It's win or go home Friday night as four teams will fight for the last two spots in the 2022 NBA Playoffs just a day before the start of the first round.
The Cleveland Cavaliers will host the Atlanta Hawks for the No. 8 seed in the East (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPN), while the New Orleans Pelicans will travel to LA to face the Clippers for the final playoff spot in the West.
Our fantasy and betting analysts give you the best intel to help you make smart fantasy and wagering decisions for Friday night's pivotal play-in matchups.
Odds are provided by Caesars Sportsbook
What you need to know for Friday's play-in games
Trae Day: Atlanta moved to 9-16 whenever Trae Young finishes shy of 25 points after their win over the Charlotte Hornets Wednesday. Young's numbers against the Hornets were relatively ugly this season, but he has undeniably cruised against the Cavaliers. While Young's scoring prop sits at a lofty 29.5 tonight, he scored 130 points in 141 minutes in four games against them this season and averaged 35.3 points over his past three meetings with Cleveland (all wins). There is also value in alternative scoring props for him to hit well above 30 points. Another angle supporting Young's scoring ceiling is Nate McMillan's propensity to ride his stars. He told reporters he kept Young and fellow starters on the floor during the Charlotte blowout simply because "it's game time."
Allen's Availability: Jarrett Allen was upgraded to questionable for Friday's game and his presence could prove meaningful on both ends of the floor. He averaged 15.3 points and 9.7 boards in three meetings with the Hawks during the regular season and claims some of the best rim protection rates in the league. It's challenging to project Allen's production given his murky status, but in regards to his influence on the rotation, it's worth noting Darius Garland's assist percentage leaps by 3% when Allen is on the floor. Meanwhile, Evan Mobley's rebounding percentage dips by nearly 3% with Allen on the floor.
Lovely Setup: Kevin Love has a history of shooting success and heavy minutes against the Hawks. Atlanta is one of just two teams Love has played at least 100 minutes against this season. He has made multiple 3-pointers in 16 of his past 17 games. In fact, 68% of his shots against the Hawks this year have come from 3-point range, sinking them at nearly 42% clip. Love's shooting props are worth keeping an eye on tonight.
Big V-Easy: Like with Young against the Cavs, Jonas Valanciunas has been particularly awesome against the Clippers. Not only did he post a career-high 39 points, cooking Ivica Zubac and others in a November win, but Valanciunas averaged 37.6 points + rebounds + assists against Los Angeles during the regular season. His current PRA prop sits at 35.5 appears achievable given the Clippers' lack of size and frontcourt depth. Valanciunas also has slate-shifting upside for DFS tournaments.
Games of the night
Line: Hawks (--2.5)
Moneyline: Hawks (-145), Cavaliers (+125)
Total: 223 points
BPI Projected Total: 217 points
BPI Win%: Hawks (50.6%)
Key players ruled out: John Collins
Notable: The Cavaliers have won each of their last four games as home underdogs against the Hawks.
Best bet: Hawks over 112.5 total points. The Cavs have been known for their defense all season, ranking sixth in points allowed per 100 possessions. But the Hawks won three of the four regular-season meetings between the teams, scoring 121 points or more in the final three games. Atlanta ranks second in points scored per 100 possessions. -- Eric Moody
Best bet: Trae Young over 41.5 points + assists. Young finished the season as the league's fifth-leading scorer. he averaged 32.5 PPG and 9.0 APG over his past four games against the Cavaliers. Young can shine against any defense at any time and should prove his worth against Cleveland. --Moody
Best bet: Trae Young over 29.5 points. Young has had huge games against the Cavaliers all season and Kyrie Irving just showed that the Cavaliers' defense can be exploited from the perimeter, the exact space from which Young likes to operate.
Line: Pelicans (-1)
Moneyline: Pelicans (-120), Clippers (+100)
Total: 215.5 points
BPI Projected Total: 213.5 points
BPI Win%: Clippers (71.0%)
Key players ruled out: Paul George
Notable: Four of the past five games between the Pelicans and Clippers have gone under the total.
Best bet: Jonas Valanciunas over 32.5 points + rebounds. The Clippers have been an excellent defensive team for most of the season but Los Angeles allows its opponents to accumulate tons of offensive rebounds, which the Pelicans could exploit. The Clippers allow a lot of shots within four feet of the basket and Valanciunas averaged 18 PPG and 11.4 RPG during the regular season. There's a good chance he'll have a big game on Friday night. -- Moody
Best bet: CJ McCollum over 25.5 points. McCollum is the postseason vet for this squad and the most aggressive scorer as well. D'Angelo Russell and Anthony Edwards thrived attacking the Clippers in this same role and McCollum should have no problem doing the same -- Moody