2023 NBA Play-In Tournament: NBA Playoffs: Money Line, Spreads, and NBA Championship Odds.

Twitter: @GGirlSports

 Tonight, begins the second night of the NBA Play-In Tournament. For the Eastern Conference, the 10th Seed, Chicago Bulls (40-42, 18-23 Away) will face the 9th Seed Toronto Raptors (41-41, 27-14 Home). These two teams play tonight at 7:00 PM EDT at Scotiabank Arena, located in Toronto, Ontario. If you are looking to watch this game, the matchup will air on ESPN.

For the Western Conference, the 10th Seed Oklahoma City Thunder (40-42, 16-25 Away) will face the 9th seed New Orleans Pelicans (42-40, 27-14 Home). The two teams play tonight at 9:30 PM EDT at Smoothie King Center, located in New Orleans, Louisiana. In addition, the matchup will air on ESPN. If you are looking for the best betting odds for the NBA Championship, here is information to know:

NBA Championship Odds:

Chicago Bulls: +100000

Toronto Raptors: +50000

Oklahoma City Thunder: +100000

New Orleans Pelicans: +60000

Play-In Tournament Odds.

Bulls vs. Raptors

Bulls: +195
Raptors: -230
Spread: Bulls +6, Raptors -6
Over/Under: 212.5

Thunder vs. Pelicans

Thunder: +185
Pelicans: -215
Spread: Thunder +5.5 Pelicans -5.5
Over/Under: 227

Team Recaps

Chicago Bulls

 The Chicago Bulls have 6 NBA Championships in 37 Playoff Appearances, and their last Champion was won in 1998. Last season, the Bulls finished as the 6th Seed and lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference First-Round. The Bulls rank 22nd in Points Per Game (113.1), 20th in Assists Per Game (24.5), 22nd in Rebounds Per Game (42.4), 16th in Three-Point Shooting Percentage, and 7th in Opponent Points Per Game (111.8).

Chicago had a rough start to the season, sitting at 16-20 on New Year’s Day. Even worse, they lost their star Point Guard Lonzo Ball for the entire season due to a Knee Injury. It’s important to note Ball hasn’t played a game since January of 2022. Given Lonzo Ball was a vital part of the offensive and defense, Alex Caruso and Ayo Dosunmu have not been able to replace him at the point. Also, The Bulls signed Veteran Point Guard Patrick Beverly in late February to get some depth at the guard position. Although Chicago didn’t make any trades during the NBA Trade Deadline, they finished 14-9 since the All- Star break. Stars DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine were relatively healthy this season, both leading this Bulls team in offense. Overall, this team has performed under .500, and defense remains the top strength of this team.


 Defense and limited turnovers.

 Although the Bulls aren’t in the top ranks in terms of scoring, they rank 4th in Field Goal Percentage at 49 Percent. In addition, they rank 5th in Free-Throw Percentage (80.9), and they have a low turnover rate (12.7). One could argue one of Chicago’s biggest strengths is their defense. Since the start of the NBA Season, the Bulls had the best Defensive Rating in the League (110.3). In addition, they rank 7th in Opponent Points-Per Game (111.8), 7th in Steals (7.9), and 6th in Opponent Free Throw Attempts (22).

Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vučević have been the Bulls Primary Offensive Weapons. LaVine has carried the way, averaging 24.8 Points-Per-Game, 4.2 Assists, 4.5 Rebounds, shooting 37.5 percent from the Three, and 48.5 Percent from the Field. DeMar DeRozan averages 24.5 Points-Per Game, 5.1 Assists, 4.6 Rebounds, and is shooting 50 Percent from the Field, and 32.4 Percent from the Three. Center Nikola Vučević is averaging 17.6 Points-Per-Game, 11 Rebounds, and is shooting 52 Percent from the Field, and 34.9 Percent from the Three.

The Bulls Bench has been a big strength in terms of defense. Although LaVine, DeRozan, and Vučević carry this team offensively, it’s the role players that make this team elite on the defensive end. Veteran Patrick Beverly has always been a defensive minded guard and has 10 steals in the last 5 games. In addition, guard Alex Caruso is a defensive guard that averages 1.5 steals per game and has 8 blocks in his last 5 games. Patrick Williams is another key asset for this Bulls Defense. Williams averages 1.1 Steals-Per-Game, and 1.3 Blocks per Game. In addition, he’s had 8 Blocks, and 6 Steals in his last 5 games. Ayo Dosunmu, Coby White, Derrick Jones Jr., and Andre Drummond have contributed to this elite defense. The Bulls are very much a force on the defensive glass, decent against Perimeter Shots, and an aggressive team defensively.


