The NBA’s inaugural In-Season Tournament Group Play continues on Friday, November 10. All 30 teams are participating in six groups of five teams each. Every squad will play two home games and two contests on the road in the opening stage. After group play is complete, these teams will enter an eight-team knockout round.
Let’s look at the biggest matchups for sports bettors to keep their eyes on for Friday.
East Group C: Nets at Celtics
The Brooklyn Nets are 4-4 on the season but are 1-0 in the tournament after beating the Chicago Bulls 109-107 last week. The Celtics are the heavy favorite in this group but have yet to play a tournament game. Boston went on the road and beat the Nets 124-114 this week as a 10-point favorite. The Celtics have won nine of the last 10 head-to-head meetings against the Nets and are 7-2-1 ATS in those matchups. Although Boston has had a long string of dominance against Brooklyn, the Nets are 7-0-1 ATS, and Boston is 2-3-2 ATS this season.
Recommendation: Nets +11
West Group A: Lakers at Suns
When you look at this group that includes Utah, Memphis, and Portland, the Lakers and Suns have a great chance to advance to the knockout stage. Despite the expectations, both teams have battled with injuries, contributing to the Suns’ 4-4 overall start and the Lakers’ 3-5 record.
The Lakers beat the Suns 100-95 back on October 26, led by Anthony Davis with 30 points and 12 rebounds. Davis is questionable for Friday, and so is Suns star Devin Booker. The good news for Phoenix is that Kevin Durant will have Bradley Beal by his side after the former Washington Wizard scored 13 points in his season debut Wednesday. I’d keep an eye on Booker and Beal’s status in this one, but assuming that both Davis and Booker don’t play.
Recommendation: Suns -3
West Group B: Clippers vs Mavericks
The Clippers are on a three-game losing streak and will be playing their first tournament game against a Mavericks team that is 6-2 overall but 0-1 in tournament play. Los Angeles is 0-4, both straight up and against the number on the road this season. With the home-court advantage and desperation to avoid dropping to 0-2 in group play, I will back the Mavs.
Recommendation: Mavericks -2
West Group C: Thunder at Kings
The Thunder dropped their tournament opener last week against the Warriors. The Kings will be making their NBA In-Season Tournament debut. With the Spurs and Timberwolves rounding out this group, this matchup is pivotal for both sides and is close to a must-win for Oklahoma City. Monitor the injury report for this game, as De’ Aaron Fox is listed as a game-time decision.
The value here is on Oklahoma City.
Recommendation: Thunder +2.5