2019 NBA All-Star Game Bets: Our Staff’s Favorite MVP, Spread and Over/Under Wagers
Photo credit: USAToday Sports. Pictured: Joel Embiid, Stephen Curry and Paul George
- The NBA All-Star Game will take place Sunday at 8 p.m. ET on TNT.
- Team LeBron is currently a 6-point favorite over Team Giannis, with the over/under set at 312.5
- Our staff gives their favorite bets for tonight's NBA All-Star Game, including MVP picks and whether there's value on either side or total.
Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis.
After an exciting Saturday night filled with Stephen Curry 3-pointers and dunks over Shaquille O’Neal, NBA All-Star Weekend will wrap with the All-Star Game.
Who is the best bet to take home MVP? Should you bet either team against-the-spread? Our staff dives into their favorite bets for tonight’s game…
All odds as of 11:30 a.m. ET.
Matt Moore: Paul George to win MVP (+800)
PG is likely to actually approach this one with serious intent, and that matters, for starters.
His MVP case is bolstered by his roster: George has James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Damian Lillard and LeBron as distributors on his team. With that roster makeup I immediately start looking for “who’s the tip of the sword?”
I don’t think any of those guys look for their own shots — most of them have All-Star MVPs already or the game isn’t built for their scoring approaches. (Harden can’t ISO for example; he’ll get frozen out.)
Stephen Curry’s the other serious option here, but at +800 with the chance for some truly amazing in-game dunks, I’ll take George as he continues his MVP spoiler role.
Matt LaMarca: Joel Embiid to win MVP (+1100)
This was really close for me between Embiid and Westbrook, and in most years I would side with Westbrook.
However, Kemba Walker is starting in Westbrook’s spot and may play in the pivotal final three minutes of the game (which, as we saw last year, was awesome and important for MVP discussions).
I don’t think stat-hunting is going to matter if Russ is on the bench when the game is decided.
So we come to Embiid. In just 20 minutes last year, he had great stats and memorable moments, and he plays to the crowd as much as any player. He is a starter and will absolutely be on the court for the “best 5 vs. best 5” closing stretch that defined last year’s game.
As a big man he’s at a little bit of a disadvantage because of the pace of the game, but last year — even in small minutes — he was incredible.
Bryan Mears: Paul George to win MVP (+800)
The MVP race is fairly difficult to predict given the amount of star talent on the floor. However, we can lean on some general trends over the years. First, it’s almost always lead ball-handlers who take home the award. Since 2005, 13 of the 15 MVPs were either guards or LeBron James and Kevin Durant — two ball-handling wings. The exceptions were Shaq in 2009 (co-MVP with Kobe) and Anthony Davis in 2017.
So, if we’re looking at just ball-handling starters, it’s Durant, Harden, Kyrie, LeBron, Giannis, Steph, PG and Kemba. Of those, the players with the best odds are PG at +800 and Kyrie at +900.
The latter has been dealing with an injury, whereas the other is as hot as a basketball player can get. In a career season five years after a gruesome injury that left many questioning whether he was done, this would be quite the story.
I’m in on PG for MVP.
John Ewing: Team Giannis +5.5
Why is Team LeBron favored by 5.5 points?
Team Giannis features four of the top-seven scorers in the league this season (Giannis, Stephen Curry, Paul George and Joel Embiid) and three of the five best players (Giannis, George and Curry) according to Kevin Pelton’s Wins Above Replacement Player (WARP) metric.
Further, in all exhibition games since 2005 (including the All-Star Game, USA vs. World All-Stars, Sophomore vs. Rookies and Summer League games), the underdog has gone 198-134-9 (59.6%) against-the-spread. I’m taking the points in this pickup game.
Matt LaMarca: Over 313 points
Last year was a big one for the All-Star Game. Fans have been complaining about the lack of defense for years, which put some serious pressure on the players to pick up the intensity. The number of points scored fell from 374 in 2017 to just 293 last season, and everyone was happy.
That said, there hasn’t been any talk about defense heading into this contest, so it wouldn’t shock me to see this contest revert to what we’ve seen in previous years. The game went over the current total in 2015, 2016 and 2017, so I’m willing to wager on last year’s result being a fluke.