Rebounding and Scoring.

 Although the Bulls play tough defense, and allow only 111.8 Opponent Points Per Game, there are some flaws. Vučević is a player that can score and grab rebounds below. However, he’s only averaging less than 1 block per game, and Chicago ranks 19th in Blocks-Per-Game (4.5). Also, the Bulls are not the most efficient team on the offensive end. They rank 16th in Three-Point Shooting (36.1 Percent), 25th in Free-Throw Attempts (21.8), and rank last in the league in Three-Points-Made (10.4 Per Game). Although Vučević has Andre Drummond to back him up, the Bulls rank 22nd in Rebounds Per Game at 42.5.

Key Stats

Zach LaVine averages 23.5 Points Per Game, 1.5 Steals, 4.0 Assists, and 2.5 Rebounds game against the Raptors this year. LaVine is shooting 88.9 Percent from the Free-Throw Line, 38.5 Percent from the Three, and 53.1 Percent from the field in his 2 games against the Raptors.

DeMar DeRozan is averaging ONLY 14 Points Per Game, 1 Steal, and 3.7 Assists in his three games against Toronto. In addition, he’s shooting 82.4 Percent from the Free-Throw Line, 0 Percent from the Three, and 53.8 Percent from the field.

Nikola Vučević averages 18.7 Points Per Game, 1 Block, and 10 Rebounds against the Raptors this year. Also, he’s shooting an impressive 46.7 Percent from the Three, and 58.5 Percent from the Field.

Toronto Raptors

 The Toronto Raptors have total of 1 NBA Championship in 14 appearances. They are coming off a loss to the Philadelphia 76ers in last year’s First-Round NBA Playoffs. Stat wise, Toronto ranks 24th in Points Per Game (112.9), 23rd in Assists Per Game (23.9), 18th in Rebounds Per Game (43), and 26th in Three Point Percentage (33.5). Like Chicago, Toronto doesn’t allow teams to score many points. They rank 4th in Opponent Points Per Game (111.4). Although this team finished 5th in the Atlantic Division, they were able to finish .500 at 41-41.

By New Years Day, the Raptors were a .500 team at 16-20. By the NBA Trade Deadline, Toronto received Big Man Jakob Poeltl, in exchange for Khem Birch, a 2024 first-round pick, 2023 second-round pick, and a 2025 second-round pick. It’s important to note, this is Poeltl’s second stint with Toronto. Since the Raptors made the mid-season trade, they finished 13-10 since the NBA All-Star Break. Also, Toronto is 27-25 against Eastern Conference Teams.


Force Turnovers, Strong Starting 5.

 For the most part, the Raptors have been a mediocre team all season long. Led by Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet, the Raptors take many shots. In fact, the Raptors rank 5th in Field Goal Attempts (91.3). On the defensive side, the Raptors lead the league in Steals (9.4), rank 10th in Blocks (5.2), and lead the league in fewest turnovers (11.2). As mentioned before, Toronto ranks 4th in Opponent Points Per Gamer (111.4), and they force their opponents to commit turnovers. As far as turnovers are concerned, the Raptors rank 2nd in Opponent Turnovers (15.9).

Toronto’s starting five, Fred VanVleet, O.G Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam, and Jakob Poeltl all average points in double-digits. The Raptors have decent depth at the Forward Position, with Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa behind Siakam.  Forward Pascal Siakam is averaging a Career-Highs in Points Per Game with 24.2, and Assists (5.8). In addition, he’s shooting an efficient 48 percent from the Field. Since joining Toronto, Jakob Poeltl is averaging 13.1 Points Per Game, 9.2 Rebounds, and is shooting 65.2 percent from the field.


Defense and Shooting.

There are many weaknesses when it comes to the Toronto Raptors. They do not score many points per game, and rank 24th in Points Per Game (112.9). In addition, they struggle offensively from the Three-Point and the Field Goal Range. In fact, Toronto ranks 27th in Field Goal Percentage (45.9), and 28th in Three-Point Percentage (33.5).
This next stat will confuse many. Although the Raptors are in the top 5 in points allowed, they rank 27th in Field Goal Percentage. Toronto allows opposing teams to shoot 49.1 percent from the Field, and 37.4 percent from the Three, which ranks 28th.

