The NBA wrapped up the group stage of the first In-Season Tournament on Tuesday, which means the bracket for the knockout stage of the tournament is set. The Boston Celtics and the Milwaukee Bucks are the tournament’s favorites.
The Celtics are the top favorite despite going on the road in the quarterfinals to take on the Indiana Pacers. Boston is +300 to win the tournament, which is far from an overwhelming favorite. For context, Boston, which is currently the favorite to win the NBA title in June, is viewed as more likely to win the Eastern Conference (+150) than win the In-Season Tournament despite already being in the final eight. That’s what the variance of single-elimination basketball will do.
Milwaukee is next in the odds at +350. The Bucks host the New York Knicks in a quarterfinal, which is partially why the Knicks are viewed as the biggest longshot to win the tournament (+1600).
NBA In-Season Tournament odds
The quarterfinals take place on Monday and Tuesday. The Pacers will host Boston, and the Sacramento Kings will host the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday. In Tuesday’s games, the Bucks host the Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers host the Phoenix Suns.
The Celtics have the best record in the NBA, one game ahead of the Bucks in the Eastern Conference standings. The Kings are viewed as the favorite to make the final from the Western Conference, mostly because of the home game against the Pelicans. The Suns have won seven games in a row, all since Devin Booker got back from injury, but have to play at the Lakers.
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Milwaukee already has a win against the Knicks this season, while the Celtics hammered the Pacers by 51 earlier in November. The Pelicans and Lakers are both 2-0 against their quarterfinal opponents this season. The Pelicans beat the Kings twice in a few days less than two weeks ago, but both games were in New Orleans.
The Bucks and Lakers got the top seeds in each conference, but that doesn’t mean much beyond hosting a quarterfinal, which the top two seeds in each conference get. All four teams that went 4-0 in the group stage are hosting a quarterfinal.
After the quarterfinals, the semifinals and final are set to take place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The semifinals are set for Thursday, Dec. 7 and the final will take place on Saturday, Dec. 9.
Odds for the individual quarterfinal games are not yet out, but should come out late early on Sunday after all the teams involved in the quarterfinals finish playing on Saturday. No NBA games are scheduled on Sunday to avoid quarterfinalists having to play on back-to-back nights.
(Photo of Jayson Tatum: Danielle Parhizkaran / The Boston Globe via Getty Images)