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NBA All-Star MVP Preview: Gambling On The Narratives

Like SGP insider Christian Pina said on the Inside Vegas podcast last week, the NBA is all about narratives. It’s a players’ league, and the best way to drive interest in the players themselves is through great storytelling. Almost every star player has a “saga.”

The Lebron saga, for instance, starts with the most-hyped high school player of all time, then the downfall of The Decision, the return to Cleveland, the move to LA — with tens of thousands of rumors in between. Russell Westbrook’s triple-double narrative won him an MVP, but now the public is “over that story.”

When betting on the All-Star Game‘s MVP, it helps to follow the narratives. This brings some guys into focus, and takes others off the table.

Guys With A Chance

Giannis Antetokounmpo +600

The Bucks are currently the best team in the East, and yet no one is really talking about them. Giannis is having an unbelievable season, dominating everything in his path on the way to becoming the “captain” for Team Giannis. His drafting strategy was interesting. Lebron has the better team on paper, which makes me think Giannis is setting up to have a big night himself. He’ll have the ball in his hands a ton and, with no one really playing defense, will have open lanes for killer dunks all night.

In terms of his narrative, Giannis is arguably a top-5 NBA player and is one of the top faces of international basketball. A big game Sunday night could put both Giannis and the Bucks on the map as they gear up for a playoff run.

Kemba Walker +800

Kemba’s narrative is simple — he’s the hometown kid and a first-time starter. The game is being played in Charlotte, a city that desperately needs Kemba to stay around. A big night here with the crowd behind him could be special … I can just see the post-game speech now thanking the Charlotte crowd and saying how much he loves the city.

Paul George +800

This is a guy who is “making the leap” deep into his NBA career. He’s playing, by far, the best basketball of his career for OKC this year and a big game could plant him squarely in the conversation for league MVP.

Stephen Curry +500

Steph has been awful quiet as of late and this is a man who might only need 15-20 shots to put up 40. If he gets ridiculously hot, he could be the guy. Not to mention, Charlotte is where he grew up.

The No-Bet List

Kyrie Irving +900

It’s been a rough year for Kyrie in terms of his public image, and the amount of injury concerns he’s had as of late leads me to believe he won’t be playing a ton of minutes in this game.

All The Big Guys

If you don’t have the ball in your hands, I think it’s extremely hard to stand-out in a game that is all about shooting and fastbreaks. I don’t see the ball getting dumped down to Nikola Vučević so he can methodically beat his man with pivotry.

Kawhi Leonard +1400

Even though he is debuting a new shoe this week, it would be extremely out of character for Kawhi to care about this game (or anything).


Zach is currently a law student and loves to write about all things hoops. Follow him on twitter @NBAZachB for all of his articles and daily NBA picks.


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