When the NBA's best gather in Los Angeles this weekend for the league's annual All-Star Game there's plenty of money to be made on All-Star prop bets.
And that's after you decide whether the West deserves to be a 2.5-point underdog the game (the best West line online which was available at Sports Interaction Sunday morning).
The All-Star Game returns to an NBA venue this season after last year's contest was held at Cowboys Stadium. Los Angeles' Staples Center will host the game for the first time since 2004. In that game the West defeated the East 136-132 as a member of the Lakers, Shaquille O'Neal, picked up MVP honors.
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The East heads into this year's game as the All-Star champ, edging the West 141-139 in Dallas last year. Dwyane Wade won the MVP for the first time by scoring 28 points and handing out 11 assists.
Wade has a chance to repeat as MVP after getting voted in as a starter for the East. The other East starters include Wade's Miami teammate and former All-Star MVP LeBron James, Chicago's Derrick Rose, New York's Amar'e Stoudemire, and Orlando's Dwight Howard.
The West's starting roster is also entirely made up of former All-Stars: the Lakers' Kobe Bryant, New Orleans' Chris Paul, Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant, Denver's Carmelo Anthony, and Houston's Yao Ming. The injured Ming won't be playing this weekend, however.
Now that you know all of the starters you can try and pick the MVP. The All-Star MVP almost always ends up going to one of the starters, and in the last five years it has been the LeBron and Kobe show. Before Wade's MVP win last year either Kobe or LeBron had won the MVP the past four years. The only anomaly was in 2009, when Kobe shared the MVP with Shaq.
Kobe leads LeBron in the MVP race with three to LeBron's two, and at Sportsbook.ag he's the favorite to win another MVP award on the All-Star prop odds. Kobe is listed at +400, but LeBron is right behind him at +500. Also clocking in at +500 is Durant, who definitely has the ability and the showmanship to snag the award.
If you think Wade can make it back-to-back award wins he can be had at +700, while other favorites include Rose at +600, Anthony at +800, and Kevin Love also at +800.
The All-Star props at Sportsbook.ag don't stop with the All-Star MVP. There are also props on who will score the game's first point, and who will hit the game's first three-pointer.
For the game's first point you might expect Kobe and LeBron to be the favorites. That's not the case though - on the odds list the favorites are Durant, Stoudemire, and Howard all at +500. Having one of the point guards, either Paul or Rose, dish off to one of the big men to open things up could happen, but do you really think Kobe or LeBron won't take the early shot if the ball gets into their hands? They're both listed at +600.
The odds for the three-pointer prop might also surprise some bettors. The best three-point shooter in the All-Star Game according to this year's stats is Ray Allen, but since he's not a starter the chances of him hitting the first three likely aren't that good. The co-favorites on the odds are Kobe and Paul, both at +400.
They're followed by five players at +600, including LeBron, Rose, and Wade. From the entire starting lineup Paul has the best three-point shooting percentage this season and could be the smart pick to nail the first shot of the game from behind the arc.