Group play in the NBA In-Season tournament is concluding Tuesday. We’re taking a look at the final group matchups and current odds to advance.
All six group winners and the top second-place team in each conference will advance. Two of the group outcomes have already been decided, but there are still odds available for the four that remain up in the air.
Players on teams that advance to the quarterfinals guarantee themselves $50,000 each, and the prize money doubles for those that reach the semis. The two finalists guarantee themselves at least $200,000 per player, with the champs hoisting the first league cup and earning $500,000 per man.
The point of this tournament was to spice up early-season games, and although we’ve seen some pretty attractive affairs, we’re about to see playoff intensity.
Pacers stun their way to East Group A crown
Indiana was as high +600 to prevail in this group before this tournament began but went a perfect 4-0 and are sitting pretty with the night off. The 76ers and Cavs were basically co-favorites to get out of the group, but Philadelphia lost a 122-119 overtime matchup against Cleveland and were lit up 132-126 by the Pacers on Nov. 14 as Tyrese Haliburton produced 33 points and 15 assists.
Surprisingly, both of Philly’s losses were suffered at home. Detroit lost all four of their games despite being competitive in all of the matchups until suffering through a 39-17 fourth-quarter in Indiana, wrapping up the group.
All that is left to be decided is whether the Cavs can qualify as two of the non-group winners, which means they’ll need to take care of business against Atlanta at home on Tuesday night while finishing with a higher point differential than the second-place teams in the other East groups, the Knicks (plus-18) and Celtics (even).
Currently, Cleveland is at plus-six, so it will be looking for some style points against the Hawks as all three of the games involving the second-place squads will be going off simultaneously.
Donovan Mitchell returned to the lineup over the weekend in a loss to the Lakers but shot 4-for-18 from the field. Isaac Okoro also returned with a minutes restriction. While both will look to ease their way back in, the Hawks are unlikely to roll over on the road and had averaged 145 points per game over a three-game stretch before losing at the Celtics 113-103 on Sunday.
Recommendation: Cavs/Hawks OVER
NBA In-Season Tournament East Group B odds: Bucks must avoid blowout in Miami
Here are the latest odds to win East Group B:
Milwaukee struggled to get stops against the Wizards all night over the weekend, but managed to pull off a 131-128 win behind Brook Lopez’s 39-point explosion. After that escape, the Bucks take a 3-0 record into South Florida to face the rival Heat in the second meeting between these teams this season.
Tied together by memorable playoff series that have seen both teams taste elimination at the hands of the other in recent years, this rivalry got even spicier when Damian Lillard was traded to the Bucks instead of his preferred destination, Miami. The Bucks won 122-114 at home on Oct. 30 and will be playing at Kaseya Center for the first time, so the reaction Lillard gets will be worth watching.
The Bucks, who were a -115 favorite to win the group, can lose to Miami and still qualify with a 3-1 record as the first or second-place team, depending on what the Knicks do, so long as they hang with the Heat. That task may be made easier since star forward Jimmy Butler is listed as questionable.
New York is hosting Charlotte and likely won’t have to deal with point guard LaMelo Ball, who is doubtful to play due to an ankle injury. If Milwaukee loses in Miami, a 20-point blowout win from the Knicks would be sufficient to surpass the Bucks on point differential, but with everyone at 3-1 and with a 1-1 head-to-head record against the others, points would come into play to decide things.
Miami isn’t eliminated just yet, but would have to beat Milwaukee by at least 15 points to pass them on point differential, given how heavy a favorite the Knicks are against Charlotte. Giannis Antetokounmpo and friends have lost three games by 15 or more this season, but none since Nov. 9 and are 7-1 straight up since that 112-97 loss in Orlando.
Recommendation: Knicks , sprinkling a little on to win Group B
In-Season Tournament East Group C: Nets, Celtics seek lopsided wins to surpass Magic
Here are the latest odds to win East Group C:
At 3-1 and with a positive point differential of plus-22, Orlando can only sit and watch in the hopes the work put in thus far holds up. The Magic, who were +800 to win this group when action began, are off on Tuesday, while the Celtics host the Bulls and the Nets welcome the Raptors to Brooklyn. The Magic lost to the Nets but blew out Boston, so they’re really big fans of Toronto as a head-to-head tiebreaker against Boston would go their way.
Boston needs to rout the Bulls by 23 points, have the Nets beat the Raps by 14 or fewer points and have a three-way tiebreaker come into play. Brooklyn just needs to handle its business at home by a healthy margin, but beating a fellow NBA team by more than 14 points is easier said than done.
The Raptors are 3-2 SU over their last five games and have covered the spread in five of their last six. Bottom line, Orlando has to like the position it is in, but there could be some nervous moments in Central Florida if the Nets and Celtics enter the fourth quarter of their games up double-digits.
