Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks Favorites in NBA’s In-Season Tournament

Posted on: December 4, 2023, 11:36h. 

Last updated on: December 9, 2023, 02:44h.

The Boston Celtics (+300 odds) and Milwaukee Bucks (+340 odds) are the top two betting favorites to win the inaugural NBA In-Season Tournament.

Jayson Tatum Jaylen Brown Boston Celtics
Forward Jayson Tatum (0) and guard Jaylen Brown (7) from the Boston Celtics are seen at a recent game at TD Garden in Boston. (Image: Getty)

Eight teams qualified for the tournament’s knockout stage, which is single elimination, and begins Monday night with the quarterfinals.

The semifinals take place in Las Vegas on Thursday, and the championship game is slated for Saturday night in Sin City.

NBA In-Season Tournament Odds

Boston Celtics +300
Milwaukee Bucks +340
Los Angeles Lakers +550
Sacramento Kings +550
Phoenix Suns +650
New Orleans Pelicans +1200
Indiana Pacers +1300
New York Knicks +1400


The Indiana Pacers (10-8) host the Celtics (15-4) Monday night, and the Bucks (14-6) host the New York Knicks (12-7) Tuesday night on the Eastern Conference side of the In-Season Tournament bracket.

The Sacramento Kings (11-7) host the New Orleans Pelicans (11-10) Monday night, and the Los Angeles Lakers (12-9) host the Phoenix Suns (12-8) Tuesday night on the Western Conference side of the bracket.

Boston Celtics +300

The Celtics currently have the best record in the NBA, with a .789 winning percentage. They’re the consensus favorite to win the NBA Championship at +370 odds.

The new-look Celtics have the second-best defense in the Eastern Conference, allowing only 107.4 points per game. The team is anchored by the dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum (27.4 points per game) and Jaylen Brown (21.8 points per game).

The Celtics acquired center Kristaps Porzingis in a trade this off-season, and the “Unicorn” is averaging 18.9 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. Porzingis is currently sidelined with a calf injury and isn’t expected to play in the In-Season Tournament.

The Celtics exploded for 155 points in a victory against the Pacers in early November, their only meeting this season.

Milwaukee Bucks +340

The Bucks are led by their dangerous dynamic duo of Giannis Antetokounmpo (29.9 points per game) and Damian Lillard (25.5 points per game). In their first season under rookie head coach Adrian Griffin, the Bucks are the third-highest-scoring team (121.1 ppg) in the NBA this season.

The Bucks’ bench is a little thin while forward Jae Crowder recovers from surgery to repair a stomach/core injury.

The Bucks won their group and host the visiting Knicks on Tuesday. They have a 9-1 record on their home court this season. Meanwhile, the Knicks are the best defensive team in the league.

LA Lakers +550

The banged-up Lakers posted a perfect 4-0 record in group play and host the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night in Hollywood.

LeBron James turns 39 years old at the end of the month, and he leads the Lakers with 24.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 6.4 assists per game. A healthy Anthony Davis is averaging 22.9 points, 12.5 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks per game.

Point guard D’Angelo Russell has emerged as the Lakers’ third-best scorer, averaging 171. points per game. Russell maintains his focus despite the swirling trade rumors involving both Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan from the Chicago Bulls.

Sacramento Kings +550

The Kings were the surprise team in the NBA last season and secured the #3 playoff seed in the Western Conference. They’re looking to build upon last season’s success with a victory in the first In-Season Tournament.

Point guard De’Aaron Fox is having an MVP-like season, and he’s the NBA’s fourth-best scorer. Fox averages 30.3 points per game, and he’s shooting a career-high 37% from 3-point range.

Big man Domantas Sabonis averages a double-double with 18.6 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 6.9 assists per game. Shooting guard Malik Monk is making a good argument to become the Sixth Man of the Year, with 14.4 points per game, including 41.3% from 3-point range.

Phoenix Suns +650

The Suns have probably the most dangerous one-two punch in the Western Conference, with Kevin Durant (31.0 points per game) and Devin Booker (27.9 points per game). Booker has been slowed down by a sprained ankle, but he dropped 34 points in his first game back on Saturday.

The Suns won’t have All-Star guard Bradley Beal this week. Beal appeared in only three games this season before he was sidelined with a back injury. He wanted to make a bigger impact since joining the team in an off-season trade with the Washington Wizards.

The Suns are only 5-5 at home this season, but they have one of the best road records in the NBA this season at 7-3. They visit LA on Tuesday to play the Lakers in the quarterfinals.

New Orleans Pelicans +1200

The Pelicans know their fate is tethered to the health status of Zion Williamson. The All-Star power forward missed 53 games last season with a hamstring injury but has avoided the injury bug so far this season. Williamson leads the Pelican with 23.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game while shooting 56.7% from the floor.

Small Forward Brandon Ingram was hampered last year by a toe injury, but he’s looking good this season while averaging 23.4 points per game.

The Pelicans won’t have veteran shooting guard C.J. McCollum in the lineup for the In-Season Tournament. McCollum is still recovering from a collapsed lung.

Indiana Pacers +1300

The Pacers are the highest-scoring team in the NBA this season (128.8 ppg), which makes them must-see TV. The points total overhit in 16 out of 18 games for the Pacers this season.

The Pacers are only 10-8 this season because they have a porous defense that allows a league-worst 125.9 points per game.

Eight Pacers players are averaging double digits in scoring for the high-octane Pacers, and six players are averaging at least 12.7 points per game. Point guard Tyreese Haliburton leads the Pacers with 27.0 points and 11.8 assists per game.

The Pacers went 4-0 in group play and host the Celtics tonight. The quarterfinal game is expected to be a shootout, with 242.5 over/under.

New York Knicks +1400

The Knicks are the fifth-best team in the Eastern Conference this season, which they pulled off with all-star forward Julius Randle at 70%. Randle underwent ankle surgery in the off-season, and he’s been slow to recover.

Point guard Jalen Brunson has been cooking in his second season with the Knicks and leads the team with 24.9 points per game.

Shooting guard RJ Barrett (18.6 ppg) has battled migraines, which kept him out of a few games this season. Barrett is expected to play in the In-Season Tournament.

Head coach Tom Thibodeau is a defensive guru, and it’s no surprise that the Knicks boast the best scoring defense in the NBA, allowing only 105.5 points per game.

The Bucks defeated the Knicks in their only meeting this season. But Brunson erupted for 45 points in a losing effort.