NBA All Star Game East vs. West, Sunday, February 19, 2017, 8pm ET, New Orleans.
East: +180 with WilliamHill.com
West: -222 with WilliamHill.com
East: +5.5 (-110 with WilliamHill.com)
West: -5.5 (-110 with WilliamHill.com)
Over 345.5: -115 with Bovada.lv
Under 345.5: -105 with Bovada.lv
THE best of the best of the best.
That’s the promise of the NBA All Star game in New Orleans on Sunday.
And the basketball talent set to be on show is tantalising.
The west will roll out one of the most talented line ups ever seen on a basketball court, with reigning back to back NBA MVP Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors running the point for a team featuring three MVP candidates in the Houston Rockets’ James Harden, his Warrior team mate Kevin Durant and San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard, along with home town hero Anthony Davis.
The east’s talent might not be as revered as their western conference counterparts, but it stacks up, with Cleveland team mates LeBron James and Kyrie Irving leading a diverse list with do-it-all-swing-men Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee) and Jimmy Butler (Chicago) joined by Toronto Raptors scoring machine DeMar DeRozan.
The plot lines are thick here and they are mainly centred on the west, with former team mates Durant and Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook taking the floor together for the first time since the Slim Reaper’s switch from the Thunder to the Warriors in the off season.
There is bound to be tension, with four Warriors in the West squad, joining Westbrook, who has not hidden his disdain for Durant’s move, or for the entire Golden State Warriors team.
How they interact will be the story of the All Star weekend, but there is also a game to play and an MVP to win.
Here are our picks.
Most Valuable Player predictions
He’s putting up historically good numbers and playing with a serious chip on his shoulder after the aforementioned Durant defection and there might just be a little poetic justice if Russell Westbrook can win the NBA All Star Game MVP.
Kevin Durant +700 with Bovada.lv
It might irk the fans, but this guy has every chance to win the MVP – provided Westbrook doesn’t try and freeze him out. Of course, Kerr won’t let that happen and Durant will have the rock in his hands enough of the time to reign down buckets, if he chooses to do so.
Anthony Davis +700 with Bovada.lv
He will be the crowd favourite and the Pelicans superstar centre has already said he is out to get that MVP award. One of the most talented centres in the NBA, Davis has the multi faceted tools required to win the All Star MVP and, given he should see a mountain of court time, will be on there long enough to rack up the numbers required to do so.
We like to call him the coaster. LeBron is just cruising through the season, doing what he has to do to keep the Cavaliers at the top of the east, before he explodes in the playoffs. So how much does the all star game mean to him? If he wanted to, he could probably go out and win the MVP easily. He is that talented. But will the motivation be there? He’s got bigger fish to fry.
Giannis Antetokounmpo +1200 with Bovada.lv
You simply cannot miss the Greek Freak on the floor. The size of a towering centre, with the ball skills and speed of a point guard, he takes about five steps to get from one end of the floor to the other. A massive player and a massive talent, this guy is the future of the NBA and the future is so, so bright.
Isaiah Thomas +1400 with Bovada.lv
Mr Fourth Quarter himself. Tiny Isaiah Thomas might be diminutive in stature, but he has a massive game, leading the Celtics in scoring and is just behind Westbrook in the NBA at nearly 30 points per game. His final term heroics have him right up there in the NBA MVP stakes and he’ll catch the eye with his remarkable quickness and ability to light it up from anywhere on the floor.
Game winner: West All Stars to win (-222 with WilliamHill.com)
Spread betting tip: West All Stars -5.5 (-110 with WilliamHill.com)
Game points total: Over 345.5 (-115 with Bovada.lv)
There have certainly been more revered figures on the floor during All Star weekend in the past, but it’s highly unlikely that there has been more offensive firepower.
While the points total of over 345.5 looks rather gaudy – given that NBA games are routinely projected as under 200 – you have to remember, this is the All Star weekend. Neither team plays any defence for three quarters and neither team really tries on offence for the same period. But, once the buzzer for the final quarter lights up, you know it’s on.
We are hoping that it is going to be a tight match up, to keep the interest high but this one feels like it could be a blow out, just because of the fact that the Western Conference is perhaps the most stacked in history. LeBron, Kyrie and company will try and stay with the ridiculous western conference, but there will probably be more eyes on how Steve Kerr handles the Westbrook fiasco and whether or not he and the four Warriors will end out on the court together, which, incidentally, is a +220 chance with Bovada.lv to happen.