2014 NBA All-Star Game Betting Preview

kevin-durant-thunder-32014 NBA All-Star Game
Time: 8:35 ET, Feb 16, 2014
Spread: WEST -4
M/L: WEST -170; EAST +150
Total: 291

Betting odds courtesy of Bovada

The NBA All-Star game will air tonight on TNT, and in a game that typically features no defense, betting can be very tricky. The Western Conference All-Stars are favored by NBA oddsmakers, but by a mere 4-points. The seemingly high total of 291 could easily be shattered by the offensive exhibition that this game is.

The Eastern Conference All-Star will start Kyrie Irving, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and LeBron James. Most glaringly, the voting changes have left the East without a true big man in the starting lineup. The West, meanwhile, does not encounter that problem since both Blake Griffin and Kevin Love were voted to start. But neither team features a center in the starting lineup. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry will also start for the West, while we’ll have to wait to see who is replacing Kobe Bryant in the starting lineup.

Typically when evaluating the potential winner of an All-Star exhibition, it makes sense to go with the team that has a strong set of guards, since the game is perimeter oriented usually.

That said, LeBron James makes himself into a guard, as does Kevin Durant, and the two of them will challenge one another throughout the night (possibly even before then, as James called Kevin Durant out by saying he would win a one-on-one contest). We’ll look at MVP voting in another column here at Maddux, but for the sake of evaluating this game, let’s look at the top three players on each team:

East: LeBron James, Paul George and Carmelo Anthony

West: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Chris Paul (bench)

The fact that the third of the “big 3″ of the West is so hard to determine illustrates that the Western Conference All-Stars have a much better bench. James Harden, last year’s ROY Damian Lillard, Tony Parker, Chris Paul, LaMarcus Aldridge, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwight Howard far outclasses the East’s collection with DeMar DeRozan, Joe Johnson, John Wall, Chris Bosh, Paul Millsap, Roy Hibbert and Joakim Noah.

The disparity between the records in the conferences can be seen in the depth of the All-Star teams. Though the West is favored by just four points, the potential is there for a blowout. It’s hard to imagine a team with LBJ getting the smackdown laid to it in an event like this, but Durant has been on fire, and his supporting cast is better than the East’s by a good margin.

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