NBA betting guide for the final day of the regular season; Odds, playoff scenarios and advice

Betting odds, playoff scenarios and advice for Sunday, April 14th; the final day of the NBA regular season.

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Apr 10, 2024; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA; Orlando Magic guard Cole Anthony (50) drives past Milwaukee Bucks forward Jae Crowder (99) in the fourth quarter at Fiserv Forum. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Betting the final day of the NBA regular season can be extremely risky. Obviously multiple teams need to win in order to clinch playoff berths, but the market tends to overvalue those teams. Today, nine teams with the need to win are facing an opponent with nothing to play for. Those nine teams are laying an average of 14.8 points.

Just because a team needs to win does not mean it will cover, especially when the market has factored in that need to such an extent. Bettors need to look no further than Friday night, when Denver went to San Antonio and lost a must-win contest as an 11.5-point favorite.

 

It might be tempting to come in and lay some of these massive numbers, but the reality is that there is no value in doing so. Instead, look to wager on some of these favorites in-game today. Friday’s results give us multiple examples of this.

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New York closed as an 11.5-point favorite over Brooklyn, but trailed by double-digits at halftime. The Knicks would go on to win the game, but they failed to cover the pre-flop number. Cheaper in-game numbers on New York were available deep into that contest.

Minnesota and Los Angeles – two teams that needed wins in order to be in a position today to achieve the best seed possible – both failed to cover as 12-point and 16-point favorites respectively on Friday.

It might seem counterintuitive, but the value on days like today are almost exclusively on the teams which have nothing at stake. This is why on a day like today I tend to sit on the sidelines and bet exclusively in-game. The opportunities that will arise when every team is in action are numerous.

With that in mind, below you will find a game-by-game breakdown of the playoff scenarios, and what is at stake in each contest.

Playoff Scenarios

Brooklyn Nets at Philadelphia 76ers (-14.5, 212.5)

Philadelphia can finish as high as the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference. For that to happen, the 76ers would need a win here today, coupled with a loss by the Pacers. If Indiana wins and Orlando loses, then Philadelphia can finish sixth with a victory over Brooklyn.

Toronto Raptors at Miami Heat (-16, 222)

Miami is more than likely finishing as the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. However, where the Heat end up ties directly into the result of the Magic’s finale against the Bucks. Should Orlando lose and Miami win, then it would be the Heat who win the Southwest Division. If that scenario plays out, then a loss by either the Pacers or 76ers bumps the Heat up to sixth. If both lose then Miami can finish fifth. The Heat can also win the division, but also still participate in the play-in should neither Indiana or Philadelphia lose.

Charlotte Hornets at Cleveland Cavaliers (-15.5, 206.5)

Cleveland does not control its destiny in regards to its final seed. Thus, the Cavaliers are resting Caris LeVert and Donovan Mitchell, and Darius Garland is doubtful to play. Cleveland can still finish second with a win and losses by New York and Milwaukee. Third is also on the table with a win coupled with a loss by the Bucks and a win by the Knicks. More than likely, the Cavaliers will be the fourth seed.

Chicago Bulls at New York Knicks (-15.5, 214.5)

New York does not control its destiny either, but it still can finish second. The Knicks need to win today and hope for a Bucks loss to the Magic. New York can also finish as low as fourth with a loss and wins by both Milwaukee and Cleveland. The most likely scenario – considering the Bucks are underdogs in Orlando against the Magic today – would be the Knicks grabbing that second seed.

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics (-9.5, 223.5)

Boston has nothing to play for with the top seed in the Eastern Conference and homecourt advantage through the NBA Finals secured.

Milwaukee Bucks at Orlando Magic (-5, 214.5)

This contest is the table-setter in the Eastern Conference, as the result of this game will determine almost everything when it comes to seeding. Milwaukee wins and it grabs the second seed. Orlando wins, it will be a playoff team, but its final seed will be determined by the results of both Philadelphia and Indiana. 

If the Bucks lose this game they can finish as low as fourth if both the Knicks and Cavaliers win. They can also finish third with a loss and wins by New York and Cleveland, or a loss coupled with a Knicks loss and a Cavaliers win.

In the event of a loss by Orlando the result of Miami and Toronto becomes very important. A Magic loss and a Heat win will make Miami the Southeast Division champion. That would mean the Heat finish in front of the Magic, and Orlando would be a play-in participant. The Magic can also finish sixth with a win if the Pacers lose and the 76ers win.

Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers (-12.5, 235.5)

Indiana simply needs to win to clinch a spot in the playoffs as the sixth seed. Should the Pacers win and the Magic lose, they will finish fifth. A loss by Indiana with a loss by Orlando and a Miami win will knock them down to the play-in tournament.

Houston Rockets (-2.5, 220) at Los Angeles Clippers

Los Angeles is locked into the fourth seed and will face the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the postseason.

Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors (-8, 222.5)

Golden State can climb out of the bottom bracket of the Western Conference play-in with a win and losses by Los Angeles and Sacramento. 

Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder (-16.5, 226)

Oklahoma City can win the top seed in the Western Conference if all three teams at the top achieve the same results today. In other words, wins by the Thunder, Nuggets and Timberwolves give Oklahoma City the one seed. Losses by all three would result in the same outcome. The Thunder can fall to second with a victory, but that would only happen should the Nuggets lose and the Timberwolves win.

Phoenix Suns at Minnesota Timberwolves (-4.5, 217.5)

Minnesota can win the top seed in the Western Conference with a win over Phoenix and loss from Denver to Memphis. The Timberwolves finish second if they – along with the Thunder and Nuggets – win. Minnesota finishes third if it loses and both Denver and Oklahoma City win.

Denver Nuggets (-14, 220) at Memphis Grizzlies

Denver must win and have both Oklahoma City and Minnesota lose to win the top seed in the Western Conference. If finishes third with victories by all three teams, and it finishes second should both it and Oklahoma City win but Minnesota loses to Phoenix.

Portland Trail Blazers at Sacramento Kings (-16.5, 212)

Sacramento holds the tiebreakers over both Los Angeles and Golden State, but it is a loss behind Los Angeles. The Kings need a win and a Lakers loss to jump out of the bottom play-in bracket. Sacramento is obviously a massive favorite today, so the only result that matters for it is the contest in New Orleans.

Los Angeles Lakers at New Orleans Pelicans (-3.5, 228)

New Orleans needs to win this game in order to clinch a playoff berth. The Pelicans do not have the tiebreaker with the Suns, so a loss and a win by Phoenix puts New Orleans in the play-in. Los Angeles can clinch at least the eighth seed with a win here.