NBA All-Star Weekend: Best Bets, Includes 3-Point Contest Sleep Picks and All-Star Game MVP

The NBA loves to mess with the All-Star format. In 2018, the league shifted away from an old East vs. West format that had dictated rosters in favor of two captains who pick teams through the draft. Two years later, she embraced Elam Ending to make the last moments more competitive. The game itself hasn’t seen any significant changes this season, but the All-Star Weekend as a whole has two big ones:

These adjustments were made in favor of the league. The NBA not only wants to create the best possible All-Star product, but also wants to gauge fan interest in these ideas in general for potential use in other regions. An unintended side effect is its effect on bettors. To some extent, every All-Star weekend recently has forced the betting community to fly blind. There is not a broad sample of winners to be studied at every event.

So to help prepare you for this weekend action, we have put together a betting guide for all the All-Star events. It’s notoriously hard to bet the Slam Dunk competition when considering the self-recorded nature of it, but we’ve covered all the other major All-Star events below.

rising stars

We’ve got four teams on the field this season and no common themes to explain the rosters, so first thing, let’s cover who’s playing for whom:

Barry’s team: Kid Cunningham, Detroit Pistons (Junior), Dyson Daniels, J-League Ignite, Evan Mobley, Cleveland Cavaliers (Junior), Isaac Okoro, Cleveland Cavaliers (2nd year student), Alperin Sejon, Houston Rockets (rookie), Jessian Tate, Houston Rockets (second year), Franz Wagner, Orlando Magic (junior)

Isiah team: Precious Achiwa, Toronto Raptors (student), Desmond Payne, Memphis Grizzlies (student), Sadiq Bay, Detroit Pistons (student), Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves (student), Therese Halliburton, Sacramento Kings (second year), Jaden Hardy, J-League Ignite, Isaiah Stewart, Detroit Pistons (sophomore)

Payton team: Lamelo Ball, Charlotte Hornets (second-year student), Scotty Barnes, Toronto Raptors (junior), Ayo Dosunmo, Chicago Bulls (junior), Scott Henderson, J-League Ignite, Jaden McDaniels, Minnesota Timberwolves (student), Davion Mitchell, Sacramento Kings (Junior), Jonathan Kuminga, Golden State Warriors (Junior)

worthy team: Cole Anthony, Orlando Magic (college student), Margon Beauchamp, J-League Ignite, Josh Giddy, Oklahoma City Thunder (junior), Galen Green, Houston Rockets (junior), Herbert Jones, New Orleans Pelicans (junior), Therese Maxi, Philadelphia Seventy Sixers (year two), Jalen Suggs, Orlando Magic (junior)

Choose: Barry Team (+260). There is some value to have with Team Worthy, who has the lowest odds at +350, but I’m taking Team Barry for a very simple reason. Most young players are bad defenders. This applies to those teams, who largely have two promising players at the end of the floor on the roster that will struggle to a great extent. Barry’s team is the best equipped to really get stopping points. Sengun is the only defensive issue on this list, but Mobley’s presence should cover that well. All four teams should be able to score, so the fact that only one team looking defensively sound is unfavourable offers little value here.

All possibilities courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

Skills Challenge

  • Ravens team -125
  • Cavs Team +220
  • Antetokounmpo Team +350

Choose: Team Ravens (-125). The National Basketball Association prioritized a compelling narrative over its competitive product when it renewed the Skills Challenge. As fun as it would be to watch the Antetokounmpo family work together here, the shooting is an important part of the skill challenge coordination. That was never their strong suit. A Cleveland team built around two big guys, one of whom in Garrett Allen is basically overwhelmed, faces similar but less serious problems. This makes Team Rooks, built around three ocean players, one of the best bets on the board this weekend.

3 point competition

Choose: Karl-Anthony Towns (+1200). No trend really emerged among the winners of the 3-point competition because the group tends to be fairly homogeneous. The NBA brings together the best shooters and one of them happens to be hotter than the others on that particular day. Shots are wide open, so release time and ball handling aren’t as important as they would be in gameplay, and there’s no way to gauge how comfortable a player will be to pull the ball off the rack beforehand because there’s no such thing as an in-game mode. So instead of picking a winner, I’m taking a slightly different approach here. Let’s take a look at how all of our competitors are shooting at 3 wide slots this season.

Do you see any discernible pattern in that data? I do not. There may be meaningful gaps between these shooters if we evaluate them on a longer sample, but it’s worth noting that all of these players are here for a reason. The gap between the third best player in the NBA and the thirteenth, for example, isn’t particularly great…but the difference in odds here is rather big. Do I think Towns will win? Mostly not. But the odds are that Mills’ favourite, he probably won’t. Payments to cities are almost three times greater. Without a huge winning probability gap, I suggest you take a long shot or two here and go for the windfall.

All star game

  • Durant Team +180 | Team LeBron -220 | O / U 321.5 | Spread: LeBron -5.5 / Durant +5.5

Choose: Team Durant +5.5. Picking up against LeBron feels irresponsible. He’s undefeated in the All-Star Project era. His team, on paper, is much better than the one that Kevin Durant penned. Durant himself does not even play. If these two lists played a series of seven matches with real bets, I have no doubt that LeBron’s team would win with minimal difficulty.

But this is not a series of seven games. It is a highly non-competitive show game that is played between two teams filled with the best NBA players. This creates a high contrast environment that makes giving six points an enormous risk. Even if LeBron’s team has won his last four All-Star games, he has covered the six-point difference only twice. Look at it this way: We can broadly say, given the lack of effort put into most of this game, that this game has four possible outcomes that have relatively probabilities of becoming a reality. If the LeBron wins in a blast, so be it. But if Team Durant wins a big hit, Team Durant wins a close match or Team LeBron wins a close match, you win that bet. I love those possibilities.

All-Star Game MVP

  • Giannis Antikonmo +400
  • Joel Embiid +550
  • LeBron James +600
  • Stephen Curry +800
  • Ja Morante +850
  • Luka Doncic +1500
  • Nikola Jokic +1500
  • Demar DeRozan +1600
  • Jason Tatum +2000
  • Devin Poker +2500
  • Tra Young +2500
  • Lamelo Ball +2500
  • Chris Paul +3000
  • Darius Garland +3000
  • Jimmy Butler +3000
  • Donovan Mitchell +3000
  • Fred Van Fleet +4000
  • Andrew Wiggins +5000
  • Zach Lavigne +5000

Choose: Giannis Anticonmo (+400). Antetokounmpo has won an All-Star MVP only once, but judging by his numbers, it would be almost irresponsible not to bet on it. Over the past three All-Star games, he has averaged 32.7 points for 75 percent of shooting with just under 10 rebounds and four assists. As a reminder… this is an all-star game. Nobody plays enough minutes to average numbers like this. The Jeans did it because it’s an all-star game. Think about how easy he can do actual NBA games with his height and athletic style. In matches that don’t require maximum defensive effort, he’ll easily sink into the night.

All-Star Game MVP Sleeper

Choose: Nikola Jokic (+1500). This leaves us with seven potential candidates. We’ve already covered Antetokounmpo. All-star games offer him similar fertile ground. There will be plenty of easily dunks for him. Given the quality of his teammates and the poor defense his opponents will play, he is sure to also end up with some assists. There is some danger here with Joel Embiid defending him. Given their position as the top players on the list of top players, Embiid might want to prove a point by playing Jokic hard at the All-Star Game. But the value here is absolutely insane. Jokic might be the best player in the NBA and his game is tailor made for the all-star setup.

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