There is about a quarter of the NBA regular season left following the All-Star break, and there are a few teams vying for a shot in the play-in tournament and playoff picture in each conference.
There isn’t much time to make up ground, but there are teams that could be poised for a run in the final months of the 2022-23 season.
Here are my favorite plus money picks from Eastern and Western Conference to make the postseason:
Toronto Raptors (+184 – FanDuel)
The Toronto Raptors finished with the No. 5 seed in the East last season, but they have gotten off to a rough start in the 2022-23 campaign, sitting in the No. 10 spot with the league at the All-Star break.
Despite that, the Raptors were buyers at the trade deadline, adding center Jakob Poeltl to shore up a depleted frontcourt.
The addition of Poeltl has paid dividends already, as he posted a 30-point game in a recent win over Orlando.
Right now, the Miami Heat, Atlanta Hawks, Washington Wizards and Raptors would be the play-in teams in the East. While oddsmakers are sold on Miami making the postseason, they aren’t nearly as confident in Atlanta, who holds the No. 8 seed. The Hawks have the third hardest strength of schedule remaining this season, per Tankathon.
Toronto could be a sneaky team down the stretch of the season, especially since their season-long numbers show they have been better than their record.
The Raptors are 13th in the NBA in net rating, ahead of Miami (20), Atlanta (23) and Washington (17). The team also should get forward OG Anunoby back from injury for the stretch run.
Under head coach Nick Nurse, the Raptors have shown they have a playoff quality roster and they are relentless on the defensive end. With Poeltl on board and the East not as crowded as the West, Toronto has a real shot to make the playoffs, even if it is by way of the play-in.
Minnesota Timberwolves (+154 – FanDuel)
Another team that made a move at the trade deadline was the Minnesota Timberwolves, swapping guard D’Angelo Russell for veteran Mike Conley in a three-team deal.
Conley should help the team unlock Rudy Gobert, who has struggled at times on offense this season.
Not only that, but Karl-Anthony Towns (calf), who hasn’t played since November, could return for the team’s final 10-15 games.
That would be a huge boost, as Towns is arguably the team’s best player (some may roll with Anthony Edwards) when he’s healthy.
Minnesota currently has the No. 8 seed in the West, and it won in the play-in tournament last year to grab the No. 7 seed. The Western Conference is extremely crowded, but the New Orleans Pelicans and Golden State Warriors have injury issues and the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz are young teams that may fall off down the stretch.
The Wolves are a solid defense (12th in defensive rating), and a Towns return would almost certainly boost their offense down the stretch.
As long as the Wolves can maintain a spot in the top-10, they have the top-line talent with Towns, Edwards and Gobert to make the postseason.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.