NBA All-Star weekend has arrived, with Salt Lake City ready to host the annual event for the first time since 1993.
This year, Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James will be the team captains, and in a little twist, they'll draft their squad just 30 minutes before tip-off.
With Giannis getting hurt on Thursday night in Chicago, is LeBron due for more All-Star dominance? Plus, just how high-scoring can we expect Sunday's game to be?
Find out more below and also be sure to check out our full All-Star Weekend coverage, including picks and analysis for the 3-point contest, Slam Dunk contest, and Skills Challenge!
NBA All-Star Game odds
|Team Giannis||+3 (-110)||O 325.5 (-110)|
|Team LeBron||-3 (-110)||U 325.5 (-110)|
Odds courtesy of FanDuel as of February 19, 2023.
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NBA All-Star Game format
Unlike a regular NBA game where there is a continuous running score, the NBA All-Star Game features three separate quarters and a special fourth quarter with an Elam Ending.
Both teams compete to win each of the first three quarters, which are 12 minutes long. The score is reset to 0-0 once each new quarter begins.
The fourth quarter does not feature a game clock and instead has a special final target score to determine the overall winner. The final target score is determined by taking the total of the leading team's cumulative score through the first three quarters and adding 24 points to represent Kobe Bryant's jersey number. The first team to reach that final target score is declared the winer of the game.
NBA All-Star Game best bet
Given the last-second draft format and the “Kobe Rules” in the fourth quarter, betting the 2023 NBA All-Star Game is a mess. The live markets may be the better option once we see the makeup of these rosters and the flow of the game.
But, if you want to get down on a line that could move and grab some of that sweet, sweet CLV, Team LeBron to win outright is the place to be. There are a number of uncertainties for Sunday night, but what do we know?
We know LeBron will be on the floor for his side of this annual showcase while the other captain Giannis Antetokounmpo — the Bucks superstar and best player in the league — may not. He'll at the very least be limited after suffering a sprained right wrist in Milwaukee’s game with Chicago on Thursday.
Antetokounmpo has played off the seriousness of the injury this weekend but if his wrist is still an issue, Team Giannis coach Joe Mazzulla of the Boston Celtics (who joked he would play Giannis all 48 minutes) could get a note from Milwaukee’s brass to limit the load on their franchise player. Advantage Team LeBron.
What else do we know? Oh yeah, LeBron doesn’t mess around in ASGs.
He’s a perfect 5-0 SU since the league moved to the captain format in 2018, and with the Elam Ending (playing to a set point total with an untimed fourth quarter) installed in 2021 to honor former Lakers great Kobe Bryant, James may feel some personal responsibility to play for the win – much like Kobe did in his final All-Star appearances.
James has been absent from media day and practices this week due to personal reasons, but reports state that the Association is planning to celebrate his new all-time scoring record at halftime of Sunday’s event. James played in Los Angeles’ final pre-break game Thursday, so he’s at least healthier than Giannis at this point.
Three of five captained All-Star Games have been decided by three points or less and with the draft happening right before the tipoff, we don’t have much time to handicap the talent, strength, and weakness on either side.
We’ll stick to what we know and keep it simple with the straight-up winner on Team LeBron.
Jason Logan's best bet: Team LeBron moneyline (-131 at Pinnacle)
NBA All-Star Game MVP Odds
Few players have dominated the NBA's mid-season classic quite like King James. The 38-year-old superstar has averaged 22.9 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in his previous 18 All-Star game appearances and was named All-Star Game MVP in 2006, 2008, and 2018. Oddsmakers believe a fourth trophy is well within his reach, especially with Giannis' status uncertain.
Past NBA All-Star Game MVP Winners
NBA All-Star Game trends
- Bob Petit and Kobe Bryant share the most All-Star Game MVPs all-time with four apiece.
- Anthony Davis holds the record for most points scored in an All-Star game with 52 in 2017. That game also was the highest-scoring All-Star event ever with 374 total points.
- Sunday will mark LeBron James' 19th All-Star selection, tying him with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most all-time.