It’s just an exhibition and the first three quarters look like an organized rec league game, but the NBA All-Star Game still matters a whole lot to the participants in it and to fans of NBA betting.
The NBA’s decision last season to move away from the West-East format and instead have the top two vote-getters from each conference draft teams worked wonders. The game was far more competitive, defense was played (yes, really) and the game came down to the final minute.
It was a far cry from the 48-minute unofficial dunk contest that took place the previous few seasons, and the response was positive. LeBron James won the MVP of that game, in part to his late-game heroics that included a defensive stop on Steph Curry to win the game.
Who will follow James as the next All-Star Game MVP on Sunday in Charlotte? We’ve got it all figured out with our five favorite bets.
Since 1951, there have been 14 instances of a player whose team is hosting the All-Star Game also winning MVP. It happened most recently in 2017 when Anthony Davis’ West teammates fed him all night, with the Pelicans forward setting an All-Star Game record with 52 points in New Orleans.
So it happens from time to time, and 14 occurrences is enough to call it a trend worth betting. Walker has been in Charlotte his entire eight-year career and will be a free agent this summer. This could be a last hurrah of sorts for the Hornets point guard, and he’s a streaky kind of shooter that could get hot in the up-and-down exhibition. He’s got excellent value at +1400 on 888Sport.com .
He’s LeBron James. It’s as simple as that. OK, here’s some more context. James is in his first season with the Lakers and missed five weeks with a groin injury in December and January. There’s a chance he takes it easy as he’s got some work to do to get the Lakers into the postseason once the break is over.
Then again, he could also go scorched earth in a game that plays to his liking while reminding the NBA what he’s still got in the tank. James has won the award three separate times and has averaged 24.5 points in 14 games. Never count out the world’s best player on a national stage. He’ll want to show he’s still King. It makes sense that he's the favorite at +350.
The league’s biggest stat padder (and we say that complimentary) playing in a game full of crazy stat lines is an obvious candidate for MVP. Westbrook won the All-Star Game MVP in both 2015 and 2016 after posting massive 41-point and 31-point outings, respectively. He probably could have won it a third straight season in 2017 when he scored 41 points in just 20 minutes, but it went to Davis in his 52-point outing.
He just set the NBA record with 10 consecutive triple-doubles, and if he’s able to accomplish that in the All-Star Game on Sunday – it’s only been done four times – then he’s going to get serious consideration. For that reason we like his +1600 odds on 888Sport.com.
Then again, Westbrook’s teammate might be the better Thunder bet. George has absolutely exploded in Year 2 in Oklahoma City and is an All-Star starter for the first time. He’s also playing his best basketball as the All-Star break approaches. In his last 12 games, George is averaging a whopping 36.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.
He’s shooting 49 percent from the field, 49 percent from deep and 85 percent from the free throw line. Quite simply he’s playing at an MVP level and has topped 43 points three times in that span. Scoring always means MVPs in the All-Star Game, and right now George is doing that as well as any player not named James Harden. Perhaps his magical season will include an All-Star Game MVP. Given you can get him at +1400 on 888Sport.com, his odds make a lot of sense.
Would you believe that Steph Curry, for all he’s accomplished the last six seasons, has never won an All-Star Game MVP? It’s true, and for no other reason it makes sense that Curry may gun for the award with the game taking place in his hometown of Charlotte. While players tend to feed the host player – as we mentioned in Kemba Walker’s odds – it also could happen with Curry here.
Oh, and he’s also the best shooter and is an absolute showman with some of the shots he hits, and he’ll be doing on a stage that rewards both. It’s only a matter of time until Curry decides to let it fly one of these years – he’s only topped 20 points in two of five All-Star Games – and there’s a chance it happens in front of friends and family alike. His +650 odds are fourth best among participants, which is great value considering he’s going to win eventually.
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