Could a basketball team with LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Steph Curry, Luka Doncic and Nikola Jokic possibly ever lose? William Hill Sportsbook oddsmakers apparently don't think so as Team LeBron, which will start those five players, is a 2.5-point favorite on the NBA odds for Sunday's All-Star Game in Atlanta over Team Kevin Durant – KD is out injured and won't play. The total is set an obscene 308.5 points, but there's no defense played in an All-Star Game. Check out SportsLine NBA expert Mike Barner's pick for this game.
LeBron, Giannis and Curry have combined for eight regular-season NBA MVP Awards, and James is a +210 co-favorite with Joel Embiid to win his fifth. Jokic is +350, Curry +1300, Doncic also +1300 and Giannis +1600 to win a third in a row. That's an absurd starting five. Did we mention Team LeBron also has Damian Lillard?
Upon hearing his new teammates for Sunday's game, Giannis proclaimed "it's over, guys." As the leading overall vote-getter, James picked Giannis first overall, then Curry third, Doncic fifth and Jokic seventh.
Believe it or not, James and Curry have never played on the same team in an NBA game/exhibition. Of course, LeBron was in the Eastern Conference for the vast majority of his career. Since the All-Star Game shifted from Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference to a captain's pick format, Team LeBron is 3-0. This season, Team LeBron is coached by the Sixers' Doc Rivers.
Durant chose Nets teammate Kyrie Irving at No. 2 overall, Embiid at No. 4, Kawhi Leonard at No. 6, NBA scoring leader Bradley Beal at No. 8 and Jayson Tatum at No. 9 -- Durant picked twice in a row as Tatum will replace him as the starter. Durant had the first choice among reserves and picked another Nets teammate in James Harden. Team Durant is coached by the Jazz's Quin Snyder.
When looking at both combined rosters, Team Durant has the edge in combined points scored during the 2020-21 regular season (he picked five of the league's Top 10 scorers), but Team LeBron has the edge in rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, field-goal percentage and player efficiency rating.
To no surprise, James is the +450 moneyline betting favorite to win All-Star Game MVP. He has won it three times, last in 2018. The record is four by Bob Pettit and Kobe Bryant – the award is now called the Kobe Bryant Most Valuable Player Award.
Speaking of Kobe, the All-Star Game will have an "Elam Ending" like last year. That means 24 points – in honor of Kobe's No. 24 with the Lakers -- is added to the total of the team leading after three quarters (or if tied), and the first team in the fourth quarter to reach that total wins. There is no clock in the fourth quarter.
Team Giannis led Team LeBron 133-124 through three quarters in 2020, so the winning score was set at 157. Team LeBron got their first, prevailing 157-155 in Chicago. The players seemed to love the concept as things got really competitive.
Betting Note: William Hill has odds active on the 3-Point Contest and Skills Challenge for Sunday, but only a couple of states are allowing betting on the Slam Dunk Contest -- because that's decided by judges and not actually by competition, most states won't allow it.
- Captain: LeBron James, Lakers
- Pick 1: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks
- Pick 2: Stephen Curry, Warriors
- Pick 3: Luka Doncic, Mavericks
- Pick 4: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets
- Pick 5: Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers
- Pick 6: Ben Simmons, 76ers
- Pick 7: Chris Paul, Suns
- Pick 8: Jaylen Brown, Celtics
- Pick 9: Paul George, Clippers
- Pick 10: Domantas Sabonis, Pacers
- Pick 11: Rudy Gobert, Jazz
- Captain: Kevin Durant, Nets (injured, will not play)
- Pick 1: Kyrie Irving, Nets
- Pick 2: Joel Embiid, 76ers
- Pick 3: Kawhi Leonard, Clippers
- Pick 4: Bradley Beal, Wizards
- Pick 5: Jayson Tatum, Celtics
- Pick 6: James Harden, Nets
- Pick 7: Devin Booker, Suns
- Pick 8: Zion Williamson, Pelicans
- Pick 9: Zach LaVine, Bulls
- Pick 10: Julius Randle, Knicks
- Pick 11: Nikola Vucevic, Magic
- Pick 12: Donovan Mitchell, Jazz
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it returned over $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks last season. The model is also up almost $8,500 on top-rated NBA picks over the past two-plus seasons. Dating back to last season, it enters Week 11 of the 2020-21 NBA schedule on a stunning 85-52 roll on top-rated NBA picks against the spread. Anybody who has followed it has seen HUGE returns.