NBA In-Season Tournament quarterfinals best bets
It's a unique day in the NBA. The inaugural In-Season Tournament has reached the single-elimination stage. Eight teams are competing in the quarterfinals. Two games are on Monday and two games are on Tuesday to determine who plays in the semifinals in Las Vegas on Thursday.
In-Season Tournament champion odds
The rest of the league will play consolation games Wednesday and Friday. Let's get to our best bets for Monday night's two quarterfinal matchups.
The Pacers score at a historically high rate, but they defend at an alarmingly poor level. The bad news for Indiana is the Celtics are one of the few teams who have the offensive firepower to keep up.
The Celtics also have the NBA's second-best defense and are elite at defending in transition, which could pose problems for the Pacers, who excel at scoring in transition.
Even without Kristaps Porzingis - who remains out with a calf injury - the Celtics are loaded. No one can shut down the Pacers' offense, but the Celtics have the ideal lineup to limit it. When these teams played Nov. 1, Boston won by 51 points. Don't expect that lopsided of a victory tonight; however, the Celtics should cruise to the In-Season Tournament semifinals.
The Celtics are the favorite to win the In-Season Tournament championship (+300) and Jayson Tatum is the favorite to win the tournament MVP (+550).
Pick: Celtics -5
Al Horford: Over 18.5 points and rebounds
Al Horford's workload has increased without Porzingis. He's moved into the starting center role while playing over 31 minutes per game. With Porzingis still out, Horford will play a huge role in protecting the paint and spreading the floor for Boston.
He's averaging 14 points over his last three games and collected at least 19 points and rebounds in all those games. He also shoots a ton of threes on a team that attempts the second-most threes in the league. Horford is shooting 36% from distance and has attempted at least four 3-pointers in each of the last three games.
The Pacers rank in the bottom eight in both opponent effective field-goal percentage and rebounding percentage.
Odds: -115 (playable to -130)
Pelicans team total: Over 115.5 points
The Pelicans scored at least 116 points in eight of their last 11 games. Their full team is healthy and their offense is starting to click with Zion Williamson playing at an All-Star level.
The Kings are four-point favorites at home, and while they will likely win, this should be a high-scoring affair. The Kings struggle defensively, allowing 116.7 points per game to opponents, the league's 10th-worst mark.
Williamson has never appeared in the playoffs and Brandon Ingram has little playoff experience. The In-Season Tournament should be a bigger priority for the Pelicans than for other, more experienced groups, creating extra motivation to put on a show.
Odds: -125 (playable to -140)
Sam Oshtry is a sports betting writer at theScore. You can follow him on X, formerly known as Twitter, @soshtry for more betting coverage.