How to bet on NBA Playoffs: Complete Guide | LeoVegas

NBA Playoffs Betting Guide

The regular season has just come to an end. As with each year, the league has been a rollercoaster of emotions and surprises, most especially in terms of which teams have successfully managed to qualify for the playoffs and those that, sadly, did not. American basketball is classified as one of the most popular sports globally; continue reading this article to find out why.

How to bet on the NBA Playoffs:

There’s no better time to bet on the NBA than during the playoffs! With LeoVegas, we are providing a simple guide to betting on the NBA playoffs below - using the Milwaukee Bucks v Golden State Warriors as an example.

1 - Enter the LeoVegas sportsbook via our app or desktop.

2 - Games within the NBA Playoffs can be found via the 'Live' tab if a game is ongoing. If the playoff game is scheduled to start soon, you could find the game in the 'Upcoming' tab. There’s also the option to use our dynamic search function. Simply type ‘NBA’ into the search bar and you’ll find hundreds of markets waiting for you.

3 - Simply select the playoff game you would like to wager on, in this instance, the Milwaukee Bucks v Golden State Warriors.

4 - Once you click on the game, you can select whichever market you'd like to bet on. You can cover everything from Moneyline to Over/Under with LeoVegas.

5 - Once your selection is added to the betslip, select your wager, and make your best bet!


NBA Playoff Betting Markets

LeoVegas’ expansive sportsbook provides hundreds of markets on the NBA playoffs - you can choose the market for you. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Championship Winner: This bet means that you will choose who will be lifting the championship at the end of the playoffs. You simply have to select the team from the playoff bracket that you think is going to be NBA Champion.
  • Moneyline bets: You can bet on the moneyline throughout the entire NBA playoffs. This market is when you simply bet on who will win the individual game - this is not the same as betting on who wins the series.
  • Player specific markets: Do you have a feeling that a player will have a big night in the playoffs? Well, bet on them to have the most rebounds, most assists, or most points with our player specific markets.
  • Point spread: Another popular market within the LeoVegas sportsbook is the point spread. This market creates a deficit/advantage for one of the teams. If a team is favored, they may be set as a -3.5 against the spread, this means the specific team would have to win by 4+ points to be successful. Similarly, if a team is placed at +3.5, they'd have to lose by 3 or less.
  • Series winner: As mentioned above, you can place a bet on who you will win individual games. However, you can also bet on which team you think will advance in the series and progress to the next round of the playoffs.

Regular Season - Western Conference

The Western Conference was dominated by the Denver Nuggets in 2023. They racked up an impressive inter-conference record to secure the title of division champions with numerous games to spare - placing them in a promising position ahead of the playoffs.

Denver were closely followed by the Memphis Grizzlies in the Western Conference. The Grizzlies secured their second-straight division title with a 130-125 victory over the Houston Rockets, and cemented themself as a postseason contender.

Best of the rest: Sacramento Kings (a first play-off appearance since 2006), Phoenix Suns, LA Clippers, and Golden State Warriors.

Regular Season - Eastern Conference

In the East, the Milwaukee Bucks became the first team to secure a playoff berth with a 116-104 victory over the Phoenix Suns. Star man, Giannis Antetokounmpo, carried his team into the postseason, securing the 13th triple-double in NBA history along the way.

Elsewhere, the Boston Celtics booked their place in the playoffs via the Miami Heat. The Heat lost to the Chicago Bulls, and as a result, the Celtics entered their ninth-straight postseason.

Best of the rest: Philadelphia 76ers, Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, and Brooklyn Nets.

NBA Playoffs Bracket

Western Conference Bracket:

  • Denver Nuggets (1) vs (8) Eighth-seed West
  • Phoenix Suns (4) vs (5) Los Angeles Clippers
  • Memphis Grizzlies (2) vs (7) Seventh-seed West
  • Sacramento Kings (3) vs (6) Golden State Warriors

Eastern Conference Bracket

  • Milwaukee Bucks (1) vs (8) Eighth-seed West
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (4) vs (5) New York Knicks
  • Boston Celtics (2) vs (7) Seventh-seed West
  • Philadelphia 76ers (3) vs (6) Brooklyn Nets

2023 NBA Playoffs Key Dates

  • April 11-14: AT&T Play-In Tournament
  • April 15: NBA playoffs begin
  • May 1-2: NBA Conference Semifinals begin (possible move-up to April 29-30)
  • May 16-17: NBA Conference Finals begin (possible move-up to May 14-15)
  • June 1: NBA Finals 2023 Game 1
  • June 4: NBA Finals 2023 Game 2
  • June 7: NBA Finals 2023 Game 3
  • June 9: NBA Finals 2023 Game 4
  • June 12: NBA Finals 2023 Game 5 (if necessary)
  • June 15: NBA Finals 2023 Game 6 (if necessary)
  • June 18: NBA Finals 2023 Game 7 (if necessary)

NBA Playoff Favorites

The Milwaukee Bucks are the frontrunners to take the NBA Championship home in 2023. Mike Budenholzer’s side are currently 3.25* to lift the trophy, and with an impressive roster, there’s no reason that the Bucks couldn’t hoist a Second NBA Championship in two years.

From the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns are the favourites to win the trophy at 5.50, despite the Denver Nuggets being crowned Division Champions. As for the Nuggets, they are slightly less favored at 9.00.

Other contenders within the NBA playoffs include the Boston Celtics (4.5), Golden State Warriors (9.00), and Philadelphia 76ers (11.00)

*Odds are subject to change.

How many NBA teams go to the playoffs?

