The NBA heads to the Windy City this weekend for the 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend.
The festivities begin with the celebrity game and Rising Stars Challenge on Friday while the Skills Challenge, Three-point Contest, and Dunk Contest will headline Saturday’s event. On Sunday, 24 of the league’s best players will face off in the 2020 All-Star Game with the players divided into Team LeBron and Team Giannis. This was the same team format last year and the selection process of drafting remained the same as well. However, the game will be played differently this year with the NBA making some tweaks in determining the winner of the contest.
The Kobe Tribute
From nba.com, “Each of the first three quarters will begin with the score of 0-0 and will last 12 minutes. At the start of the fourth quarter, the game clock will be turned off and a Final Target Score will be set. The Final Target Score will be determined by taking the leading team’s total cumulative score through three quarters and adding 24 points. Once the Final Target Score is set, the teams will play an untimed fourth quarter and the first team to reach the Final Target Score will win the NBA All-Star Game.”
So how does this work? According to the rules, the teams play three 12-minutes quarters and an un-timed four period. So for example, the cumulative score after three quarters is 100-90, then the Final Target Score is 124 points. To win the game, the team which reaches the score of 124 points wins the game. This means that the leading team will have to score 24 points to win the game while the trailing team will need to put up 34 points in the 4th period to be declared as winners.
The 24 points added is the league’s tribute to the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant whose last jersey number worn in the NBA was 24. Bryant, his daughter Gianna, and seven other people died in a helicopter accident late last month. Since his death, almost every sporting personality and league all over the world have given their respective tributes to Bryant. This is the NBA’s tribute to him during the 2020 All-Star weekend.
Moneyline Odds: Team LeBron -205, Team Giannis +175
Spread Odds: Team LeBron -5 (-119), Team Giannis +5 (-101)
Over/Under Odds: Over 299.5 -110, Under 299.5 -110
Odds from BetOnline as of 2/14/20
Betting on the Total
For charity, there will be a winner after each of the three 12-minute quarters. The winner will be the team with the higher score at the end of 12 minutes. A donation of $100,000.00 will be given to the winning team’s chosen Chicago-based charity per quarter, meaning a total of $300,000.00 of charity money will be up for grabs in the first three-quarters of the 2020 NBA All-Star game. At the end of the fourth period, the team which reaches the Final Target Score first will receive $200,000.00 for their chosen charity.
But when it comes to sports betting, there is only one winner and that is the team that finishes the game with the highest score. Since the 4th period will be un-timed and only at 24 points will be needed to win the game, this year’s All-Star game won’t be as high scoring as the previous ones. Last year, the final score was 178-164 in favor of Team LeBron. Through three quarters, Team LeBron scored a total of 132 points while Team Giannis put up 131. If we use last year’s scores as our guide, this year’s winning team will end up with 156 points and the loser with a lower score of course.
The total used in the over/under betting for the game is currently set at 307. If we use the 156 points for the winning team as our base for making our predictions, then the closest the loser could get will be at 155 points or the score of 156-155. Under this scenario, the total score would be 311. If you look at Team LeBron’s 2020 team, you have to like the OVER for this bet.
Prediction: Over 299.5
Who Will Win?
Last year, Team Lebron defeated Team Giannis by a winning margin of 14 points. In 2018, Team LeBron defeated Team Curry by three points. From 2013-2017, the winning margin in the All-Star game was at least five points and only six times since 2000 has the winning margin been fewer than five points.
This year’s spread is currently at five points so we will base our predictions on that number. When you take a look at LeBron James’ 2020 All-Star team, it’s pretty stacked. The starting line-up is composed of LeBron, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, James Harden, and Luka Doncic. Team Giannis will have Joel Embiid, Trae Young, Kemba Walker, Pascal Siakam and the Greek Freak himself. I mean Team Giannis is no pushover but Team LeBron is stacked with superstar power.
Going to the bench, LeBron’s team also has more star power with the likes of Nikola Jokic, Russell Westbrook, Jayson Tatum, Ben Simmons, Domantas Sabonis, Devin Booker, and Chris Paul. Giannis will have Bam Adebayo, Jimmy Butler, Rudy Gobert, Brandon Ingram, Kyle Lowry, Donovan Mitchell, and Khris Middleton. You don’t have to be better than the UFC 247 judges to pick which team packs more talent here. LeBron has a more talented team. I’m going to pick Team LeBron to win again this year.
Prediction: Go with spread betting and bet Team LeBron -5. The Spread odds have better numbers at -119 against -205 for the moneyline odds.
Who Will Be the MVP?
Now that we’ve picked the game, let’s go to the MVP, which is another hot bet during All-Star weekend. Per BetOnline as of 2/14/20, these are the odds to win the 2020 NBA All-Star Game MVP.
|Anthony Davis||+400||LeBron James||+450|
|Giannis Antetokounmpo||+500||James Harden||+600|
|Luka Doncic||+900||Trae Young||+1000|
|Kawhi Leonard||+1400||Joel Embiid||+1800|
|Jimmy Butler||+2000||Kemba Walker||+2000|
Giannis Antetokounmpo put up 38 points and 11 rebounds in 27 minutes last year. He was the game’s top scorer but because his team didn’t win, he didn’t get the award. There is no question that he can get the same numbers this year and it’s only a question if his team can beat Team LeBron. If you think so, then Giannis at +400 is a fine bet.
After Kobe’s death, the spotlight has been more magnified on LeBron and his Lakers. James leads the league in passing this season and he will surely get plenty of dimes here. If LeBron goes on scoring mode, he will also have a good chance to win MVP especially since he is playing for the better team.
You can say the same for James Harden, Luka Doncic, and Anthony Davis who all play for Team LeBron. I like team LeBron to win so I will pick my MVP from that team. I think LeBron will be more of a passer in this game, as what he’s been all season long. I like Luka Doncic at +800. I mean he’s coming off an injury but was spectacular in his first game back. Between Harden, Luka and AD, I will pick the Boy Wonder of the Mavs.
Prediction: Luka Doncic