Team LeBron versus Team Giannis will conclude what should be an entertaining couple of days over NBA All-Star Weekend. From the Rising Stars game to the Three-Point Contest, there will be no shortage of money-making opportunities.
If you're looking to get down on the action, be sure to shop for the best available numbers. With that regular reminder out of the way, here are some of our favorite selections for the weekend.
Team LeBron is so stacked that it makes one comprised of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, Kemba Walker, Paul George, and Joel Embiid look downright inferior. Given that we like LeBron's group to win the game, we can rule out all players on Team Giannis from claiming MVP honors.
Only two players have repeated as All-Star Game MVP, so last year's recipient, James, doesn't exactly have history on his side. Kyrie Irving would have warranted another look given his usage, but his injury could keep him out of the showcase altogether. That leads us to Golden State Warriors forward and 2012 All-Star Game MVP Kevin Durant, who at this number feels like the best option. There are some attractive prices out there but rarely has there been a long shot to come out of the woodwork and win this award.
The Three-Point Contest is a tough cap. Some will justify that shooting stats from a 50-some-game sample leading up to the event is a predictive tool on how a player with no pressure, picking up balls from a rack, will perform in a small window of time. Just because Joe Harris is having a career year from the arc this season doesn't necessarily make him a "sleeper" in this category. All in all, it's not as alluring as a price, but we'd recommend snagging the best pure shooter of the bunch in Steph Curry.
Again, we're siding with the favorite in the Slam Dunk contest in New York Knicks guard Dennis Smith Jr., who will battle it out with Miles Bridges, John Collins, and Hamidou Diallo. The biggest advantage for Smith here is experience - he participated in the event last season, failing to get out of the first round. We'd argue that's a much more significant advantage than Bridges' luxury of dunking in front of his home crowd in Charlotte. Judges always seem to be more wowed by the smaller players, and the 6-foot-3 Smith is as high-flying as they come.
The Skills Challenge is exactly that - an event based on the fundamental skills in basketball. Trae Young has been inconsistent on a bad team, but he fits the mold of a player you're looking for in this fast-paced obstacle course.
The biggest knock on DeAndre Ayton since being picked No. 1 by the Phoenix Suns last summer - aside from not being named Luka Doncic - is his defense. Ayton has had no problem contributing offensively, filling the bucket with 16.5 points per game. The Rising Stars game somewhat mirrors the All-Star Game in style, in that it's more lax and far from a defensive showcase. Without worrying too much about playing both ends of the court, Ayton's offensive presence gives him a chance to stuff the stat sheet.
Alex Kolodziej is theScore's betting writer. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 11 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AlexKoIodziej.