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After a thrilling two days of NBA All-Star Weekend, it's time for the main event where the best basketball players in the world will share the court for the 71st NBA All-Star Game (ASG).
In 2018, the league moved away from the traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference matchup. Instead, the teams are chosen within a streetball-style draft between two captains. The captains are determined by the players in each conference who have the most fan votes. This year, the two captains are LeBron James (Team LeBron) and Kevin Durant (Team Durant). However, the latter will not participate in the game due to a knee injury.
The style of the game is different as well. The first three quarters will remain 12 minutes long, and the winning team at the end of each quarter will be rewarded a cash prize to go to their selected charity. However, the fourth quarter will be untimed, and the teams will play to a target score. The target score is determined by taking the leading team's point total after three quarters and adding 24. For instance, if Team LeBron is beating Team Durant 110-100 heading into the fourth quarter, the winning score will be 134 points.
With that said, let's jump into my favorite bets for the NBA All-Star Game. All odds are reflective at the time of writing.
Best Bet #1 - Team Lebron -5.5 (-110 BetMGM)
There is not much use in crunching matchup numbers when it comes to the ASG, as effort is not always 100%. That said, where you can gain an edge is by assessing the trends and narrative surrounding the event, and this year, it happens that Team LeBron controls both of those.
LeBron has been the captain every year since this format came into play and has won the last four ASGs by a combined 39 points. The King may not be a strong general manager for his actual team, the Los Angeles Lakers, but he certainly knows a thing or two when it comes to the All-Star selection process. LeBron drafted nearly a perfect combination of perimeter shooters and slashers. Not to mention, he has two Cleveland Cavaliers on his roster, who will be eager to put on a show for their city.
Moreover, the kid from Akron is fired up to play an ASG in his birth state, claiming he is Cleveland's third All-Star. "Cleveland is very deserving of this platform and this moment," James said following the ASG practice. "I mean, they've got two All-Stars of their own in DG and the big fella, Jarrett Allen. And they've got another guy in the All-Star Game, and that's me."
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Best Bet #2 - Stephen Curry to win MVP (+1000 DraftKings)
The ASG MVP not only goes to the player on the winning team but it is primarily given to a ball handler with the ability to wow the crowd with his ball-handling and ability to score in bunches. Since 1980, the ASG MVP has been awarded to a point guard more than any other position winning, as a PG has won it 12 times during that timeframe.
Voters also love to reward players who have ties to the city in which the game is being played. While the two Cavaliers, Allen or Garland, will likely not claim MVP honors, there are two other players connected to the state of Ohio. Many are aware that LeBron James is a native of Ohio, but Stephen Curry is also from the state; in fact, the two were born in the same hospital in Akron.
Not only does Stephen Curry fit the criteria to win this year's ASG MVP, but he may just have that extra percentage of motivation to remind the Cavailer fans what he did during the 2015-2018 Finals run. Take advantage and sprinkle a bit on the value we are getting on the two-time MVP having 10-1 odds.
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