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The Format

Group Stage

  • Group Stage will be played from Nov 3 – Nov 28

Stealing a page from MLS, and soccer leagues everywhere, the tournament kicks off with a Group Stage. The teams are split by conference, further broken down into three “Groups” each. Teams will ball out on Group “Tournament nights,” four games for each team, counting towards their Regular Season record. The top team from each group, alongside two “Wild Cards,” will advance to the Knockout Rounds.

NBA In-Season Tournament Standings: x – Clinched, w – wildcard, Strikethough – Eliminated

East Group A: (3) Philadelphia 76ers, (2) Cleveland Cavaliers, (4) Atlanta Hawks, (1) Indiana Pacers -x, (5) Detroit Pistons

East Group B: (1) Milwaukee Bucks, (W) New York Knicks, (3) Miami Heat, (5) Washington Wizards, (4) Charlotte Hornets

East Group C: (2) Boston Celtics, (3) Brooklyn Nets, (4)Toronto Raptors, (5) Chicago Bulls, (1) Orlando Magic

West Group A: (5) Memphis Grizzlies, (W) Phoenix Suns, (1) LA Lakers -x, (3) Utah Jazz, (4) Portland Trail Blazers

West Group B: (3) Denver Nuggets, (5) LA Clippers, (1) New Orleans Pelicans, (4) Dallas Mavericks, (2) Houston Rockets

West Group C: (1) Sacramento Kings, (3) Golden State Warriors, (2) Minnesota Timberwolves, (4) Oklahoma City Thunder, (5) San Antonio Spurs

In the case of ties, teams are differentiated by:

  1. Group stage head-to-head record.
  2. Point differential in Group Play.
  3. Total points scored in Group Play.
  4. Previous regular-season record.
  5. Random drawing if all else fails.

Knockout Stage

  • Quarterfinals are on Dec 4 & 5, with the Semifinals on Dec 7 and the Championship on Dec 9.

Eight teams will advance to the Knockout Rounds. These games will be single-elimination in the quarterfinals, played on Dec 4 and Dec 5 through to the championship game. The two best Group Play performers will host the Quarterfinals, and the best respective team will host their corresponding wild card games. The qualifying teams compete for a yet-to-be-disclosed prize pool and the new tournament trophy, the NBA Cup.

Betting The NBA Cup

Outright Tournament Winner

As predicted by the Crew, your Los Angeles Lakers are the inaugural IST Champions, and we cashed in at +1300 odds. Remarkably, our dark horse pick for the tournament (made in Group Stage) made it to the finals. The Lakers beat the Pacers 123-109 on the back of a dominating performance from the new big three: LeBron, AD, and Austin Reaves. Who’s flu game rivaled Michael Jordans, at least according to the KIng.

Our Much Too Early Pick: LA Lakers (+1300) | Now: (+250)


Fade or Follow? Peep the odds and play with or against our picks at DraftKings.

Playing the Group

The Group Winners, and Wildcards, have been decided. We managed to go 2 for 3 on our picks, but fumbled our parlay.

Group Stage Results

Pacers (Group A winner)
Bucks (Group B winner)
Celtics (Group C winner)
Knicks (Wild Card)

Lakers (Group A winner)
Pelicans (Group B winner)
Kings (Group C winner)
Suns (Wild Card)

Our Original Picks: Parlay – DEN Nuggets (+160) MIL Bucks (+125) LA Lakers (+215)

Different bookies see different things. Compare and contrast the best licensed NBA Sportsbooks for the best odds. Oh yeah, and bet responsibly.

Betting the Knockouts

Knicks (East #4) at Bucks (East #1)
Celtics (East #3) at Pacers (East #2)
Suns (West #4) at Lakers (West #1)
Pelicans (West #3) at Kings (West #2)

Tournament Schedule


Mon., Dec. 4: Celtics at Pacers (+4.5)

  • Time: 7:30 PM ET
  • Watch: TNT
  • Our Pick: IND Pacers (+160)
  • Result: IND Pacers

Mon., Dec. 4: Pelicans at Kings (-4.5)

  • Time: 10:00 PM ET
  • Watch: TNT
  • Our Pick: SAC Kings (-185)
  • Result: NO Pelicans

Tue., Dec. 5: Knicks at Bucks (-3.5)

  • Time: 7:30 PM ET
  • Watch: TNT
  • Our Pick: MIL Bucks (-162)
  • Result: MIL Bucks

Tue., Dec. 5: Suns at Lakers (-2)

  • Time: 10:00 PM ET
  • Watch: TNT
  • Our Pick: Lakers (-130)
  • Result: LA Lakers


Thu., Dec. 7: Bucks vs. Pacers (5 p.m., ESPN)

  • Time: 7:30 PM ET
  • Watch: ESPN
  • Our Pick: IND Pacers (+145)
  • Result: Pacers

Thu., Dec. 7: Lakers vs. Pelicans (9 p.m., TNT)

  • Time: 8:00 PM ET
  • Watch: TNT
  • Our Pick: LA Lakers (-130)
  • Result: Lakers


Sat., Dec. 9: LA Lakers vs. IND Pacers (8:30 p.m., ABC)

  • Time: 8:30
  • Watch: ABC
  • Our Pick: Lakers

All odds are provided by DraftKings. Accurate as of Dec 6.

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Derek DaSIlva

Derek DaSilva is a hobby fighter turned betting addict, I mean enthusiast. After a few years of figuring out he can’t compete in the sports he loved, he decided to throw his money at them. He focuses on Boxing, MMA, football, and basketball  (in that order) and his claim to betting fame is losing a 9-team parlay by half a point and a f****** yard… I’ll never forgive you Nick Chubb. Editorial Promise