Our free NBA picks are out for Friday, April 15th, 2022! Make sure you check our expert NBA picks before the action kicks off.
Look below to find our free NBA picks for the two play-in games on today’s schedule!
Atlanta Hawks @ Cleveland Cavaliers – 7.30pm ET
The first play-in game of the day will see the Atlanta Hawks face off against the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Hawks are coming off a win in their first play-in game, beating the Hornets 132-103. Whereas, the Cavaliers ended up going down to the Nets, 108-115, in their first play-in game.
It all comes down to these two play-in games on Friday to officially get the playoff bracket set. The first game will be between the Atlanta Hawks and Cleveland Cavaliers in a battle for the 8 seed and a chance to play the Miami Heat in the first round. The Cavs lost to the Brooklyn Nets in their first play-in game and early on looked like they didn’t belong at all. Cleveland rallied late though and found a way to cover but still lost of course and now will get a home game against the Atlanta Hawks for a chance at the real playoffs. The Hawks looked a lot like their team that made a run to the Eastern Conference Finals last year when they beat up on the Charlotte Hornets 132-103.
Trae Young had 24 points and 11 assists in the win and will hope for an encore in this star-studded point guard matchup with Darius Garland. I however, don’t see this one going well for Garland’s team that I think is a little ahead of schedule. They peaked early and fell back to reality due to natural regression and injuries, and this Hawks team will be too much for them on Friday. The best player on the floor will be Trae Young and after seeing the Cavs let Kyrie Irving shoot 12-15 for 34 points in the opening play-in game, I can only imagine what Trae will do to this defense. He will have another one of his monster nights and will get this road victory over the Cavs who we will be seeing a lot more of in the future, just not this year.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Atlanta Hawks (-130)
This Atlanta Hawks team seems to like the postseason. They made a surprise run to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, before falling to the eventual champion Milwaukee Bucks, and now they found themselves in the play-in this season, but won the 9-10 matchup with ease over Charlotte on Wednesday night. With Trae Young leading the way, and then getting help from guys like Clint Capela and John Collins, they’ve shown that they’re a team that can make things difficult on anyone, which they seem to do extremely well in the postseason.
They get a Cleveland Cavaliers team in this one that fell in the 7-8 matchup to the Brooklyn Nets Tuesday night. The Cavs had a great year, especially given numerous major injuries that caused some problems, but it looks like lack of depth and fatigue is finally getting to them. I like Darius Garland to have a big night, but even with that, I don’t think this Cleveland team, that has looked tired over the last quarter of the season, has the depth to get by an Atlanta team that thrives in the postseason, especially in a must-win game. Give me the Hawks by 6+.
Noah’s NBA Pick: Atlanta Hawks -2 (-110)
New Orleans Pelicans @ Los Angeles Clippers – 10pm ET
For the final play-in game on Friday in the NBA, we will see the New Orleans Pelicans take on the Los Angeles Clippers. The Pelicans proved too good for the Spurs in their previous play-in game, winning 113-103. The Clippers didn’t do enough to beat the Timberwolves, as they went down 104-109.
It’s been a long road to this position for the New Orleans Pelicans and rookie head coach Willie Green. They started the season 1-12 and were seemingly going nowhere without their best player, Zion Williamson. But then something clicked, they bought into the new culture and the mid season acquisition of CJ McCollum pushed them over the top. They now sit one win away from officially being a part of the playoff bracket. The Clippers know all about being without their best player all year, as Kawhi Leonard has been sidelined with an ACL season since last year’s playoffs. His presence was missed in the first play-in game, as they needed a closer to get them that win.
The Clippers were up 10 with 8:54 remaining but then fell victim to a 2-16 run by Minnesota and eventually lost. Now with their backs against the wall, it’ll be interesting to see how Ty Lue and the boys rebound and adjust in this one. The Clippers will be at home as the higher seed and actually get an extra day’s rest too since the New Orleans game was on Wednesday as opposed to Tuesday like the Clippers. The Pelicans were just beaten by 19 earlier this month by the Clippers. The Clippers also have a bunch of guys who have playoff experience and won’t back down from the moment, while the Pelicans are learning on the fly, outside of McCollum. I think everything points to a Clippers win here which will set them up for a first round series against the Phoenix Suns.
Jeffery’s NBA Pick: Los Angeles Clippers (-180)
The final game of the Western Conference play-in has the chance to be a wild one, as we get the New Orleans Pelicans traveling to the west coast to take on the Los Angeles Clippers. The Pels used big games from Brandon Ingram, CJ McCollum, and Jonas Valanciunas to lead them past San Antonio Wednesday, in a game that they led by 20, before having to hold off a Spurs comeback attempt. Now, in this winner take all game, they get a Clippers team that has to be disappointed in their performance from Tuesday night, as they fell apart late, and completely collapsed against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
It was a game that was made worse by the fact that Karl-Anthony Towns fouled out in, with almost eight minutes left, yet they still allowed the Wolves to come back from down double-digits. They’re in a position of needing Paul George to have a huge night, with some help along the way, and given the collapse a few nights ago, and taking on a New Orleans team that looks confident, I’m going to take the Pelicans here, in a tight one on the road. Give me Pels by 5.
Noah’s NBA Pick: New Orleans Pelicans (+152)
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.