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All-Star Game: Team Giannis vs Team LeBron, Slam Dunk Contest, and 3-Point Shootout

Updated: Feb 18, 2023

Matchups, predictions, and odds for NBA Games…

In this week's Out of the Vault newsletter...

Team Giannis🦌 vs Team LeBron 👑

3-point Shootout Contest🔥

Slamdunk Contest🔥

Matchups and picks 🏀

Sports betting fans are going to have another big sporting event to wager on just a week after Super Bowl 57. The NBA regular season will take a pause to give way for its annual mid-season, the NBA All-Star Weekend. The best ballers in the world gather in Salt Lake City, Utah to showcase their skills and get up close with their ever-supporting fans in a three-day festivity like no other.

Of course, All-Star weekend won’t be the same without the All-Star game. For the sixth straight year, LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers will be captaining his team that will go up against the squad bannered by Giannis Antetokounmpo. Unlike the previous editions in which the All-Star Draft took place several days before the game, this year will provide a different twist as the captains will be selecting their teammates on the spot moments before the actual game.

The All-Star game presents a whole new ballgame for basketball fans to bet on an NBA game that is projected to be another high-scoring affair given the sheer amount of talent who will take center stage come Sunday night.


Slam Dunk Contest

Mac McClung, Jericho Sims, Kenyon Martin Jr., and Troy Murphy III. I won’t blame you if many of you aren’t familiar with these names, except of course Kenyon Martin Jr. because you know his dad, right? The field might have gotten weaker on paper this year, but I’ve got a feeling these guys are putting on a show. All four of them are high-flyers in their own right and all hungry for attention, knowing that they will be watched by billions of hoops fans all over the world.

It's evident why McClung is the preferred choice in this competition due to his ingenuity, dunking experience, and impressive vertical leap, which is amplified by his smaller stature.

Although Murphy and Martin have delivered impressive in-game dunks, their jumping abilities do not match those of McClung or Sims. Moreover, Murphy's smoother style may not be well-suited for a competition that values the thunderous power of rim-rattling dunks.

As McClung's odds remain favorable, it would be a prudent decision to support him. However, if his odds shift beyond -130, it may be wise to consider Sims instead, as he is a big man with incredible elevation and was initially favored in the betting lines.

Prediction: Mac McClung (-110)


Three-Point Shoutout

But before the main course, NBA fans and sports betting enthusiasts will get an equally appetizing lineup of events on Saturday. All-Star Saturday Night will feature the Skills Challenge, Three-point shoot-out, and the Slam Dunk contest.

For years, the Slam Dunk contest had been the main attraction on a Saturday of the All-Star weekend but the lack of star power that graced the event in the past years has led fans to shift their attention to the 3-point shootout contest where All-Star caliber players like Steph Curry, Damian Lillard, and Kyrie Irving have competed and won the trophy.

This year’s field of competitors is once again loaded with firepower with five of the eight participants either current or former All-Stars.

The following are the participants in the 3-Point Shootout Contest:

Julius Randle of the New York Knicks

Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers

Buddy Hield of the Indiana Pacers

Tyler Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers

Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics

Tyler Herro of the Miami Heat

Kevin Huerter of the Sacramento Kings

Lauri Markkanen of the Utah Jazz

As of writing, Damian Lillard (+400) and Buddy Hield (+400) are the favorites to win the 3-point shootout and there are solid reasons for that. Lillard is a veteran of the competition and he has fared well in the past editions. Hield, meanwhile, is the previous winner of the three-point in 2020.

Tatum, Huerter, and Herro own the second-best odds (+550) in the field, with all three shooting above 35 percent beyond the three-point line. After working on perhaps the most scrutinized area of his game, Tyler Haliburton (+600) has blossomed into a deadly sniper beyond the arc. The Pacers point guard has complemented his super court vision with his much-improved long-distance sniping, shooting a career-high 39 percent from the 3-point line. Rounding up the field are two big men with feathery touches: Julius Randle and Lauri Markkanen.

Lauri Markkanen (+650) has been a consistent contributor for the Utah Jazz this season, earning him a spot in the All-Star game and also in the three-point shootout. Randle came in as a replacement to Blazers guard Anfernee Simmons, shooting 33.8 percent from the three-point line this year.

Buddy Hield seems to fit the mold as the player to beat in this competition. He has a track record of success in the competition and is currently one of the top 3-point shooters in the league, so it's understandable why you would see him as a strong contender.

That being said, it's worth noting that the 3-Point Contest can be unpredictable at times, and even the most well-prepared shooters can have an off night. Additionally, there may be other factors to consider, such as home-court advantage, which Markkanen will definitely take advantage of.

This is going to be a really tight battle in the end, but I can see Markkanen and Hield eventually ending up in the finals. When all said and done, Heild will take home his second 3-point shootout trophy.

Prediction: Heild 28/40


All-Star Game: Team Giannis vs Team LeBron

As mentioned, this year’s All-Star game will be using the captain vs. captain format for the sixth straight time, yet the NBA found another way to drum up the drama and excitement by adding another wrinkle to it. For the first time ever, the composition of the All-Star teams will be determined about 30 minutes before the game.

It's interesting to see how the NBA is experimenting with new formats for the All-Star Game to keep the event fresh and exciting for fans.

Having the captains pick the teams on the court adds a new level of excitement and drama to the event, as it creates a more interactive and engaging experience for both the players and the fans. It's a unique way to showcase the personalities and preferences of the players and create some friendly competition on the court.

I look forward to seeing how this new format plays out and how the players and fans respond to it. Choosing the reserves first before the starters would indeed mean that the last player picked would be one of the starters, which would eliminate any potential hurt feelings from being the last reserve selected.

With that said, I truly believe LeBron will be targeting Kyrie Irving, Luca Doncic, Jayson Tatum, and Joel Embiid as his starters. For the reserves, I believe that King James will select Pascal Siakam, Jarren Jackson Jr., Julius Randle, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, DeMar DeRozan, Jaylen Brown, and Damian Lillard.

As for Team Giannis, I have a feeling he will stick with his fellow Euro big guys, filling out his roster with Lauri Markkanen, Domantas Sabonis, and Nikola Jokic. Ja Morant and Donovan Mitchell will make up his backcourt, while Paul George, Bam Adebayo, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, De’Aaron Fox, and Bucks teammate Jrue Holiday will round out his roster.

Team LeBron opens the betting line as the favorites to win at -154. The newly-crowned all-time scoring leader also leads the pack at +550 for the All-Star MVP award. Knowing his extremely high basketball IQ, my money will be on LeBron to once again draft the right teammates and win the midseason classic for the sixth straight time. As for the MVP, I think Luka Doncic will end up winning his first of many All-Star Game MVP hardware. And yes, this is going to be a high-scoring ball game with both teams surpassing 150 points, so OVER is the safer pick here.

Team LeBron 175, Team Giannis 170

BetMGM's odds

Spread: +3 (-110) / -3 (-110)

Total: o/u 325(-110)

Moneyline: +130 /-150

NBA All-Star Weekend has arrived and if you are a hoops fan, this is the time to bet big!!!

Make sure to track all your bets this weekend in the Vault app to see your stats, trends, and where you're most profitable.


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