NBA In-Season Tournament 2023-24: Format, Odds, Best Bet

The NBA’s inaugural in-season tournament begins this season in an effort to boost early season entertainment. Since it’s a new concept, plenty of questions surround the event. Check out below for a format breakdown, team odds, and the best bet.

In-Season Tournament Format

The 30 NBA teams are split into six groups with each group only containing teams from one conference. They are the following:

East Group A:

  • Atlanta Hawks
  • Cleveland Cavaliers
  • Detroit Pistons
  • Indiana Pacers
  • Philadelphia 76ers

East Group B:

  • Charlotte Hornets
  • Miami Heat
  • Milwaukee Bucks
  • New York Knicks
  • Washington Wizards

East Group C:

  • Boston Celtics
  • Brooklyn Nets
  • Chicago Bulls
  • Orlando Magic
  • Toronto Raptors

West Group A:

  • Los Angeles Lakers
  • Memphis Grizzlies
  • Phoenix Suns
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Utah Jazz

West Group B:

  • Dallas Mavericks
  • Denver Nuggets
  • Houston Rockets
  • Los Angeles Clippers
  • New Orleans Pelicans

West Group C:

  • Golden State Warriors
  • Minnesota Timberwolves
  • Oklahoma City Thunder
  • Sacramento Kings
  • San Antonio Spurs

Each team will play one game against the four other teams in their group during Tuesdays and Fridays of November, and the team with the best record advances to the Knockout Rounds. In the event of a tie between two or more teams, the tiebreaker is the head-to-head record in tournament games. If this doesn’t settle it, then it turns to (in this order) point differential, total points scored, regular season record including non-group play, and finally a random selection of the winner.

In addition to the six group winners, two wild cards will also advance to the Knockout Round. Per NBA.com, “the wild card will be the team from each conference with the best record in Group Play games that finished second in its group.”

The Knockout Rounds take place in early December and feature a single-elimination bracket of the eight remaining teams until one is left standing. For a format comparison, think of the Sweet Sixteen during March Madness.

The in-season tournament has no extra effect on playoff seeding outside of the games counting towards the regular season record.

In-Season Tournament Odds

The table below displays every team’s odds of winning the in-season tournament championship.

In-Season Tournament Best Bet

Which team claims the crown of best bet?

Boston Celtics (+600 BMGM)

Off-season acquisitions Jrue Holiday and Kristaps Porzingis have upgraded this Celtics squad from championship contenders to championship favorites. Boston is currently outscoring opponents by 14.1 points per 100 possessions, which leads the NBA. Their starters in particular have been unstoppable, as the Holiday-White-Brown-Tatum-Porzingis lineup has outscored opponents by a whopping 37.3 points per 100 possessions across 72 minutes.

Defensively, they are prepared for any matchup. Holiday and White form the top point-of-attack defensive combo in the league, while Porzingis anchors the paint. Plus, Brown and Tatum are elite options against scoring wings. On the other end, the Celtics are riddled with self-creation, three-point shooting, and unselfish passing. They subsequently rank 2nd in Offensive Rating.

Brooklyn, Chicago, Orlando, and Toronto are all solid but relatively average teams, so Boston should cruise through group play. From that point on, their talent and health likely carry them to an In-Season Tournament championship.

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Braxton has been covering the NBA for Lineups since the 2022 season. He's worked with multiple collegiate coaching staffs regarding analytics and scouting, which has allowed him to understand the game on a deeper level. Braxton is also a contributor at Thunderous Intentions.

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