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NBA In-Season Tournament a hit with sports bettors

The NBA's in-season tournaments have been hugely popular among sports bettors.

Bets on tournament elimination games increased three times compared to the average regular season game. According to Kambia sports betting technology and research company.

According to Kambi, the knockout stage of the tournament has featured six of the top 10 highest-stakes matches of the season so far.

Additionally, Kambi found that the seven games with IST losses saw an average increase in pregame bets of 191% and in-game bets of 164% compared to a typical regular season game.

The quarterfinal game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns had the most wagering of the tournament, surpassing the championship game between Los Angeles and the Indiana Pacers.

The Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks had the most bets to win the tournament. The eventual champion Lakers had the third-most tickets.


Los Angeles Lakers #3 Anthony Davis and #23 LeBron James spoke to the media after the in-season tournament championship game vs. the Indiana Pacers. NBAE (via Getty Images)

Los Angeles opened at +1400 and won the tournament. Before the knockout stage it was +550. The Celtics were the favorites until they lost in the quarterfinals to Indiana.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the player with the most bets on the tournament's MVP was LeBron James. Tyrese Haliburton of the Pacers was second most likely to win this award.

James entered the championship game as a -145 favorite to win the award, narrowly beating Haliburton at +130.


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Giannis Antetokounmpo, Anthony Davis and Jayson Tatum are among the top five bets for the MVP award.

The tournament also resonated with television viewers.

The championship game was the most-watched non-Christmas regular season game since February 2018. According to the NBA.

The league also reported that NBA League Pass average viewership increased 45% compared to the same period last season.

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