For the fourth straight season, the NBA’s best players will meet in an All-Star Game for which two captains have picked the rosters. It’s Team LeBron versus Team Durant for 2021, as LeBron James’ group matches up with Kevin Durant’s picks. Another win for James would run his All-Star winning streak to four games, only enhancing his standing in the game. By the looks of the rosters, he is already on his way to accomplishing that feat.
It takes a certain mindset, particularly in March when the college basketball action is heating up, to commit to watching and wagering on the spectacle that is the NBA All-Star Game. That said, it is the only game on the NBA board, so most bettors are inclined to take part in the action. I have developed a quantitative system that analyzes the rosters and projects a point spread and who should win. It has been very successful, as if I recall, the overall record of my system over the last 10 years has been 7-3 SU and 6-3-1 ATS.
A year ago, Team LeBron (-7) beat Team Giannis 157-155 on a total of 305.5. Of note, the game going Over the total advanced the record of that betting option to 12-2 in the last 14 NBA All-Star Games. That fact shouldn’t come as a surprise, and I pity anyone who bets this exhibition Under the total and then chooses to watch it. In terms of sides, favorites have won six straight games outright while going 4-1-1 ATS.
Team LeBron is a 4-point favorite at BetMGM with a total of 314 for the game at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The money line shows Team LeBron -165.
Team LeBron used its first pick on Giannis Antetokounmpo (Bucks), his opposing captain of the last two years’ games. The two will be joined in the starting lineup by Stephen Curry (Warriors), Luka Doncic (Mavericks), and Nikola Jokic (Nuggets). The Durant team counters with a starting group of Kyrie Irving (Nets), Joel Embiid (76ers), Bradley Beal (Wizards), Jayson Tatum (Celtics) and Kawhi Leonard (Clippers), last year’s game MVP. The only players expected to miss the contest are Durant of the Nets and Anthony Davis of the Lakers, and they have been replaced by the Suns’ Devin Booker and the Pacers’ Damontis Sabonis. On the surfa
So, who will win this year’s game? Who should we bet on? Most often, it comes down to these questions: 1) Which roster is better? And 2) Which team will play with more cohesiveness? While it is impossible for anyone to know enough about No. 2 other than pure speculation, it is possible to evaluate No. 1.
My formula involves the popular Hollinger Ratings on ESPN.com used for evaluating Player Efficiency (PER). I then estimate the minutes the starters and reserves will play based upon recent games and have come up with a theoretical Total Team Efficiency Rating, which I use to justify a point spread play for Sunday’s game.
According to my results, assuming the minutes played breakdown is somewhat near accurate (it has always been pretty close), the Team LeBron roster is slightly better in terms of cumulative player efficiency ratings by about 3.1 percent. The past two years showed the widest (8.7 percent and 9.1 percent) my projections have ever been, so on paper at least, this year’s game figures to be as competitive as it has been in several years.
At this point, my projection, based upon a total score of 307.5, would have Team LeBron favored by 4.7 points, on a projected score of 156.1-151.4. At the current line of 3.5 points, I would give a lean to Team LeBron.
Make sure you familiarize yourself with the rules for this year’s game before finalizing your best, as they could throw you off, especially on the total when you consider the “24-point rule.”
Each of the first three quarters will begin with the score of 0-0 and will last 12 minutes. The winner of each 12-minute quarter (first, second and third) will be the team that scores the most points within that quarter.
The fourth quarter will not be timed. Instead, a target score will be set by adding 24 points (Kobe Bryant’s old uniform number) to the total of whichever team has the lead through three quarters (i.e, if the team with the lead has 100 points, the target score would be 124). The first team to reach that target would win the game.
Good luck on your NBA All-Star wagering and enjoy the spectacle. And remember, if you prefer sound, fundamental basketball, there will be some college conference tourney action on simultaneously.