NBA All-Star Betting
NBA All-Star Exclusive Weekend Preview & Betting Tips
This weekend’s NBA All-Star is a must-watch especially for the Nigerians who will have the trio of Burna Boy, Rema and the incredible Tems performing at Half-Time in the All-Star Game. Before we dive into that, you can head to our Cross Sport Specials page to check out some of the special offers we have.
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TEAM LEBRON V TEAM GIANNIS
The NBA is adding an even more exciting twist to the All-Star game to ensure people are tuned in and discussing well before tip-off. For the first time, the NBA All-Star Draft will take place right before the game. The two team captains, LeBron and Giannis, will draft the team rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference. All this will start just 1hr before tip-off, and coaches as well as teammates will have less than 60-mins to get acquainted with themselves and strategize. With a total of $750,000 in cash prize for charities on the line, things could get more tense than ever.
Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, and Zion Williamson are all unavailable to due injuries while Jaylen Brown (who suffered a face fracture last week) could also be absent. But, it’s hard to make an argument about their absence given this year’s format. However, if there’s one thing we can count on, it’s LeBron James to deliver. The recently crowned NBA All-Time Leading Scorer has won all 5 All-Star Games since the format changed from the traditional Eastern Conference v Western Conference in 2018. As Captain, LeBron has beaten Team Steph, Team Giannis (2) and team Durant (2). He didn’t get the nickname “Le GM” out of nowhere, as he’s excellent in putting together a roster and if history is anything to go by, he’ll put together the winning team.
- Team LeBron to win @1.67
THE STARRY 3-POINT CONTEST
As with most years, the 3-Point Contest on this weekend is packed with shooters, and each player will fancy his chance. The Miami Heat & Boston Celtics have each won the competition a record four times, and Tyler Herro and Jayson Tatum will be aiming to add to the tally of their respective franchise. Here are the full participants and their 3pt percentages for the season:
- Buddy Hield (Indiana Pacers) – 42.3%
- Lauri Markkanen (Utah Jazz) – 41.2%
- Tyrese Haliburton (Indiana Pacers) – 39.8%
- Kevin Huerter (Sacramento Kings) – 39.0%
- Anfernee Simons (Portland Trail Blazers) – 38.1%
- Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) – 38.5%
- Tyler Herro (Miami Heat) – 36.9%
- Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics) – 35.3%
Buddy Hield stands out as a promising contender for the competiton, given that he is the sole player among the contestants who has already won the 3-Point Contest before. The Indiana Pacers’ Small Forward claimed the title during the 2019-2020 season, triumphing over other impressive players such as Devin Booker, Trae Young, and Duncan Robinson. Hield not only ranks first in the league in 3-Point Percentage, but also leads in terms of the number of 3-Pointers made (224) and the percentage of Wide-Open 3s (48.2%). However, he may face stiff competition from the experienced Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard, who has yet to win the award despite participating twice in the past. Despite ranking 3rd from bottom in terms of accuracy amongst the contestants, we Lillard is arguably the 2nd most reliable shooter in the league behind Steph Curry and his Limitless Range gives him an edge over the rest.
Jayson Tatum (35.3%) may have the lowest accuracy amongst all contestants, but that could be linked to the Celtics’ style of play which has seen him transform to a high-volume shooter. His 9.3 attempts per game is the 7th in the league, and he recently became the youngest player in NBA history to reach 1,000 career 3s. Another player to keep an eye on is 23-year-old Anfernee Simons who has been one of the most improved players this season, and it’s no surprise he’s in this contest. His 3-pt accuracy may have dropped to it’s lowest in 3-years, but he’s posting career-highs in points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks. It’s no surprise he’s in contention for the Most Improved Player Award.
Besides Buddy Hield, Damian Lillard and Jayson Tatum, all other 5 contestants will be contesting for the first time in their careers, and they’ll be hoping that, like Karl-Anthony Towns last year, they can get their hands on the award at their first attempt.
- Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers) to win
SLAM DUNK CONTEST
The Slam Dunk Contest has lost a bit of shine lately, with the the 3-Point contest becoming the more exciting of the two competitions. This year’s edition took a huge hit when Portland’s Shooting Guard and high-flyer, Shaedon Sharpe, announced his decision to withdraw from the contest last week in order to focus on the second half of the season. His dunk over Kyle Kuzma on Tuesday night when the Wizards visited gave us a glimpse of what could have been, but in his absence, there are four Slam Dunk debutants hoping to make history:
- Kenyon Martin Jr. (Houston Rockets)
- Trey Murphy (New Orleans Pelicans)
- Jericho Sims (New York Knicks)
- Mac McClung (Philadelphia 76ers)
The Houston Rockets are the worst team in the NBA right now, with 44 losses and just 13 wins all season. However, one of the few forms bright moments their fans have gotten this season is Kenyon Martin Jr. Like his father (Kenyon Martin) before him, the 6’6” Power Forward is very athletic but is an even better in-game dunker than his dad. Trey Murphy is another Power Forward hoping to get his hands on the title this year. The Pelicans’ PF is not the best dunker on his team (that’s obviously Zion Williamson) and isn’t as flashy as the other contestants, but he has a lot of finesse and maybe being labeled the Dark Horse – which comes with less pressure – could work to his benefit.
Jericho Sims will be aiming to become the second New York Knick to win it for the second year in a row, after Obi Toppin did last year. The 6’9” Center spends a lot of time in the air and posterizes opponents for fun. However, it’s been a while since a Center won the Slam Dunk competition, with Dwight Howard being the last to do so back in 2008. As excellent as Sims is – and he is Box Office when dunking – his height could, ironically, work to his disadvantage.
Mac McClung was named as Shaedon Sharpe’s replacement and, up until the 14th of February where he still played for the Delaware Blue Coats, he was on course to become the first G-League player to participate in the Slam Dunk Contest. However, the 76ers announced they were signing him to a 2-way contract on Valentine’s Day, which means he officially will be participating as an NBA Player. When Ron Shelton wrote the 1992 movie, White Men Can’t Jump, he clearly had no idea Mac McClung would be with the big boys 3 decades later. McClung has the bounce, the flashiness and wide variety of dunks needed to win this competition. He’s the fan favorite to get the award on Saturday, which would wrap up what has been an incredible week for him.
- Mac McClung (Philadelphia 76ers) to win
In recent years, just like the All-Star Game, the Skills Challenge in the NBA has been revamped from an individual skills showcase to a team event. In the first round, teams compete in a relay that involves completing five different stations. The second round requires players to pass the ball to targets positioned in various locations on the court, with the opportunity to score two, four, or six points. The third and final round comprises shooting drills from five distinct points on the court. The teams will add up their points, and whoever has the highest total will be declared the winner of the event. Pretty straight forward.
This year’s Skills Challenge will feature three teams; Team Jazz (made up of Jordan Clarkson, Walker Kessler and Collin Sexton, the trio from the host city), The Antetokounmpos (featuring the three brothers for a second year running), and Team Rooks featuring Rookie of the Year favorite, Paolo Banchero (Orlando Magic), Jaden Ivey (Detroit Pistons) and Jabari Smith Jr. (Houston Rockets). Seeing as this is a competition revamped to showcase teamwork, it’s safer to go with the only proper team among the contestants – Team Jazz. Last year, Team Cavs won the competition over The Antetokounmpos and a Team Rooks made up of Scottie Barnes, Cade Cunningham and Josh Giddey. Sticking with Team Jazz feels like the logical pick.
- Team Jazz to win
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