NBA Perfect Ten (Week of April 16th)-Play-in Edition

The Play-In Round begins tonight in the Western Conference as the NBA Playoffs kick off with four teams in each conference vying to get into the final field of eight in each conference. Let’s take a look at the matchups and possibilities:

(odds from Draft Kings)

Perfect Ten (Week of April 16th)

Eastern Conference Play-In Tournament

  • #8 Miami Heat at #7 Philadelphia 76ers (Philly -4.5)

  • #10 Atlanta Hawks at #9 Chicago Bulls (Chicago -3.5)

The likely winners of the Play-In Tournament are the Heat and 76ers but nothing is guaranteed. In terms of urgency, the Sixers are the team that wants to win and move on the quickest given the injury status of Joel Embiid. The Heat have the experience from last season at their disposal, losing their opening game but bouncing back to winning the final game of the Play-In and rolling to the NBA Finals as an eighth-seed.

The Hawks look like the wildcard to me in the Play-In Tournament. They are a perfect 3-0 in the Play-In Tournament with three consecutive appearances. This is the first time they’ll need to win two games to advance but they have the offense, ranked fifth in the NBA in scoring, and a dangerous backcourt in Dejounte Murray and Trae Young, who appears to be healthy and ready to go. The Bulls look like the least dangerous team of the four with injuries that have made them less athletic and less effective on the defensive end.

Western Conference Play-In Tournament

  • #8 LA Lakers at #7 New Orleans Pelicans (NO -1)

  • #10 Golden State Warriors at #9 Sacramento Kings (GS -2.5)

The two veteran road teams look like the likely winners in the opening round of the Play-In Tournament of the Western Conference. The Lakers, like the 76ers in the East, will feel the urgency to win their first game of the Play-In and move on and avoid having LeBron James or even Anthony Davis having to play extra games. The Pelicans are a wildcard team, they have the talent but can they find the consistency in the playoffs to move on from the Play-In Tournament?

The 10th-seeded Golden State Warriors have proven to be road warriors this season and won’t have any issues playing at Sacramento in round one and in either LA or New Orleans in round two. Golden State fans will likely root for the Lakers to defeat the Pelicans in the opener since the Lakers’ size causes the Warriors fits. The Kings’ poor finish to the regular season makes them look like much less of a threat in the Play-In Tournament.

Game of the Week, Season Record 12-10: OKC’s win over the Bucks pushed us to 2 games over .500 on the season as we enter the playoffs.

Orlando at Cleveland on Saturday

I don’t like the way the Cavs closed out the season. I’m not confident that they can just turn it on in the playoffs. The Magic are playing with house money at this point after getting back to the playoffs with this young roster that is likely a couple of years away. I like Orlando to pull off an upset in the opener against the Cavs.

  • All odds Courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.