NBA Playoffs Betting: Can A Play-In Team Go All The Way?
With the LA Lakers through to the NBA playoffs proper, bettors are wondering if they might be a value pick to go all the way. So how have previous teams performed after coming through the Play-In round? The short answer is, not very well.
No play-in team has ever made it out of the first round in the three seasons this format has existed.
Play-In Teams Are 0-9 In Round 1 Of Playoffs
Teams are 0-9 in the first round coming out of the play-in tournament. On top of that, all nine of those series have not even made it to a Game 7. Winning the play-in game can be challenging in its own right. Having to try and beat one of the top two seeds after that is a tall task to accomplish.
Why have the #7 and #8 seeds coming out of the play-in tournament not had success in the first round?
In the three years that the expanded play-in tournament has existed, the #7 and #8 seeds are a combined 0-9 in the first round. But this low-ranked team record is nothing new.
From 2003-2019, the #7 and #8 seeds were a combined 4-64 in the first round. It’s a daunting task for the lower seeds to have enough manpower to match up with either the #1 or #2 seed in their respective Conference.
Can Lakers Be The Exception To The Rule
There’s usually a reason that the team is in the play-in tournament. One team that many across the league are picking to make a deep playoff run is the LA Lakers. They faced the Minnesota Timberwolves in the Play-In game and made an improbable comeback to win in overtime. Their prize was the #7 seed and they will have a first-round matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies.
LA was dealing with injuries to their top players like LeBron James and Anthony Davis throughout the season, but seem to be healthy at the right time. They would have loved to make the playoffs without having to compete in the play-in. Regardless, having taken care of business against Minnesota, they will be free to play with a nothing-to-lose attitude from this point forward.
It’s still a longshot, but if anyone can break the losing streak of play-in teams it’s probably the Lakers.