2020 NBA All-Star Game Betting: Rule Changes, Trends to Know for 2020
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #23 of Team LeBron and Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of Team Giannis
- The NBA is using a new set of rules for the All-Star Game on Sunday (8 p.m. ET, TNT)
- We examine these new rule changes and share against-the-spread and over/under betting tips for the All-Star Game.
The format for this year’s NBA All-Star Game (Sunday 8 p.m. ET, TNT) has changed from years past. The league has implemented new rules in hope of increasing the competition throughout the game.
This year, every quarter will be played for charity. The first three quarters will begin with a score of 0-0. The team that wins each quarter will receive $100,000 to donate to a charity of their choosing.
The fourth quarter will be untimed and the teams will play to a final target score. This means the game will end with a made basket or a made free throw. The final target score is determined by taking the leading team’s total score after three quarters and adding 24 points — in honor of Kobe Bryant.
For example, if the score after three quarters is 110-105. The final target score would be 134 points. So, the trailing team would need to score 29 points before the leading team scored 24 points in order to win the All-Star Game.
Historically, handicapping the NBA All-Star Game has been difficult because predicting player motivation for a pick-up game is nearly impossible. The NBA is hoping the rule changes give players extra incentives to perform for the fans.
I’m skeptical the league will get the desired result. In the past, players received $100,000 for winning the game. The added bonus of supporting a charity is nice but it probably won’t be enough to get the players to treat Sunday’s matchup like Game 7 of the NBA Finals.
With that in mind, I have identified the smartest approach to betting the 2020 NBA All-Star Game based on historical data. Using Bet Labs, these are the spread, moneyline and over/under trends bettors need to know before placing an All-Star Game wager.
Odds as of Thursday morning and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.
Sample size is an issue when analyzing the All-Star Game as we only have 15 games in our database, which makes it tough to draw meaningful conclusions. To resolve this issue, we can expand our sample by including all basketball exhibition games. This includes the All-Star Game, USA vs. World All-Stars, Sophomore vs. Rookies and Summer League games.
These contests are showcases for the players and league that rarely feature defense. In a game with questionable motivation, the team getting points has been undervalued. Since 2005, underdogs in exhibition games have gone 253-180-10 (58.4%) against the spread (ATS).
Team LeBron is a 4.5-point favorite in the All-Star Game as many believe he bested Giannis Antetokounmpo during the draft. But each team does feature a roster full of All-Stars. History suggest bettors shouldn’t be surprised if Team Giannis is able to cover.
When the underdog covers, it often wins the game outright in exhibition matchups. Since 2005, moneyline underdogs in these contests have gone 190-231-3 (45.1%) straight-up. A $100 bettor wagering on the dogs would have returned a profit of $8,983 for a 21.2% return on investment.
Team LeBron is a -200 favorite. Team Giannis is +170.
NBA teams are averaging 111.0 points per game, the most scoring the league has seen since the early 1980s. Offense has been on the rise the past decade and this has impacted the over/unders for the All-Star Game.
From 2005 to 2012 the average over/under for the All-Star Game was 265.5, but since 2013 the average has jumped to 315.2 points. Despite the rising totals the over in these games has gone 9-5. This follows the overall trend of overs being profitable in showcase games.
With defense an afterthought, overs have gone 238-199-6 (55%) in all exhibition games since 2005.
History suggests underdogs and overs are smart bets in the All-Star Game. Of course, with the rule changes, bettors may want to be cautious about blindly following these trends.