NBA All-Star Odds, Picks & Predictions: Our Staff’s Favorite Bets for Team Durant vs. Team LeBron (February 20)
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images. Pictured: LeBron James #23 at the 70th NBA All-Star Game.
Team Durant vs. Team LeBron Odds
|Team Durant Odds||+5.5|
|Team LeBron Odds||-5.5|
|Time||Sunday, 8 p.m. ET|
Team LeBron has gained a reputation of being unbeatable in the All-Star Game. LeBron James’ team is riding a four-game win streak entering this contest and the line on this game has bounced around between 5.5 and 6 points.
Our crew of NBA analysts break down how they plan to bet Sunday night’s All-Star Game, including their picks to win MVP. Read on for their best bets.
NBA All-Star Picks
The All-Star draft is entertaining, but it’s giving us some wildly lopsided rosters. There’s no question which team is more talented here. Look at the best six players in this game.
It’s LeBron, Giannis, Jokic, Steph, Embiid, and Luka, in some order and a sizable drop off after that since guys like Harden, Brow, Dame, and PG are missing. Five of those top six are on the same team. LeBron is a terrible GM for 364 days a year, but the man knows how to build an All-Star team.
I love Team LeBron – but I don’t necessarily want to bet the -6 cover, and I’m sure as heck not paying 2-1 on the moneyline in an exhibition. The All-Star Game is always a game of runs and spurts with plenty of scoring. I’ll wait to bet Team LeBron live when I get close to even odds (or better) on the moneyline. No way LeBron suffers the indignity of losing an All-Star Game to a team starting Andrew Wiggins and Trae Young.
The MVP will almost certainly come from the winning team, so that means I need to back someone from Team LeBron. When it comes to ASG MVP, I’m always looking for the guy who will most easily rack up easy counting stats. I want a guy who will actually try, and probably a big man who will gobble up rebounds and easy second chance points.
That makes Giannis Antetokounmpo an easy choice. Giannis can score 25-plus in his sleep in a game like this, just sitting under the rim scooping up rebounds on yet another missed jumper and dunking it home.
He won it last year, and we get a lot of repeat winners in this event. Let’s go for two in a row. I grabbed him at +750, so some of the value is lost, but his odds vary depending on the book so get the best number.
LeBron just does not lose this event. Ever since he can draft his All-Star team he just dominates and this team is significantly better than Team Durant, especially considering Kevin Durant is not even playing.
I get that a 6-point spread is kind of crazy in a game with this type of format, but if they get out to a big enough lead, the way this game is structured with the ‘Elam Ending’ it may actually make it easier to cover the number.
Since I’m backing Team LeBron, I will be picking my MVP from that team. Although Luka is not a starter, I think it might make it easier for him to win MVP because he will realistically be the best player on the floor when it’s all reserves.
He can stuff the box score from all angles and he’s obviously a fan favorite. When he gets hot, there are few others that are as captivating in the NBA. I got him at 15-1 odds, but at his current number I’d definitely still bite.
: In the three years since the All Star Break has moved away from the East vs West format to the new format in which the two players with the most All Star Votes get to select their teams, Team LeBron has won all three matchups.
This is a testament to the GM skills of LeBron James, at least during the All Star Game where he’s not trading three rotational pieces KCP, Kyle Kuzma and Montrezl Harrell for the corpse of Russell Westbrook.
All jokes aside, James is just flat out better at picking teams for this competition and it certainly shows here where he’s built a starting lineup with himself in addition to Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic and DeMar Derozan.
He arguably has the three of the top five players in basketball in his starting roster and when you factor in that Team Durant won’t have Kevin Durant who is out with an injury, this is clearly a mismatch and thus it’s no surprise to see this spread at -6.
Still, during an All-Star game it’s tough to lay 6 points in a game that neither side will truly take seriously and with the Elam Ending it’s not ideal to lay points. Nonetheless, I recommend waiting for Team LeBron to go down and then live bet them.
All that said, since the Most Valuable Player Award typically comes from the winning team, I’m going to go with DeMar Derozan to win the Award as he’s in the midst of one of the best seasons of his career. He’s averaging 28.1 point per game on 51.7% shooting along with 5.1 assists and 5.2 rebounds.
His mid range jumper has been reminiscent of Michael Jordan and the late great Kobe Bryant whom the All Star MVP Award is named after. As one of the proteges of Bryant, this feels like an Award Derozan would love to go for.
With James, Antetokounmpo and Curry unlikely to go all out for the Award, and Jokic just not having the flash to get it, I’ll run with Derozan to put up the points and highlight dunks needed to capture the All Star Game MVP.