The 2018-19 NBA season has passed the half-way point and the majority of the players in the league will now get a well earned break from the busy schedule.
However, the best of the best will converge on Charlotte, North Carolina for the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend! All-Star weekend always provides plenty of entertainment, from the rookie-sophomore game on Friday night, the Saturday night festivities including the dunk and 3pt contest and of course, the All-Star game on Sunday!
We preview some of the weekend’s key events and give our betting tips below.
Over the past decade, the NBA three point shootout has become arguably the highlight of the whole weekend for many fans. Back in the 80s and 90s when the competition was initiated, a score in the teens would have likely got you over the line. However, now that the three point shot has become second nature to nearly every player in the league, the competitiveness in this tournament has never been higher!
Widely regarded as the greatest shooter of all time, Steph Curry will start as favourite for the three point shootout at around $3. Curry currently sits at No.2 in three pointers made this season behind only James Harden and sits at No.3 on the all time list behind only Ray Allen and Reggie Miller. He has shot the three ball at a ridiculous clip of .437 over his 10 year career and is shooting at .444 this season.
However, we’ll be looking elsewhere for value this weekend, in the form of Brooklyn sniper Joe Harris. Harris has had a breakout year in his fifth year in the league, averaging 13.9 points per game and 2.4 threes made per game. He has made 132 three point shots in the season, putting him in 16th place on the leaderboard and his 3pt shooting percentage of .471 is the second best in the league behind only Davis Bertans from San Antonio. At $7 to win the tournament we think Joe Harris is great value.
The NBA slam dunk contest has lost a bit of its wow factor over the past few years but still remains one of the highlights of the NBA all star weekend, depending on it’s participants of course. It’s been a while since we have seen a really high profile name in the tournament, however, youngsters have generally brought more enthusiasm to the event, and its another list of up and comers that will be in action this weekend.
High fliying guard Dennis Smith Jr. starts as a slight favourite over Miles Bridges, John Collins and Hamidou Daillo. Smith is the worthy favourite as the only man who has been in the contest before and after a ridiculous second round dunk last year that earned him a score of 50, he’ll be a popular selection.
However, we are going with the hometown hero Miles Bridges, who will be competing in front of his Charlotte Hornets fans and hoping to put on a show. Bridges has the perfect springy build for a dunk contest. Standing at 6’7, he possesses that enviable lanky look made famous by all time great dunkers in the likes of Vince Carter and Gerald Green. Long limbs also allow for a variety of moves.
All-Star weekend saves the best till last, the NBA All-Star game. Played on Sunday night USA time (Monday morning AEDT), the All-Star game will once again run with the new draft format which was introduced last season. LeBron James and Giannis Antetokoumnpo were the respective captains this season and for the first time, the draft was televised.
Hard to believe that one team has already jumped out to a 6.5 point handicap given that the best 24 players on planet earth have been assembled, however, the bookies and the public seem to like the team that LeBron James has selected in the lead up.
It’s always a tough proposition trying to select the winner of the All-Star game. The players don’t generally take it very seriously until the last few minutes, at which point they try to keep it pretty close to provide an exciting finish for the fans. Seven of the last 12 NBA All-Star games have fallen within the 6.5 point margin so we think this one should be pretty close.
Giannis has also assembled a group of guys whose mentality should have them taking this a bit more seriously than that of Team LeBron.
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