NBA All-Star Weekend Preview & Best Bets


Feb 17, 2023

We’ll be tuning into the various NBA All-Star Weekend festivities in Utah over the next three days, so let’s dive into our favorite picks for each event.All-Star Game: Team Giannis (+130)

The All-Star Game is taking on more of a pick-up format as the two captains, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James, will choose their teams before tip. The odds have already been posted, and Team Giannis is getting plus money. I know LeBron’s teams have a track record of All-Star success, as he’s gone 5-0 in the captain format.

But for crying out loud, we don’t even know the teams yet. Plus, Antetokounmpo’s status is unclear after taking a fall and injuring his wrist in Chicago last night. I cannot wrap my head around laying -154 on a team where I don’t know the players. I’ll buy the plus-odds with Team Giannis and be able to sleep happily, at least.

All-Star MVP: Donovan Mitchell (+1400)

At 14-1 odds, we’re going with Donovan Mitchell to hoist the NBA All-Star Game Kobe Bryant MVP Award as he reps the Cavs back in Salt Lake City on the world stage. In his official return to Utah earlier this season, Spida dropped 46 points.

The All-Star Game is all about narratives. It’s entertainment fueled by egos. If Mitchell gets hot early, given the location, they’re just going to keep feeding him and feeding him. I’ll back the value of this play. 

3-Point Contest: Damian Lillard (+470) | To Advance (-105)

Damian Lillard has been sensational as of late for the Blazers. He averaged north of 36 points per game in February while shooting nearly 38% from beyond the arc. Dame isn’t the typical catch-and-shoot sniper that struggles in this competition, with many of his threes coming off the dribble.

He’s got the star power to be unshaken by the spotlight and the previous experience of competing in this contest. Plus, we can’t forget the Dame Time clutch gene he possesses. We like the value attached to him in a field with no clear front-runner. 

Slam Dunk Contest Winner: Jericho Sims (+280)

Jericho Sims can fly. The New York Knicks forward averages only 3.7 points per game on roughly 16 minutes per, but his hops are more than evident. In 2021, he registered the second-highest vertical jump in NBA Scouting Combine history at the time at 44.5 inches.

Check out this video that shows some of his best dunks on display with his head comfortably and relatively easily eclipsing the rim. He’s got the tools to put on a show Saturday night.

Rising Stars Challenge: Team Joakim (+310)

The NBA will employ a new Rising Stars Challenge format, where four teams compete in three games—the first two to 40 points, and the third and final to 25.

Team Pau (+160) is the favorite, as they should be, featuring a talented group including Paolo Banchero, Bennedict Mathurin, Jaden Ivey, and Scottie BarnesTeam Joakim shouldn’t be that far behind providing value.

Rostering Evan Mobley, Josh Giddey, Jalen Williams, and an emerging Jeremy Sochan, this is a fun group that will have “veteran” experience in Mobley and Giddey that could form a dangerous pick-and-roll combo.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the Bugatti sitting on the roster of the long shot, Team Jason (+500), in Scoot Henderson. Much of the 2023 NBA Draft hype is around Victor Wembanyama, as it should be, but Henderson would be the top pick in any other year. He’s spectacular.

With freakish athleticism, dynamic playmaking, and fierce scoring, he can do it all. Keep an extra eye on him.

Thumbnail photo via David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

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