The NBA’s All-Star weekend comes to a close on Sunday night as the league’s best players take part in an exhibition at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. This year’s installment does not feature the best in each conference taking each other on. Instead, Stephen Curry and LeBron James were installed as captain. They chose their starters from a pool of 10 players named by fans, media and players, and then coaches voted for the reserves, and the two captains voted. Several players on both sides have withdrawn due to injury, but the final rosters are set. Sports betting on the NBA All-Star game is generally a risky proposition because of the overall lack of defense, but people who bet on the “over” often end up ahead. Take a look at our NBA odds preview.
2018 NBA All-Star Game Betting Preview & Prediction
— 2018 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) February 12, 2018
When: Sunday, February 18, 2018, 8:00pm ET
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles
Live Stream: WatchTNT
NBA All-Star Game Odds: TBA
Why should you bet on Team LeBron?
The starters are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving and DeMarcus Cousins. Cousins had to withdraw after blowing out an Achilles tendon, so the fifth starter will come from the reserve pool: LaMarcus Aldridge, Bradley Beal, Victor Oladipo, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love, Kristaps Porzingis and John Wall. My money is on Westbrook getting that fifth starting slot once the game begins.
This team has basically the best player in the world in LeBron, as he can play all five positions at an elite level. They also have the best big man in the league in Anthony Davis and two of the best point guards in Kyrie Irving and Russell Westbrook. Victor Oladipo has had a breakout season with the Pacers after an off year in 2016-17, and John Wall may be looking to use this game to make a statement by getting to the rim over and over again — which shouldn’t be that hard given the fact that teams don’t put as much effort in on defense in this exhibition.
Why should you put your money on Team Stephen?
The starters are Stephen Curry, James Harden, DeMar DeRozan, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid. The reserve pool includes: Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, Al Horford, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, Klay Thompson and Karl-Anthony Towns. Team Stephen has suffered no significant injuries heading into play, which means that they have had the advantage of being able to plan around a stable roster. Also, Curry’s top picks were able to come onto the team instead of having to take on substitutes, so one could argue that the talent level is slightly higher.
This team has a ton of shotmakers, particularly in Curry, Harden, Lillard and Thompson. Their frontcourt penetration shouldn’t be a problem, with the Greek Freak turning matchups into a real mess with his potential height on the point. Inside, Horford and Towns should be able to give Davis some limits — but Davis has shown that he can create inside in ways that these other two still have yet to show. The wild card may be Embiid, who still hasn’t shown that he has a real ceiling on what he can do when he has the ball. But the real question may come down to who you want taking the last shot.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
This game is likely to feature scoring at video-game style, and if you can get an over-under point total below 315, I would jump on that “over” right away. As far as picking one side to beat the other, that really comes down to which team has the players that will make the crucial shots down the stretch. I see Curry and Harden doing that more than I see LeBron, Irving and Durant making the big shots, so I’m predicting a wild finish to this game, with a final score of Team Stephen 164, Team LeBron 161.