Boston has been dealing with nagging issues most of the season and will be without center Kristaps Porzingis (calf strain) and may not have guard Jrue Holiday, who is listed as questionable with an ankle sprain. Chicago may be without guard Zach LaVine due to foot soreness and key defender Alex Caruso due to a toe strain. Both also carry the questionable tag.
Brooklyn also has key players in doubt for its contest, with center Nic Claxton questionable due to an ankle sprain. Guards Ben Simmons and Cam Thomas have missed numerous games over the past few weeks and aren’t expected to return.
Both the Celtics and Nets could probably use a week off to recover, but they are favored in these games and will likely chase the blowouts they need if they’re in position to catch Orlando late in their games. In-game betting is therefore an intriguing option.
Recommendation: Raptors/Nets OVER
Lakers dominated West Group A, Suns can still advance
The Lakers won their games by a combined margin of 74 points, and a 122-119 comeback win over the Suns on Nov. 10 proved decisive. All the action in West Group A is in the books, and Memphis was shut out while Portland tasted three double-digit defeats.
The only item still left hanging in the balance is whether Phoenix’s 3-1 record and margin of victory will hold up. At plus-34, the Suns are in solid shape, but the Rockets, Timberwolves and Warriors enter Tuesday’s action with life.
More NBA Wagering: First basket scorer props for Tuesday night
NBA Group B odds: Rockets banking on road upset to surpass Pelicans
Here are the latest odds to win West Group B:
New Orleans needs Luka Doncic and Kyrie Irving to be on their games tonight at home in Dallas, because as long as the Mavs don’t fall to in-state rival Houston, the Pelicans will be advancing to the quarterfinals.
If the Rockets can pick up a win, they’ll move on courtesy of a head-to-head win against the Pels on Nov. 10. They were as high as +1900 to win Group B at FanDuel, while New Orleans was in the +400 to +440 range.
Houston has completely changed its style under first-year head coach Ime Udoka, becoming an elite defensive team that has caught Minnesota for the NBA’s top defensive rating. The Rockets play at a much slower pace than Dallas, which has great offensive metrics but rank 25th among 30 teams on defense.
It won’t help the Mavs’ cause if rookie center Dereck Lively, the backbone of their defense, is unable to play due to a back contusion. These teams are playing for the first time this season, and although Dallas will have the two best players on the floor, Houston is 8-3 SU over its last 11 games and has covered the spread in every one of those contests.
Adding veterans like Fred VanVleet, Dillon Brooks, Jeff Green and Aaron Holiday has helped change the culture in Houston, and advancing to the quarterfinals of this tourney would help advance those efforts as Udoka looks to transform the Rockets from doormat to contender.
The Pelicans can do nothing but watch, since a loss is guaranteed to knock them out since they finished with a point differential of plus-33, one point fewer than Phoenix.
NBA In-Season Tournament West Group C odds: Kings aim to crown themselves group champs by beating Warriors
Here are the latest odds to win West Group C:
The NBA was hoping for one of these group finales to be a winner-take-all affair, and that’s almost what Kings/Warriors is. The reason it isn’t is that Minnesota can complicate matters by defeating Oklahoma City, which is what Sacramento is hoping for since it would take some of the pressure off it when Tuesday’s final game tips off.
If the Timberwolves hold serve against OKC as a 4-point favorite, it would move to 3-1 in Group C, but unless they beat a very good Thunder squad by 20-plus, odds are they won’t have a better point differential than the Kings, who enter tonight’s home game at plus-29 while Golden State comes in at plus-5.
If the Thunder manage to win in Minneapolis, the three-way tie-breaker wouldn’t come into play and Golden State can advance to the quarters simply by winning in Sacramento through a head-to-head advantage.
The Warriors, who advanced past the Kings in a seven-game series in last season’s Western Conference quarterfinals, have already defeated them twice this season, winning 122-114 and 102-101 in a span of six days roughly a month ago.
Draymond Green has completed his five-game suspension for choking Rudy Gobert and will return to Golden State’s lineup tonight. The Dubs went 2-3 without him and are seeking to get back to .500 here.
The Kings were +250 to win Group C, while the Warriors were favored in the +170 to +220 range. Minnesota was listed as third-likeliest to win (+330 to +380) and list top wing defender Jaden McDaniels as out due to an ankle sprain against a completely healthy Thunder team.
Golden State also lists no one on its injury report, while Sacramento lists second-year forward Keegan Murray as doubtful. That absence didn’t hinder Sacramento from setting itself up to advance out of this group through a 124-111 win in Minnesota on Friday behind DeAaron Fox’s 36 points and 12 assists.
Controlling their own destiny against a Golden State squad that has looked disjointed and is just getting Green back in the mix makes Sacramento a solid bet at home.
Recommendation: Kings ML
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