The 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend is upon us and it should be an entertaining few days for fans of NBA betting. The backdrop of the weekend will be LeBron James recruiting stars to help his cause with the Los Angeles Lakers next season. In the meantime, we have a three-point contest, dunk competition and All-Star Game to handicap. Here are our picks for each event:
NBA Betting: All-Star Weekend Picks
The three-point contest is going to be a competitive event as there are 10 players in the mix. Not surprisingly, Steph Curry (+215) is the favorite. He makes an impressive 5.1 threes per game and can probably win this in his sleep.
In terms of players I would avoid, Devin Booker (+450) would be at the top of the list. While he won the event last year, nobody has gone back-to-back since Jason Kapono in 2007 and 2008. That was the first time in 15 years that happened, so I don’t think Booker is the play here. Also, keep in mind that his 32.5% three-point field goal percentage ranks him 129th this season.
If I’m taking a shot here, I’ll go with Joe Harris (+450). Not only does he have the best three-point field goal percentage of anyone in the field (47.1%), he’s on fire right now. He’s made 54.8% of his threes in February, so he’s on fire right now.
Pick: Take Harris at +450 at 888Sport
The dunk competition is usually the hardest of the three events to handicap. While we can use a little bit of intel to pick a winner for the three-point contest and some (very) basic handicapping for the All-Star game itself, the dunk contest is a bit of a crapshoot.
At this event, we’re looking at Dennis Smith Jr. (+150), who is the favorite, John Collins (+250), Miles Bridges (+275) and Hamidou Diallo (+400).
Diallo is has some athleticism as most Kentucky graduates do but he hardly plays. He’s played more than 10 minutes in a game just once in the last 11 games and has spent time in the G League this season. Without seeing much from him, it’s hard to bet him.
Bridges plays for Charlotte and will have the hometown audience behind him, but that might not be an edge. The last player to win the dunk contest in their home arena was Blake Griffin when he won in 2011 as a member of the Los Angeles Clippers.
Smith Jr. can jump out of the gym and has really come to life since the Dallas Mavericks traded him to the New York Knicks . He’s averaging 17.0 points per game in seven games after posting just 12.9 with Dallas. I’m guessing it’s down to him and John Collins. I’m going to be on the latter. He’s blossomed this year as a player but few people know about him as of yet as he plays for the Atlanta Hawks, who are a forgotten team. This will be his coming out party.
Pick: Take Collins at +250 at 888Sport
There is some added intrigue to the All-Star Game this year based on what is expected to happen in the offseason. There are a slew of superstars who are expected to be on the move – players like Kevin Durant (free agent), Anthony Davis (trade) and Kyrie Irving (player option).
There has been rampant debate over who will join LeBron James in Los Angeles with the Lakers as he tries to chase another ring. Leading up to this year’s trade deadline, there was borderline tampering as the Lakers tried to acquire Anthony Davis via trade. With all of that as the backdrop, the All-Star Game adds some spice to the flavoring as James is one of the two team captains and selected a slew of these players that could end up joining.
James selected Durant with his first pick, then added Irving and Kawhi Leonard – who can also opt out of his contract. He later added Davis too, who has told the New Orleans Pelicans he’d like to be traded and reportedly wants to play with the Lakers. That means we’ll get a sneak-peek at what the future Lakers might look like.
As for the other team, Giannis Antetokounmpo was the captain and will have the likes of Steph Curry, Joel Embiid, Paul George and Kemba Walker on his squad.
In terms of handicapping this game, we don’t have much to go on. In the previous East-West format, the West had won three straight and six of seven. Last year, they switched to the team captains format and Team LeBron beat Team Stephen 148-145.
I’ll bet on Team LeBron as it seems slightly better constructed. Giannis drafted three centers for some reason and has Embiid, Nikola Jokic, Nikola Vucevic and Dirk Nowitzki. That’s four seven-footers in total and they’ll probably struggle against the athleticism of James, James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Durant and Leonard.
Pick: Take Team LeBron (-6) -108 at 888Sport