2018 NBA All-Star Game Free Betting Picks

Can a brother get a little defense? I mean, I get it, people want to see points. Defense may win championships, but offense moves the (rating) sticks. The All-Star Game is getting out of control, though. In 2016, the West put up the most points ever in a game with 196 and that was followed by the highest-scoring game ever in 2017. Don't be surprised if a team cracks 200 this decade. This season brings us a new gimmick and I've got to say that I'm a big fan. Team LeBron versus Team Steph. As if this rivalry needed any more fuel. Let's dive in to what should be one of the best All-Star games in years.

Team LeBron- LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Anthony Davis, Kyrie Irving, DeMarcus Cousins
Team Stephen- Stephen Curry, DeMar DeRozan, Giannis Antetoounmpo, James Harden, Joel Embiid

Another important addition to this year's affair will that the players will finally be financially incentivized to, you know, actually try. Players on the winning side will receive $100k, while players on the losing squad will get $25k. I mean, when you're making seven or eight figures, I don't know if you can even tell the difference between five and six figure pay days. I guess we're about to find out. The players seem happy about it telling ESPN that it's "a lot of money" that "will definitely help."

I think the most intriguing aspect of this game will be the reunion of former teammates. I know it was cool to see Durant and Westbrook hook up for an alley-oop last year, but that pales in comparison to seeing LeBron and Kyrie in the same uniform again. Will the bad blood still linger? It would have been nice to have some insight into the draft order of these players. For some unknown (and unpopular) reason, the NBA decided not to televise the draft so we'll never know if LeBron actually wanted Kyrie or if he was the only available pick. LeBron called the drafting of his former teammate an "easy choice". Who knows though? The NBA will definitely have to revisit this decision next season.

Finally, what's going to happen in this game? Any long-time readers of mine will know that I have a penchant for picking unders. And this game will be no different. I like the Underbecause I think the odds makers will over correct from last season's aberrant total and the public will likely slam the over, both driving up the total. I do believe that LeBron's squad has the slight edge in overall talent, but I really can't recommend taking either side ML or ATS. It would be like picking a preseason game. You might as well flip a coin. I've got to admit that I usually skip the all-star games across all sports. I just find these games too gimmicky. But the NBA's recent innovations for this one have me intrigued. I'll be tuning in and chanting defense.