The NBA All-Star Game tips off tonight in New Orleans and features a lot of new, young players. Kobe Bryant was selected as a starter, but will won’t play and we can’t be sure just how much Dwyane Wade can contribute either. Regardless, the All-Star Game always features great individual performances and big-time plays as well.
Eastern Conference All-Stars (+4) vs. Western Conference All-Stars – The fact that this spread is not larger considering the overwhelming dominance of the Western Conference this year is a bit surprising. What this speaks to are a couple of things. First, the individual talent in the Eastern Conference is pretty good relative to the talent in the West and secondly; this game features absolutely no defense so that evens the playing field considerably.
The Western Conference has won three straight All-Star Games and four of the last five. This year, the West is again the favorite and rightfully so. The West is loaded with scorers from Kevin Durant, James Harden and Steph Curry to Kevin Love and LaMarcus Aldridge.
The East isn’t exactly without guys who can score the basketball. LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving all can pump in 30 points in a game where defense will be little if at all.
The over/under tonight is 293 (over -105/under -115). I find this number very intriguing because only once in the last ten years has this total gone the way of the over. There was once where it hit 291, but most totals still came in far under the 293.
What you’ll need to decide is whether this game will meet all the hype in terms of the scoring that’s expected. Here’s why I think you need to think about the under tonight; Dwyane Wade may start and play but he’ll be limited by the knee that’s hampered him all year. Don’t expect anything out of him.
The East will also feature seven players in their first or second All-Star Game and of that group, I’d really only expect big scoring out of Irving and maybe John Wall.
The West’s issue with scoring is less but still an issue. Kobe Bryant was voted as a starter but will not play because of his leg injury. The guards that will see more action in his absence are James Harden, Tony Parker, Damian Lillard and Chris Paul. Those guys could certainly pick up any slack left by Bryant but to what extent?
I really believe you’ll see 293 threatened but I don’t believe you’ll see it surpassed. Take the under tonight.
As for as the game tonight in terms of the spread, I really like the West despite big scoring games from both Anthony and James from the East. There’s just too much firepower on the Western Conference squad so I like them to cover.
Your two favorites are Kevin Durant (5/2) and LeBron James (15/4) and there is absolutely no way we should discount either of them. In the case of Durant you might just want to take him and run the way he is scoring but where is the fun in taking the favorite?
Middle of the road favorites include Anthony Davis (13/1), James Harden (15/1) and Chris Paul (18/1). Of that three-pack I really like Harden because he can go off quickly and do it from downtown or by driving to the hoop.
If you’re looking for a real long-shot to lay some money on then consider Joe Johnson, Paul Millsap or Roy Hibbert at 75/1. Of this trio I really like Hibbert because he will be the only guy who will play consistent defense. If he collects a double-double and threatens a triple-double, he’ll have a great shot.