The NBA All-Star weekend kicks off on Friday night with Team Shaq and Team Chuck taking each other on in the Rising Stars game. The two former NBA legends drafted their respective teams earlier in the weekend.
The reality is that the All-Star weekend is about showboating and isn’t played like most basketball games. It’s very hard to pick a basketball game, when it isn’t going to be played like a normal basketball game.
For that reason alone the sensible pick in an All-Star game is usually to play the odds. This is a game where two people who really know the game of basketball have drafted the game’s top young stars.
Damian Lillard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Harrison Barnes, Tyler Zeller and Kemba Walker highlight Shaq’s team, while Barkley selected Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, Bradley Beal, Ricky Rubio, Tristan Thompson and Brandon Knight amongst his top players.
Betting Play: Team Shaq (-6) vs. Team Chuck
Shaq’s group have been getting some pretty big props. Lillard and Irving have both been pretty superb already this season, while Walker provides depth and the likes of Barnes, Thompson, Zeller and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, not to forget the likes of Andrew Nicholson from the Orlando Magic.
The reality is that Team Shaq has some pretty serious stars, who have already led their teams to some big time performances. Irving returns after being the MVP of last year’s game, while Lillard is current scoring leader among rookies and has been driving the Portland Trail Blazers towards a Western conference playoff place.
It’s not that surprising that Shaq’s team has been picked as favorites, but there should be little doubt that Chuck’s team will dominate the front court. Anthony Davis gets to show off his talents after a season troubled by injury, while Kawhi Leonard has been one of the league’s most unheralded young stars playing a key role for the San Antonio Spurs.
Barkley’s team won the game last season. They have a dominant front court and under-rated back-court. This is the All-Star game so Barkley’s big bodies won’t be able to get at Irving and co physically, but they should be able to dominate in terms of offensive efficiency as well. They have a great chance to win this game and an even better chance to beat the six-point spread.
The Pick: Team Chuck (+6) (www.5dimes.eu)
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