Following the usual array of diverse warmup events consisting of the Rising Stars Challenge, the Taco Bell Skills Challenge, the Mountain Dew Three-Point Contest and the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest, the 71st edition of the All-Star Game tips off at 8 p.m. ET on Sunday night. This year’s game features seven first-time participants, although only two – Ja Morant and Andrew Wiggins – are starters. LeBron James and Kevin Durant serve as the team captains for the second straight year, and after notching a 170-150 win in last season’s proceedings, Team LeBron is once again favored.
NBA All-Star Game odds
Here are the today’s pro NBA betting lines with pro basketball point spreads, moneylines and totals.
What to watch for today
Team LeBron has potential edge in starting five: The Western Conference is typically associated with a bit more of a freewheeling, fast-paced style, and it’s therefore no surprise that 5.5-point favorite Team LeBron, with three of the best players from that part of the Association, is favored. The starting five includes Stephen Curry, Nikola Jokic and LeBron James, with the Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan and the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, impressively rounding things out. However, despite their 5.5-point underdog status, Team Durant’s projected first unit of Trae Young, Joel Embiid, Jayson Tatum, Andrew Wiggins and Ja Morant has no shortage of explosive options in its own right.
Both teams’ benches loaded: With so many players enjoying strong seasons across the league, it’s no surprise each team’s bench is loaded. Team LeBron boasts the likes of Luka Doncic, Chris Paul and Donovan Mitchell among its reserves, while Team Durant will have Devin Booker, Dejounte Murray and Karl-Anthony Towns among its options when it comes time to give the starters a breather. Many of those players could arguably have merited starting status in their own right, and their presence could certainly make the latter portions of the game particularly competitive.
Stellar replacements help offset injury absences: There are players forced to bow out of ASG participation each season due to injury. Depending on the quality depth around the league in that particular year, those absences can deal a fairly serious blow to the star factor of the whole event. This year, Durant himself, along with former teammate James Harden and Draymond Green, are unable to take the floor. However, replacements LaMelo Ball, Tatum and Murray are highly deserving, arguably meriting spots solely based on their stellar efforts thus far. Murray has particularly taken a major step forward on a Spurs squad that’s still struggling with the transition from its recent glory days, posting career highs in points (19.9), assists (9.3), rebounds (8.3) and steals (2.0).
Elam Ending once again in play: This year’s ASG will feature the Elam Ending for the third year. The concept consists of an untimed fourth quarter that gives the conclusion of the game a definitive schoolyard, pick-up game feel. A total of 24 points, in honor of the late Kobe Bryant, is added to the point total of the team leading after three quarters, and the team that reaches that new figure wins the game. The first two ASGs with this format have finished with totals of 312 and 320 points, with 55 and 49 points being scored in the final period in 2020 and 2021, respectively. Those tallies have naturally been considerably below those of the first three periods in each contest and pale in comparison to conventional fourth quarters of ASGs past, where totals north of 70, at minimum, were the norm.