Although Toronto has a strong starting 5, their bench is depleted. Besides Chris Boucher and Precious Achiuwa, there is not much depth. In fact, the Raptors rank second to last in Bench Points Per Game (28.0).  

Key Stats

The Raptors won the regular season series 2-1 against the Chicago Bulls.

Pascal Siakam struggled in his 1 game against Chicago. He averaged 20 Points Per game, 8 Rebounds, and was limited to 20 percent Three Point shooting, and 38.9 Percent from the Field.

Fred VanVleet averaged 20 Points Per Game, 1 Steal, 8 Assists, and 4.7 Rebounds in three games against Chicago. He shot 37.5 percent from the Three, and 38.5 percent from the Field.

Scottie Barnes struggled in his 3 games against the Bulls. He averaged points per game, 5.5 assists, and shooting 21 percent from the three-point.

Oklahoma City Thunder

 The Oklahoma City Thunder have a total of 33 Playoff appearances, and 1 NBA Championship as the Seattle Supersonics. This year was the Thunders first 40-win game since the 2019-2022 season, and they missed the past two playoffs. Although the Thunder struggled the last two seasons, they have a lot of draft capital. In fact, they entered this season with the youngest players of any team (23.14). Although Rookie Center Chet Holmgren missed the entire season, Shai- Gilgeous- Alexander expanded his game.  

The Thunder rank 5th in Points Per Game (117.5), 21st in Assists Per Game (24.4), 14th in Rebounds (43.6), 17th in Three-Point Shooting Percentage, and 19th in Opponent Points Per Game (116.4). Besides Chet Holmgren, the Thunder selected Jalen Williams, from Santa Clara, and Jaylin Williams, out of Arkansas.

Although the Thunder finished 3rd in the Northwest Division, they hovered around .500 the entire season. Oklahoma City was 15-21 by New Years Day and made trades for future draft picks at the trade deadline. They finished 12-13 since the NBA All-Star Break. Bottom line, this is an exciting young team, who has multiple first and second round picks in this year’s draft.


Young Core, Solid Bench, Points Scored/ Free-Throw Percentage, Limit Turnovers.

 The Thunder Team is a very young team with a lot of upsides. They rank 5th in Points Per Game (117.5), and 6th in Field Goal Percentage (80.9). Also, they rank 4th in Steals (8.2), and they limit their turnovers (12.5).

The Backcourt of this team is led by Guards Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey. Gilgeous-Alexander, in his 5th NBA Year, was lights out. He averaged 31.4 Points Per game, (4th in the League), 4.8 Rebounds, 5.5 Assists, and shot 51 Percent from the Field. In addition, he’s a 91 Percent Free-Throw shooter this year, and 41 percent from the field, which is a career high. He is an athletic guard who can facilitate and drive to the basket. Second year Guard, Josh Giddey has been red hot the last 10 games. He’s averaging 20 Points Per Game, 6.4 Assists, 8.4 Rebounds, and is shooting 47.4 percent from the Field. In addition to their young core, the Thunder rank 8th in Bench Points Per Game (37.5), and 5th in Minutes per game. Also, the Thunder can knock down the three, and they average 34.1 Three-point shots a game.


Defensive Rebounding, Inexperience in the Playoffs.

 The Thunder finished well below .500 the last two seasons and are headed into the playoffs with the youngest team in the NBA, thanks to General Manager Sam Presti. In addition to Gilgeous- Alexander and Josh Giddey, Oklahoma City will be starting two rookies, Jalen, and Jaylin Williams. Although the Pelicans are most likely to be without star Zion Williamson, New Orleans has more playoff experience than the Thunder.

Although the Thunder take many shots (2nd in the league with 92.6), they rank towards the bottom of the league in Field Goal Percentage (46.5). Although they rank middle of the pack in rebounding, they struggle grabbing boards defensively. It’s important to note, Oklahoma City ranks last in the league in Opponent Rebounds Per Game (46.6), which includes Defensive and Offensive Rebounds. Although they are young, the Thunder are an intriguing option for bettors.

Key Stats

•The Thunder lost the regular season series 3-1 against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander averaged 33.5 Points Per Game, 2.3 Steals, 4.3 Assists, and 8.0 Rebounds in 4 games against the Pelicans this year. In addition, he shot 45.7 percent from the Field, and 33.3 percent from the Three.

