NBA All-Star Weekend Preview

The NBA All-Star Game has once again undergone a format change, with this year’s installment between Team LeBron and Team Giannis featuring three mini-games across the first three quarters as part of an ongoing tribute to Kobe Bryant. Here are the details to know:

  • The score will be 0-0 to begin each of the first three quarters, with a winner determined at the conclusion of each quarter
  • Each team’s cumulative total score from the first three quarters will be tallied before the fourth quarter, with 24 points getting added to the leading team’s score to create the “Final Target Score”
  • Whichever team reaches the Final Target Score first in an untimed fourth quarter wins the game

A bit convoluted? In a word … yes. But with the best players in the world to watch, there will be plenty of entertainment on Sunday night. And that’s to say nothing of All-Star Saturday, which has been known to create more buzz than the All-Star Game itself. Following is a quick betting primer for all things All-Star Weekend.

Skills Competition
The Field:
Patrick Beverley, Domantas Sabonis, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, Spencer Dinwiddie, Pascal Siakam, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Fun Fact: The last five winners were all participating in their first skills challenge; conversely, three participants in this year’s challenge are previous winners of the event.
Player To Watch: Gilgeous-Alexander (+450) is both a debutant in the Skills Challenge and in the first four years of his NBA career, two key bellwethers in the recent-winner history of this event.

Three-Point Contest
The Field:
Devonte’ Graham, Zach LaVine, Duncan Robinson, Trae Young, Buddy Hield, David Bertans, Joe Harris, Devin Booker
Fun Fact: Four of the last six winners made the second round of the playoffs the year prior, while five of the last six winners have come from the West.
Player To Watch: Robinson (+550) does one thing and one thing only: fires away from deep. The second-year sharpshooter is just under 44% from downtown this season and has been on a tear this month, averaging nearly five treys per game. Robinson has strong value for a contest that’s now wide open after favorite Damian Lillard pulled out.

Slam Dunk Contest
The Field:
Dwight Howard, Derrick Jones Jr., Pat Connaughton, Aaron Gordon
Fun Fact: Guards have won seven straight slam dunk contests, with shooting guards winning six of those.
Player To Watch: This is shaping up as a race between Gordon and Connaughton. Gordon is widely expected to take it down, but don’t sleep on Connaughton, who has major hops.

All-Star Game Props To Target
Kemba Walker Over 14.5 Points (-130):
Team Giannis may have length, but the one thing it’s lacking are creators. As a starter, Walker will get good run and have the ball in his hands a bunch, so he doesn’t figure to lack in shot attempts. He should clear this number fairly comfortably.

4th Quarter Under 49.5 Total Points (-110): With the new format, the only way there can be 50 points scored in the fourth quarter is if one of the teams is trailing by 3+ points heading into the fourth and comes back to win. Team LeBron has more talent and should be leading heading into the final quarter. It’s tough to see them blowing that lead, making the under a solid play here.

Kawhi Leonard MVP (+1500): This award typically goes to an alpha dog frontcourt player, and Leonard is just that. An aging LeBron is unlikely to dominate. Leonard is on the favored Team LeBron. His biggest threat other than King James is Anthony Davis.

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