum effort.

Our model believes the Cavs cover the 8.5-point spread a whopping 68.7% of the time. Overall, I concur with that. Cleveland is just 21st in net rating (-3.4) since March 1st, but a chunk of it was without star rookie Evan Mobley, who is back in a full-time role.

As for the total, these two teams averaged 220.7 total points across three regular-season contests, and both have actually averaged a sub-100.0 pace (i.e. estimated possessions) since March 1st. As those possessions become more valuable in this game, those possessions should get even longer.

Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves

Clippers ML (+130) - 0 Stars
Over 230.0 - 0 Stars

Our model doesn't place a ton of weight on very recent data, so it's no surprise it's low on the Los Angeles Clippers in this spot.

The Clippers just got Paul George back on March 29th. Since then, they're 6-1 overall and 5-2 against the spread (ATS) because George has been a monster. George's +33.9 net rating in April is the best in the league among qualifying players.

They also just Norman Powell back on April 6th. Los Angeles' net rating with those two on the floor together is +58.3, meaning they're winning each 100 possessions by 58.3 points. That's pretty decent, I'd say.

The Timberwolves are no slouch, though. Since March 1st, they have had a +7.4 net rating (third-best in the NBA). I'd anticipate they'll eventually make the playoffs, but this pick is much more about the Clippers playing like a dominant title contender since PG13 returned. I'll have a unit on the Clips.

The over -- even at a gaudy 230.0 -- also seems like a decent bet. These two teams have two of the top-seven offensive ratings in April (accounting for the Clippers' small relevant sample).

Our model makes no pick on the total, but with a tight 3.5-point spread and two top-15 squads in terms of pace, there are plenty of paths to a high-scoring affair between two of the league's best offenses at present.