Josh Giddey averaged 15.8 Points Per Game, 7.3 Rebounds, and shot 42.9 percent from the Three in all four games against the Pelicans.

•Rookie Forward Jalen Williams averaged 14.6 Points Per Game and 6 Rebounds in 4 games against the Pelicans.

New Orleans Pelicans

 The New Orleans Pelicans have 0 NBA Championships and 9 NBA Playoff Appearances. They lost the series 4-2 against the Phoenix Suns last season in the First-Round of the NBA Playoffs. Star Forward Zion Williamson has been out a majority of the season, and only played 29 games due to a hamstring injury. According to ESPN, “The Pelicans don’t believe Williamson (Hamstring) is close to returning to game action, Shams Charania of The Athletic reports. The Pelicans rank 15th in Points Per Game (114.4), 11th in Assists (25.9), 13th in Rebounds (43.7), 15th in Three-Point Shooting Percentage, and 9th in Opponent Points Per Game (112.5).

Zions last came on January 2, 2023, against the Philadelphia 76ers. Before that game, the Pelicans were a strong 23-13. New Orleans won 6 games straight in late November, early December, and went on a 5-game win streak at the end of December. The only trade the Pelicans made during the deadline was acquiring Josh Richardson from the Spurs, for Devonte’ Graham, and four second-round picks. After Zion went down with an injury, the Pelicans lost 10 straight in January, and their record since losing him is 19-26. However, Pelicans picked it up at the end of the season, going 7-3 in their last 10 games.  Although Williamson will be out for the series, Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, and Jonas Valanciunas will continue to lead the way for the Pelicans.


Veteran Leadership, Defense.

 With Zion Williamson in the lineup, the Pelicans looked like a scary team. However, that quickly changed when he got injured. Unlike the Thunder, the Pelicans have veteran players that have been to the NBA Playoffs before.
Forward Brandon Ingram has blossomed into a fantastic player, averaging career-highs in Points Per Game (24.7), Assists (5.8), and Free-Throw Percentage (88.2). However, Ingram has struggled with injuries this year, including missing 28 games in January with a toe injury. He’s averaging 29 Points, 8.5 Assists, 7.6 Rebounds in his last 10 games.

Veteran guard CJ McCollum has experience in the Playoffs as well. McCollum stayed healthy this year, and averaged 21 Points Per Game, 5.7 Assists, 4.4 Rebounds, and shot 38.9 percent from the Three, and 43.7 percent from the Field. In addition, Jonas Valanciunas is a veteran player, who’s averaging a double-double in Points and Rebounds per game. Josh Richardson is also a seasoned player who can knock down shots from the Three.

The Pelicans are a decent defensive team. They rank 9th in Opponent Points Per Game (112.5), and rank first in the league in Opponent Three Point Percentage (33.9). Given the Thunder are not the best three-point team, the Pelicans will look to double Shai. In fact, they rank 12th in Opponent Field Goal Percentage (47.2). In addition, they rank 7th in the league in Opponent turnovers per game (14.3).


Zions Injury, High Turnover Rate, Lack of Depth.

 Before Zion Williamson went out on Injury, he was averaging 26 Points Per Game, 7 Assists, 6 Rebounds, and shot 83 percent from the Field. Although the Pelicans have some key pieces, it will be hard to replace Zion, especially down low.
Also, the Pelicans rank towards the bottom of the league in turnovers. New Orleans averages 14 turnovers a game, which is on the higher side.

Although the Pelicans have their core players, their Bench Points Per Game rank 23rd in the league (31.8). Center Jaxson Hayes has not played up to the expectations when he got drafted, and without Zion, Larry Nance is next up behind Jonas. There isn’t a lot of depth in the back court behind CJ McCollum and Trey Murphy III, and there is little depth on the wings.

Key Stats

The Pelicans Won the regular season series 3-1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Guard CJ McCollum averaged 21.5 Points Per Game, 6.5 Rebounds, 9.5 Assists, 1 Block, and shot 46.7 percent from the Three in 2 games against OKC.

•In only 1 game against the Thunder, Brandon Ingram is averaging 34 Points Per Game, 4 Rebounds, and shot 60 percent from the Three.


Bulls ML
Bulls +6

Pelicans ML
OKC +5.5

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Sara Jane is a full-time content creator, focusing on both college basketball, the NBA, NFL, and writer of Ballislife.com. Don’t forget to follow her on Twitter: @GGirlSports


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