2020 NBA All-Star Game: Team LeBron vs. Team Giannis Betting Picks

Buddy Hield won the Three-Point Contest before Saturday night’s exciting dunk-off between Aaron Gordon and Derrick Jones Jr. Now it’s on to the premier event of All-Star Weekend as Team LeBron takes on Team Giannis. Here’s everything you need to know before betting on the 2020 NBA All-Star Game.

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2020 NBA All-Star Game Betting Lines

  • Team Giannis +6.5
  • Team Lebron -6.5
  • Over/Under: 305.5

Get these odds at FanDuel Sportsbook.

NBA All-Star Game Rule Changes

The biggest news for NBA betting purposes is the NBA All-Star rule change. The exact language of the rule says, “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.” The shortened fourth quarter presumably means fewer points. US sportsbooks have adjusted accordingly, lowering the Over/Under to 305.5 points.

The Total

For me, the total is simple. Bet the over. That’s it. You’re not going to sit there watching this game rooting for long possessions and celebrate every time a Luka Doncic shot rims out. Either bet the over for the sake of the fun, or just don’t bet the total at all. There are plenty of dirty ways to make money, but betting the under in the NBA All-Star Game is just about as dirty as it gets.

The Pick: Over 305.5

The Spread

If you’ve been on Twitter or talked to your friends about the All-Star rosters, you have probably heard a lot of the same stuff: “Team LeBron is stacked”, “What was Giannis thinking?”, “LeBron and Kawhi on the same team?!”. This is important because the public perception is where we’ll get our edge in this game. Let’s look at the rosters:

Team LeBron:

Starters:

Reserves:

Team Giannis

Starters:

Reserves:

So looking at these rosters I am certainly not disagreeing that Team LeBron is better. They’re stacked. If the NBA All-Star Game were a life or death situation, Team LeBron would win fairly easily. However, that’s not the case. If you’ve ever watched this game, you know the players are all just kind of free-styling around out there. They’re having fun, playing with guys they never get to play with, and trying to make highlights that will make somebody tweet “Siakam got UP (eyes emoji)”.

My point is this: This game should be a pick’em every single year. The players are there to have fun and provide entertainment. They’ll keep it close and go back and forth all game. Team LeBron is giving 6.5 points and 71% of the public is picking them to cover. There is only one logical pick here for me.

The Pick: Team Giannis +6.5

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2020 NBA All-Star MVP Betting

This is the fun part. Correctly choosing the All-Star Game MVP is a delightful way to end your week of betting. I love betting on the MVP because it’s extremely narrative-based. There’s not a lot of data analysis that goes into picking this guy. It’s simply “Who’s going to try? Who’s going to stand out? Who’s going to steal the show?”.

Let’s look at the odds on FanDuel Sportsbook and see where the value lies:

The Favorites

Player Odds
Giannis Antetokounmpo +350
LeBron James +400
Anthony Davis +550
James Harden +600

The Mid Range

Player Odds
Trae Young +900
Russell Westbrook +1400
Joel Embiid +1600
Luka Doncic +1600
Kawhi Leonard +2000
Ben Simmons +2500
Devin Booker +2500
Kemba Walker +3000
Pascal Siakam +3000
Jimmy Butler +4000

The Long Shots

  • +5000: Mitchell, Tatum, Jokic
  • +10000: Adebayo, Ingram, Paul, Middleton, Lowry
  • +15000: Sabonis, Gobert

Narratives

I always like to take a hometown guy, but unfortunately that’s not an option this year given the state of the Chicago Bulls. Three years ago Anthony Davis was just becoming a superstar and went nuts in front of his home crowd in New Orleans. I bet a bunch of money on him to win MVP and I thought I was the smartest person ever. So I’m a little upset we don’t have that option this year.

Speaking of past winners, that is probably a good place to start when looking for narratives. Here are the last twenty winners:

The first thing that stands out to me is the big names. There are no Rudy Goberts on this list. The superstars at the top of the league are the guys the crowd wants to see, so they’re the guys who shine in this game. Right off the bat, I’m eliminating all the longshots and focusing on the guys with +2500 odds or better.

The Kobe Bryant MVP Award

Adam Silver announced yesterday that the NBA ASG MVP award will now be called the Kobe Bryant MVP Award. I love this decision by Silver. Kobe is a 4x winner of the award and absolutely deserves this honor. That being said, I think this makes the award a lot more special this year. When the award is presented, it will be a special moment and another chance to honor the life and legacy of Kobe Bryant.

When I envision this presentation, I see LeBron accepting the award. He is linked to Kobe in a lot of ways and has been outspoken about his desire to carry on his legacy. I believe that if LeBron decides that he wants the MVP award, he will get it. If that’s his goal tonight, he’s going to take over this entire game. The more I think about it, I honestly believe LeBron already wrote his acceptance speech for this award. He should be -115 to be MVP.

NBA All-Star Game MVP Pick: LeBron James +400

Embiid vs. Simmons

How about this for a sneaky All-Star Game narrative? Joel Embiid has not kept it a secret that there is tension between him and Ben Simmons. He and Jimmy Butler had a little back and forth on his Instagram post earlier this week that made the Sixers’ internal issues very apparent. I think the tension is rooted in the fact that both of these guys think they’re better than the other. Which makes a lot of sense – they’re a team that had high expectations this year that has been pretty damn disappointing.

The problem is that trying to outshine each other in regular season games just hurts the team. That issue doesn’t exist tonight. Tonight they’ll play on opposing teams and have a chance to compete directly against each other. I think both of these guys will have a little bit of extra motivation in this game as they try to prove who’s better. I’m sprinkling a little on both.

More All-Star Game MVP Picks: Joel Embiid +1600 and Ben Simmons +2500

Fade Giannis

Real quick – the Greek Freak doesn’t have one of these awards yet. He probably wants one. If they win this game I think it will be him or Embiid, but I’m not betting on Giannis at +350. I think it’s much more likely to be LeBron and his odds are a little better at +400.

2020 NBA All-Star Game Player Props

Player props are all about effort and volume in this game. It’s simply a question of who’s going to be trying and who’s going to get the usage? There’s only one place to look for that information: Narrative Street.

I already touched on LeBron, Embiid, Simmons, and Giannis and why they’ll be playing with some extra motivation. I think all four of those guys are good picks to go over their point props.

The last narrative I really like here is Devin Booker having something to prove. He was originally snubbed and was outspoken about being unhappy with that. Now he’s in the game as an injury replacement and he needs to back up his comments or he’ll look like a real asshole. He’s a tremendous scorer and has to give it his all tonight. His point prop is only 12.5. I think he soars over that.

The Picks:

2020 NBA All-Star Game Betting Recap

Bet the over. Bet Team Giannis. Bet heavy on LeBron for 2020 All-Star Game MVP, now named the Kobe Bryant MVP Award. Sprinkle some money on Embiid and Simmons MVP. Bet those player props. Sit back and enjoy the show. Good luck everybody. Let’s win some money.

Image Credit: USA Today Sports Images

About the Author

  • Matt Shanahan (mshanahan)

  • Matt Shanahan is an engineer by trade and firmly believes in data-driven analytics. He grew up in Pennsylvania and graduated from the University of Pittsburgh. His betting strategy is to develop theories, create models to test those theories, and then collect data to see what works and what doesn’t.

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