How Does the NBA In-Season Tournament Work?


Jul 10, 2023

This past Saturday, the NBA announced its newest endeavor, an in-season tournament.

The new format is relatively simple. Every team will play games divided by East and West, with each conference divided into three groups of five teams. These games will be part of the regular season, adding no additional games to the schedule. This should help alleviate concerns about overtaxing the players.

For example, if the Philadelphia 76ers play the Cleveland Cavaliers on November 3, that’s a group game. It’s as straightforward as that. This change might lead to key players like Joel Embiid participating in more games, which can only be positive for fans and bettors.

The winner of each group will advance, along with a wild card team from each conference, based on the best record or point differential. The final four will then duke it out in Vegas.

However, not everyone is thrilled with the new format. Critics argue it’s too complicated, with too much need for schedule checking. Furthermore, some suggest that the tournament is a distraction we don’t need, and its significance is doubtful as it’s happening early in the season.

Defenders of the new format argue that it’s a smart move to stimulate interest in the NBA earlier in the season, contrary to the traditional ‘Christmas start’ mindset. Additionally, the structure might motivate teams to put in more effort, addressing a significant critique of the NBA’s early-season play. Star players should also be enticed to participate in the tournament by the half-a-million-dollar incentive.

As for the betting odds, watch for changes as we approach the tournament. Be sure to check the regular season games designated as group games, as these could have a significant impact on the tournament outcomes and betting odds.

Despite the mixed feelings about the new format, one thing is for sure, the NBA continues to innovate, and it will be interesting to see how this in-season tournament unfolds.

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Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

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