The NBA In-Season Tournament is down to the final two teams, as the Indiana Pacers will take on the Los Angeles Lakers in the Championship game. This should be a great way to end the first year for the tournament, and we are here to break down the NBA In-Season Tournament Championship odds and give our best betting pick.
Indiana has been the surprise of the tournament, taking down the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks during group play to reach this stage. Meanwhile, the Lakers are coming off a demolition of New Orleans in the semifinals and will serve as the home team in this matchup.
According to the oddsmakers, the NBA In-Season Tournament Championship odds favor the Lakers , with the total sitting at .
The Championship game will tip off on Saturday, Dec. 9, at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC. If you are looking to make a bet on the Pacers vs. Lakers odds, take a look at our NBA In-Season Tournament Championship odds preview and predictions.
Indiana Pacers vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Pacers’ Offensive Brilliance
There is not much more to say about the Indiana Pacers other than that they are the top-scoring offense in the league, and they’ve been playing some great basketball lately. Obviously, we have to talk about Tyrese Haliburton’s dominance throughout the in-season tournament.
In the semifinals against Milwaukee, Haliburton scored 27 points on 11-of-19 shooting from the field and a dagger three-pointer with less than a minute left to clinch a spot in the Championship. He has already blossomed into a star player, but this tournament has really shined a light on how talented he is.
Haliburton is averaging 27 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 12.1 assists per game for the season. He is also shooting the ball better than ever, with a 52.5% shooting percentage from the field and 44.1% from beyond the arc.
However, it has not been all Haliburton, as the Pacers have the most explosive offense in the NBA. As a team, Indiana ranks first in scoring (128.4), shooting percentage (50.8%), shots made per game (48.1), and assists per game (30.2).
They also play with the fastest pace in the league, which should give them a slight edge against the Lakers. Los Angeles ranks in the top 10 in possessions per game, but they are not as effective shooting the ball as the Pacers are.
While Indiana still has problems defensively, they have stepped up when needed, especially during group play. As long as the offense continues to shoot the ball as well as they have, they’re in a good spot to win the first NBA In-Season Tournament championship.
Showtime in Las Vegas
After a couple of tight matchups, the Lakers ran New Orleans out of the gym in the semifinals and will now play in the championship game. Los Angeles improves to 6-0 in the tournament, and they have enough star power to match Indiana’s offensive brilliance.
While the Lakers are not as good at scoring, when you have LeBron James, you have as good a chance as anyone at winning. On the season, LeBron is putting up 25 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 6.6 assists per game. He also shoots the three very well this season, making 40.7% of his shots from beyond the arc.
During group play, LeBron has two 30-point performances, and he is getting a lot of help from his supporting cast, most notably from Anthony Davis. In the Lakers’ six tournament games, Davis averages 20.3 points and 12.1 rebounds per game.
The Lakers are also very healthy entering this game, which should help them keep up with a fast-paced Pacers team. However, while overall pretty solid, the defense struggles at times in transition. Indiana ranks second in fastbreak points per game, and Los Angeles ranks 21st in opponent points per game coming off turnovers.
Luckily, the Lakers’ defensive rating ranks second over the last five games, and they are one of the few teams that can keep up with Indiana’s quick tempo. If they continue to hit their shots and play solid defense, Los Angeles will have a good chance of winning this game.
Pacers vs. Lakers Prediction
Despite Indiana’s scary offense, the Lakers have a leg-up in this matchup. Los Angeles also plays with a quick tempo, and their defense is vastly superior. The Pacers’ defense ranks 29th in points per game (124.9), 20th in fastbreak scoring (14.3), and last in points in the paint (62.5).
Scoring against the Lakers’ defense will also be a challenge, as they have shut down their last two opponents, and they defend the paint very well, ranking 12th in points per game down low. Los Angeles’ main concern is keeping up with a highly effective offense.
While the Lakers are putting up 113.1 points per game this season, they do not shoot the ball all that well. Indiana can rack up the points and build a lead if they go into a slump. However, Los Angeles just has too much firepower.
The same can be said of the Celtics and Bucks, but as the old saying goes, you do not get rich betting against LeBron James. This should be a great game, but we will back the Lakers to win and cover the spread.
Pacers vs. Lakers betting Pick: Lakers
How to Watch Pacers vs. Lakers
Date: Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023
Puck Drop: 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: T-Mobile Arena – Las Vegas, NV
Where to Watch: ABC/ESPN2