English Premier League
The 2023 NBA All-Star Game is just around the corner, which means there are only a few months left in the regular season. These next few months are going to be particularly important for teams in the Western Conference because there are currently seven teams within a game of each other. All seven of those teams are hovering around being either barely in a playoff spot, in the Play-In Tournament, or just outside the Playoff picture.
With plenty of movement expected to come before playoff positions are officially locked in, there are two teams that I think you can find some value on when it comes to betting on them making the play-in.
If the regular season ended today, the Clippers would be in the Playoffs. Unfortunately for them, it doesn't. At only half a game outside of the play-in, I think we'll see LA drop into the 7th or 8th seed before it's all said and done. The Clippers are just so hot and cold.
With how often they rest players, it's a guessing game as to what team will show up each night. That's going to make it hard for them to rack up enough wins to move past the teams already ahead of them in the standings and keep them securely in the playoffs. They also have a fairly tough schedule over the next few months, playing the Warriors and Grizzlies each three different times, the Bucks, Kings and Suns all twice, and the Nets, Nuggets and Cavs.
Is LeBron James really going to miss the playoffs for the second season in a row? I don't think so! The Lakers currently sit 12th in the Western Conference and two games outside the playoffs. Los Angeles was starting to hit its stride when Anthony Davis went out with an injury in mid-December. They lost quite a few in a row after he was initially sidelined but have regained their footing, winning eight of their last 12. Davis has begun practicing again and could be set to return as early as next week, which will be huge for this team (if he can stay healthy the rest of the year.)
The Lakers also just made a deal with the Washington Wizards to acquire Rui Hachmura. In return, the Wizards received Kendrick Nunn three second-round picks. This trade isn't going to drastically improve the Lakers roster, but it does tell me that they're serious about making a push for the postseason this year.