There may be all to play for in the current 2019/20 NBA campaign but for the next few days, fans can just relax and enjoy the sideshow that is All-Star weekend. Three days of high-quality basketball is set to go off at the United Center in Chicago, home of the Chicago Bulls.
The build-up features the Rising Stars game and a skills section that includes a Slam Dunk and a 3 Point Challenge. To close the weekend, the All-Star game takes center stage with sides selected by Le Bron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo at the opposing ends of the court. There’s plenty to enjoy but we’ll be focusing on that All-Star game in our betting round up.
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) February 12, 2020
It’s a straight choice between Team LeBron and Team Giannis and we’ve been expecting a tight moneyline market all week. The sportsbooks have been reacting to a new format which resets the score to 0-0 at the start of the first three quarters. At the start of the fourth, the cumulative scores will be added up and a notional 24 points (in honour of Kobe Bryant) will be added to the team in front. So, for example, if team Le Bron is up by 76-68, the first team to 100 wins the game. Still with us? That slightly confusing approach shouldn’t detract from our efforts to pick a winner.
It’s hard not to side with James here, particularly when we look at the declared starters. Le Bron will take to the court and will be joined initially by Lakers’ teammate Anthony Davis and the Clippers’ Kawhi Leonard. James Harden and Luka Doncic complete the starting five.
Antetokounmpo will also start the game on the opposing side and he will be joined by Joel Embiid, Trae Young, Pascal Siakam and Kemba Walker. We’ve no space to discuss the benches but once again, we feel that the James’ camp has a marginal edge here.
— NBA Official (@NBAOfficial) February 12, 2020
We’ll be looking to target Total Points in the All-Star Game and, like most of our regular NBA previews, we like to go high. While both teams will be taking the match deadly seriously, there is an element of the exhibition about this fixture. OK so it’s not quite the Harlem Globetrotters but more points make for a happy crowd and we expect plenty of action at each end.
Over 230 would appear to be safe but we could look to go much higher if the sportsbooks allow it by extending the limits that we find for regular NBA fixtures. Last year’s All-Star Game, featuring the same two captains, ended in a 178-164 win for team LeBron and that rather underlines our point.
That match from 2019 is also interesting in terms of the points scored in each quarter. At the end of the first 12 minutes, Team Giannis had raced into a 53-37 point lead before Team Lebron hauled it back over the next three quarters.
Previous results are no guarantees of future performance but we had already suspected that Team Giannis would make a fast start. Backed up by those stats, we’ll back them to win the first quarter in 2020.
As for the overall All-Star Game, it does look set up for revenge and that would, perhaps, be a fitting outcome. We’ve no room for sentiment here, however, so back Team LeBron to win and look to combine the prop bets for a likely winning Parlay.
- Team LeBron to win
- Over 230 Points
- Team Giannis to win the first quarter