NBA Perfect Ten (Week of December 4th)

There is finally a Final Four for the In-Season Tournament with the Bucks and Pacers representing the Eastern Conference and the Lakers and Pelicans representing the West. Where do those teams stack up in our Perfect Ten? Let’s dive into this week’s Perfect Ten.

Perfect Ten (Week of December 4th)

#10. Indiana Pacers (11-8) (+5000/+15000) - The Pacers have been the story of the In-Season Tournament. They have gotten more from less than most teams this season. Strengths: The skills of Haliburton have been on full display in front of a bigger stage in the In-Season Tournament. Weaknesses: Can this team defend enough to take down teams throughout the season? Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#9. LA Lakers (13-9) (+850/+1700) - The Lakers have the talent to win in the playoffs and that will likely be on display in Vegas in the In-Season Final Four. Strengths: LeBron looks like a man on a mission thus far. Weaknesses: It always comes down to health for this Lakers team, particularly James and Davis. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#8. Orlando Magic (14-6) (+5500/+18,000) - The Magic are young and feisty and are anxious to knock off quality teams. Strengths: This team has bench scoring, something most teams lack. Weaknesses: Orlando can be careless with the ball and that will cause problems over time. Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#7. OKC Thunder (11-5) (+2500/+6500) - The Thunder have depth and scoring Strengths: OKC keeps winning and keeps being overlooked. It is a winning formula thus far. Weaknesses: The specter of losing Giddey for any time looms over this team. Last Week’s Rank: 6th

#6. Philadelphia 76ers (12-7) (+600/+1300) - The Sixers are adjusting to a smaller rotation with Oubre still out. His return should bolster their attack. Strengths: Maxey looks like an All-Star this season while out from under Harden’s shadow. Weaknesses: Can the Sixers get through the season without a series of injuries to Embiid? Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#5. Phoenix Suns (12-9) (+350/+700) - Despite their controversial loss to the Lakers, the Suns are starting to look like the team many thought could contend in the West. Strengths: The Suns are proving to be more imposing in the paint than many people thought. Weaknesses: Will Beal every be fully healthy this season? Last Week’s Rank: 6th

#4. Denver Nuggets (14-7) (+225/+425) - The Nuggets survived Murray’s absence and got to see what they had with Jackson playing more minutes. Strengths: The return of Murray instantly elevates their offense. Weaknesses: Denver will need to add a hybrid guard that can give them defensive stops and knock down open threes for the playoffs. Last Week’s Rank: 5th

#3. Milwaukee Bucks (15-6) (+185/+425) - The Bucks ride into Vegas with eight wins in their last 10 games. Strengths: The Bucks have thrived playing up-tempo basketball through this streak. Weaknesses: The Bucks’ bench will need some pieces come playoff time. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#2. Minnesota Timberwolves (15-4) (+1200/+2800) - The Wolves averted disaster when Edwards' scary fall left him unscathed. Strengths: Defense, defense, and more defense. Even Edwards has gotten the defensive bug this season. Weaknesses: Depth is still a concern for this team, as well as consistency from Towns. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#1. Boston Celtics (15-5) (+155/+370) -Boston failed to advance to the In-Season Final Four thanks to a close loss to Indiana on the road without Porzingis. Strengths:The Celtics are starting to see more contributions from other members of their bench. Weaknesses: It will be interesting to see what the Celtics will have to part with to add a two-way guard off the bench, the team’s biggest need. Last Week’s Rank: 1st

Top-Five MVP Candidates:

At the start of January, I will begin to rank the Top Five MVP candidates on a weekly basis including their up-to-date odds to win the award. Last year, the odds and rankings shifted several times on the way to Joel Embiid claiming his first MVP award. There will likely be several shifts as well this year and I will be there to update you every step of the way while offering compelling arguments as to why you should jump in with a future bet if the odds are right.

In-Season Tournament Predictions:

Season Record 3-1: We had the Nuggets falling to the Suns last week but the champs delivered the knockout blow in a 119-111 win.

Indiana vs. Milwaukee 5 pm on Thursday

New Orleans vs LA Lakers at 10 pm on Thursday

The Bucks are likely to want to use this In-Season Tournament as a launching pad to prove they are the beasts of the East and not Boston. They can keep scoring pace with the Pacers and have more ability to make crucial stops. The Bucks will prevail in the East.

The Lakers, like the Bucks, may want to prove something by winning the In-Season Tournament. For two games in Vegas, I think Davis and LeBron can be at their best. The Lakers will roll into the Tournament Final.

  • In parenthesis, conference odds and finals odds. Player MVP props are also in parenthesis. All odds Courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.