NBA Playoff Picks for Wednesday, April 12, 2023

By Betmaker Team

We have never seen a No. 10 seed win a game in the NBA Play-In Tournament since the current format was adopted in 2021. The Charlotte Hornets were blown out twice as the No. 10 seed, losing to the Indiana Pacers by 27 points in 2021 and the Atlanta Hawks by 29 points last year. Unsurprisingly, their opponents easily covered all pleaser numbers by the NBA betting odds too.


In the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs have been a little more competitive. They only lost by four points to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2021 and fell to the New Orleans Pelicans by 10 points last year. The Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder are hoping to be more like San Antonio than Charlotte with the exception of winning of course, but both teams are moderate underdogs per the basketball betting odds.


NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook


Chicago Bulls (+5) at Toronto Raptors

They say that defense wins championships, and the Chicago Bulls are one of the best defensive teams in the league. Chicago had the fifth-best defensive rating in the NBA this season as Alex Caruso and Patrick Beverley are both very good defenders. However, the offense has been a disappointment despite the team paying over $85 million this season to Zach LaVine, DeMar DeRozan, and Nikola Vucevic. This trio is combining to average almost 67 PPG between them, but their efficiency numbers aren’t great.


While LaVine is a solid perimeter shooter and the leading scorer, he struggles on defense. DeRozan has slowly seen his numbers fall ever since leaving Toronto and is averaging just 24.5 PPG while making only 32.4% of his threes, and Vucevic has not been the interior presence that Chicago was hoping for after the Bulls dealt a significant amount of assets to the Orlando Magic for his services.


Given all this, you might wonder why I’m taking the Chicago Bulls and like the Bulls to win this game outright. Simply put, while Chicago seems motivated, the same can’t be said for the Toronto Raptors. Toronto has been a team that has underperformed all season long, and the Raptors have seemingly sleepwalked through long stretches of the season. There are several rumors that Nick Nurse will be gone as soon as Toronto is eliminated from the playoffs, and it feels like we are set to have a few stories come out about internal divisions within the team given the degree to which the Raptors have underperformed. This is a team that needs to make some significant changes and Masai Ujiri appears ready to blow up this iteration of Toronto in the coming months.


Bet-Rivers-Banner-Sep-29-2022-03-57-25-53-PM-4New Orleans Pelicans (-5.5) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

You can’t draw as much as you used to out of head-to-head matchups between teams in the regular season given all the load management and injuries we saw during the 2022-23 campaign, but this is a series where you can take something out of previous meetings. The New Orleans Pelicans beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in three of their four games during the regular season even though Brandon Ingram and Zion Williamson each only played in one of those games. Conversely, OKC star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander suited up all four times for the Thunder, but the Pelicans had the upper hands.


New Orleans won’t have Williamson and Jose Alvarado available due to injury. However, Ingram has been playing very well, and the Pelicans still have a much better trio than the Thunder as C.J. McCollum and Trey Murphy III have both been playing at a high level. McCollum is a proven postseason performer from his time with Portland, and Murphy has developed into a sharpshooter over the last season. Murphy knocked down 45.1% of his threes and 94.1% of his free throws in March.


Kudos to the Oklahoma City Thunder for overcoming the NBA preseason odds to make the playoffs. OKC was supposed to be one of the worst teams in the league once more, especially after Chet Holmgren suffered a season-ending injury in the summer. SGA should be an All-NBA selection and is clearly one of the 15 best players in the NBA, but this team just doesn’t have much else behind him. Additionally, they have the least postseason experience of any team in the playoffs by a mile, so expect one and done.