How the NBA In-Season Tournament Works and Why It’s Great for Sports Bettors

  • The new tournament will count toward standings (minus the championship)
  • Eight teams advance out of Group Play to a single-elimination knockout
  • Players on the top four teams will reach receive cash prizes up to $500,000
NBA in-season tournament
In good news for sports fans and bettors alike, the NBA is making history by launching an in-season tournament.

The start of something new

One of the headlines of the imminent return of NBA action is the addition of a brand-new in-season tournament, unlike anything known in major American sports.

the first time that many Americans have ever seen such an arrangement

Only the MLS of America’s Major Leagues has an in-season competition separate from the regular-season schedule. This will be the first time that many Americans have ever seen such an arrangement, and the reception has been mixed at best.

So what exactly will the new NBA in-season tournament look like, and what does it mean for sports bettors? VegasSlotsOnline News has the answers.

Not the first

This is the second time in the last four years that the NBA has added some sort of tournament to its calendar. The first was in the 2019/20 season when it debuted the play-in to determine which two of four possible teams from each conference would qualify for the postseason.

The play-in tournament was also mostly met with overwhelming disapproval but has surprisingly become a big hit. There are still a few kinks to work out, such as whether the stats count towards regular or postseason (right now, they are considered neither), but the idea has made the postseason even more competitive than it was before.

The new NBA in-season tournament will take place about five months earlier and will run from November to December.

Details at a glance

Who: Every team

When: Tuesdays and Fridays (November 3-November 28) until the knockout

Group Play: Five teams in six groups play each other once

Knockout: Single-elimination, eight-team bracket

All 30 teams will be randomly sorted into six groups of five based on their conference and record from the previous regular season. The teams will play each team in their group once, and those that finish atop their group will advance to a single-elimination bracket called the knockout, along with two wild cards (one team from each conference that had the best record amongst second-place finishers).

This is nearly identical to how popular soccer competitions such as the FIFA World Cup and UEFA Champions League work. Soccer is the most popular sport in the world and is used to having several in-season competitions, which gives the NBA’s idea solid ground to stand on.

Group play games will be played every Tuesday and Friday

Every game in the in-season tournament counts towards the team’s regular-season record except for the championship. Group play games will be played every Tuesday and Friday (aside from Election Day) until the knockout field has been filled. 

The NBA will announce a tournament MVP and all-tournament team after the championship game.

New opportunities for sports bettors

While the league’s new brainchild is not guaranteed to succeed, it will add a new wrinkle for sports bettors, who are going to have an entirely new way to bet on the NBA.

Aside from the typical major markets (spread, moneyline, and points totals) and standard player props, bettors will likely be able to wager on new markets.

bettors will be charged with picking which team will find the most success

Using the examples above, sportsbooks during the World Cup and Champions League allow users to wager on which team will win their respective groups. The NBA determines group results strictly by which team has the best record, so bettors will be charged with picking which team will find the most success against their four group opponents.

The stage of elimination is also common in other competitions with similar formats. In this market, bettors can predict the point at which a team will be removed from the tournament, whether that be in group play, the quarterfinal, semifinal, or championship.

There are also a host of individual markets, such as which player will win MVP or which player will score the most points. It’s possible sportsbooks may look at adding an all-tournament team market since the league will select one.

The inaugural NBA in-season tournament begins on November 3 and will wrap up at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 9. Members of the winning team will receive $500,000 each, runner-ups will receive $200,000 each, and players on teams that lose in the semifinal will receive $100,000 each. 

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