Sixteen teams go to the NBA playoffs, the best eight from the East and the best eight from the Western teams.

How the NBA Playoffs Work

The NBA playoffs determine the winning team in the NBA championship. During the playoffs, the strongest teams in the East and West are also decided in the finals.

Play-In Tournament

The teams on the two sides are sorted by win-loss at the end of the regular season. The top 6 with the highest win-loss record qualify directly, while the teams placed between 7th and 10th place compete for the last four positions available (2 for the teams in the East and 2 in the West) in a Play-in tournament.

Whoever ends the regular season in seventh place will host the team in eighth place; at the same time, the team that finishes the regular season in ninth place will host the team in tenth place. The winners of these matches earn their positions as the seventh and eighth, respectively, in the Playoffs.

The current format of the NBA Playoffs

Regarding the Playoffs format, we can say that it will be the same as in previous years. All rounds are a best-of-seven series, so whoever wins four games will move on to the next round, and so on, until the last round - the NBA Finals.

As already mentioned, the 12 teams with the highest record of wins-losses (6 in the East and 6 in the West) go directly to the postseason tournament, together with the four winners of the two Play-In tournaments.

Specifically, in the first round, which can be considered the quarter-finals, the team in the 1st seed will compete against the 8th, the 2nd against the 7th, the 3rd against the 6th, and the 4th against the 5th. The team in the highest position will be able to take advantage of the home factor as they will start the series at home.

The two winners between the 1st vs 8st and 4th vs 5th, and the 2 winners between the 2nd vs 7th and 3rd vs 6th will play the next round, i.e. the Conference Semifinals.

The last two franchises will compete in the penultimate series, the Conference Finals, which decrees the champion team in the East and the one in the West. The two winning teams will compete in the NBA Finals' last series.

List of NBA Playoffs Appearances, Wins, and Defeats

Curious to know which teams have participated in, won but also lost the most NBA Finals? Find it all below.

  • Los Angeles Lakers - 32 Participations - 17 Wins - 15 Losses
  • Boston Celtics - 22 Participations - 17 Wins - 5 Losses
  • Golden State Warriors - 12 Participations - 7 Wins - 5 Losses
  • Philadelphia 76ers - 9 Participations - 3 Wins - 6 Losses
  • New York Knicks - 8 Participations - 2 Wins - 6 Losses
  • Detroit Pistons - 7 Participations - 3 Wins - 4 Losses
  • Chicago Bulls - 6 Participations - 6 Wins - 0 Losses
  • Miami Heat - 6 Participations - 3 Wins - 3 Losses
  • San Antonio Spurs - 6 Participations - 5 Wins - 1 Loss
  • Cleveland Cavaliers - 5 Participations - 1 Win - 4 Losses
  • Houston Rockets - 4 Participations - 2 Wins - 2 Losses
  • Atlanta Hawks - 4 Participations - 1 Win - 3 Losses
  • Oklahoma City Thunder - 4 Participations - 1 Win - 3 Losses
  • Washington Wizards - 4 Participations - 1 Win - 3 Losses
  • Milwaukee Bucks - 3 Participations - 2 Wins - 1 Losses
  • Portland Trail Blazers - 3 Participations - 1 Wins - 2 Losses
  • Phoenix Suns - 3 Participations - 0 Wins - 3 Losses
  • Dallas Mavericks - 2 Participations - 1 Wins - 1 Losses
  • Brooklyn Nets - 2 Participations - 0 Wins - 2 Losses
  • Orlando Magic - 2 Participations - 0 Wins - 2 Losses
  • Utah Jazz - 2 Participations - 0 Wins - 2 Losses
  • Sacramento Kings - 1 Participations - 1 Wins - 0 Losses
  • Toronto Raptors - 1 Participations - 1 Wins - 0 Losses
  • Indiana Pacers - 1 Participations - 0 Wins - 1 Losses
  • Baltimore Bullets - 1 Participations - 1 Wins - 0 Losses
  • Chicago Stags - 1 Participations - 0 Wins - 1 Losses
  • Washington Capitols - 1 Participations - 0 Wins - 1 Losses

NBA Playoff FAQ

What NBA teams are in the playoffs 2023?

Overall, the NBA playoffs will contain 16 teams. The Denver Nuggets were one of the first teams to secure a spot by clinching the Western Conference. Similarly, both the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics guaranteed a spot in the playoffs with games to spare.

These teams will be joined by 13 others - some via a play-in tournament - to create the NBA playoff bracket in 2023.

Who won the NBA finals in 2022?

The reigning NBA Champions are the Golden State Warriors. Last year's title was the seventh in franchise history.

How do the NBA playoffs work?

The NBA playoffs begin with the play-in tournament - this is where the 7th and 8th seed need to win ONE game to advance to the playoffs. As for the 9th and 10th seed, they have to win TWO-straight games to be in the playoffs.

After the play-in, the traditional 16-team playoff format begins. Eight teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences compete in the postseason. They face four rounds of playoff action, each round consisting of a seven-game series, and the last team remaining is world champion.

How many wins do you need for the NBA playoffs?

The amount of wins required depends on the stage you enter the bracket. For a 9th/10th seed, they’ll have to win 18 games to lift the trophy, a 7th/8th seed needs 17 wins, and a team that enters the playoffs in the first round has to win 16 games (four wins in each best-of-seven series).

What is the difference between NBA playoffs and finals?

The NBA Finals decides the winner of the NBA title. Like the playoffs, the winner is decided via a best-of-seven series, however, the winner is crowned World Champion.

Learn more about NBA betting in our guides