The NBA All-Star Game ends Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET. It’s not a traditional sporting event, but there are ways to get in on the action on the DraftKings Sportsbook. It’s a meaningless exposition on paper, but so are NFL preseason games and spring training games. The game may mean nothing, but for individual players, exhibits can mean a lot.
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There are only stories. Throw out stats and trends, or at least dial them up. Surprisingly, the majority of recent NBA All-Star Games have been settled by less than five points, but recent All-Star Game trends aren’t the best data for baseline analysis. Instead, we navigate Story Street on Sunday. Whether you’re betting on spring training exhibitions or NFL preseason games, a winning approach is to understand the narratives – or better, the incentives. This narrative word is often used as a pejorative in gambling and DFS. If it helps, consider an NBA player’s story as a player’s motivation in this contest. Wins in pre-season and spring training are often the result of exceptional efforts by individual players motivated to make the team or prove something. So who wants to prove something on Sunday night?
The NBA All-Star Game is in Cleveland. Cavaliers representatives Jarrett Allen and Darius Garland will be the most motivated players on the field. They might be the only motivated players on the pitch given the typical nonchalant approach and limited effort exerted by most players in this contest. Both Allen and Garland play for Team LeBron. If anyone else is motivated to play hard in Cleveland, Ohio, it’s going to be LeBron James. He wants to win in Cleveland and he aspires to stardom on the big stages (Team LeBron is 4-0). He can’t help it. When most players are clowning around, LeBron will run around the court like it’s Game 7.
Plus, if it matters, Team LeBron is a better team. If it matters.
LeBron James +650
Jarrett Allen (+10,000) will be motivated to impress his hometown crowd and get snubbed off the original All-Star Game roster is likely still on his mind. Unfortunately, he lacks the skills to fill out the stat sheet the way needed to earn MVP. His Cleveland teammate Darius Garland (+5,000) is able to score 30 points, but he will not have the opportunity. The memo is out – it’s LeBron’s game. Everyone must withdraw.
Here’s another undeniable tale. This is the NBA’s 75th super special season. The NBA All-Star Game trophy is called the Kobe Bryant Trophy. Kawhi Leonard, a player from Los Angeles, was the first recipient of the award in 2020. Last year, Giannis Antetokounmpo (+400) won, but LeBron James barely played. James has won it all, so of course he needs that trophy on his shelf. Yes, this analysis relies heavily on storytelling, but this is not a situation where net rating, player efficiency rating, and team defensive efficiency matter. This season has been a struggle for James and the Lakers, and it’s an opportunity for James to paint a different picture for the 2021-22 season.
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