GAMBLING GUIDE

All Star Weekend 2018: under the NBA Stars

It is Team Steph vs. Team Lebron on Sunday. SBNation.com

NBA all-star weekend; a display of the league’s most exceptional talent presented through various contesst. The stars of the hardwood are put in front of the world to show off the best of their abilities, and it's a weekend to relax and make some recreational bets. A time to sit back with friends and.....

Wait a minute, who are we kidding? Every year when events like this come around, gamblers print tickets at a frantic pace in the hope of guessing who are going to be this year's champions. The odds on some of the contestants are very attractive, and the fact that this is an all stat competition leads us to believe it truly is anyone's game to win. Let's get into some of the numbers and see where we can get the best value.

3-point contest

Klay Thompson +220
Eric Gordon (+425)
Wayne Ellington (+600)
Devin Booker (+600)
Paul George (+625)
Bradley Beal (+770)
Kyle Lowry (+1000)
Tobias Harris (+1100)

The 2016 Champion Klay Thompson headlines this year's contest. He leads the field as the favorite and pays +220 ($100 pays $220). The defending champion and Houston favorite Eric Gordon is the second favorite (+425), followed by Ellington, Booker, George and Beal in the middle tier. Rounding out the group and paying the most are Lowry and Harris. A $100 wager on former Houston guard Kyle Lowry would pay you $1000!!!

Most points in a round:  Klay Thompson is tied for the record (Stephen Curry) scoring 27 out of 34 total points in his 2016 final round.

Throwback: In 1986, the NBA added the 3-point contest and former NBA all-star game MVP Larry Bird was the favorite.

The Boston legend walked into the locker room before the shootout and asked. "Which one of you guys is going to finish second?"  He would go on to raise the first 3-point trophy beating out Craig Hodges. That year Hodges scored 25 points in the first round, a record that wouldn't be broken until 2016.

Players with multiple wins:
Craig Hodges 1st-3 times 2nd- 2 times
Larry Bird  1st- 3 times
Peja Stojakovic 1st- 2 times 2nd- 2 times
Jeff Hornacek   1st- 2 times
Mark Price 1st- 2 times
Jason Kapono 1st- 2 times

Dunk contest

Dennis Smith Jr.   +165
Donovan Mitchell  +225       
Larry Nance, Jr.   +275
Victor Oladipo   +460

In a chance to defy physics, the high flyers of the league take the main stage to cap the night off. This year’s event features two rookies in Dennis Smith Jr. and Donovan Mitchell. The favorite, Smith, is a 6'2 point guard out of North Carolina State that jumps out of the arena everytime he leaves his feet. The other rookie Mitchell is filling in for the injured Aaron Gordon. Utah's newcomer is said to be leading the rookie of the year race so look for the 21-year-old to make noise on Saturday with his Thunderous dunks. The son of a former champion in this competition, Larry Nance Jr., attempts to enact what his father did in 1984. That year his father embraced the role of the underdog beating out basketball legends Julius Erving and Dominique Wilkins. This year's largest payout lies with underdog Victor Oladipo. A $100 wager on Indiana's All-star will pay you $460. There might be value in that number considering this isn't his first appearance in the contest. In 2015, Oladipo lost to Zach LaVine in the championship round.

Throwback: Nate Robinson is the only 3-time winner of this event, but not without controversy. In his first title, many fans feel he has gifted the trophy. He edged out Andre Iguodala by one point but needed 14 attempts to complete one of his dunks. That year featured the first-ever tiebreaker as both scored 94 points in the final round. Needless to say, the rule was changed in 2007 allowing contestants only 2 minutes to complete their dunks and solely two chances outside of that time frame.  His 14 attempts on a dunk with no penalty left 76'er fans with a foul taste for the contest.

2018 NBA All-Star game

Team LeBron -3.5 -120
Team Steph +3.5 -120

OVER 346 -120
UNDER 346 -120

The last two years games have seen totals of 374 and 369. Before that, no game had ever crossed this year’s 346 total. Even in 2003 when the game went into double overtime, the final score was 155-145.

There might be value in going with the under for the game as the new draft format might give players extra motivation on defense. I don't advise betting under on an All-Star game and watching; could take years off your life.

Any questions or comments reach me at @JerryboKnowz on twitter.

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McCullers Jr. out-pitched friend and former teammate Dallas Keuchel on Father's Day. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

With three impressive wins to start this series against the once AL-leading Chicago White Sox, Houston tried to extend their winning streak to seven games and finish a four-game sweep on Father's Day. Thanks to a big inning against former-Astro Dallas Keuchel, they would win to keep their hot streak going.

Final Score: Astros 8, White Sox 2

Astros' Record: 43-28, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Lance McCullers Jr. (4-1)

Losing Pitcher: Dallas Keuchel (6-2)

Rough return to Houston for Keuchel

In his first game against his old squad, Dallas Keuchel would not have a memorable start on the mound for Chicago. Houston made him labor in the first inning, loading the bases though they only came away with one run on an RBI single by Abraham Toro, grabbing the early 1-0 lead. After going down 1-2-3 in the second, they got after Keuchel again in the third.

They ended up batting around against him that inning, including a two-RBI single by Yordan Alvarez, RBI double by Taylor Jones, and bases-loaded RBI-walk by Jose Altuve, which would end Keuchel's day very early and leave the bases juiced. Chicago's bullpen would walk another batter to give Keuchel another earned run, making it a 6-2 game, with all six going against the former Houston ace. Carlos Correa extended the lead to five runs in the next inning, hitting a leadoff solo home run to make it 7-2.

McCullers Jr. gives up two over six

That gave Lance McCullers Jr. a nice lead to work with, and he managed it well. He had one big mistake in the early goings of the game, giving up a one-out single in the second to set up a two-run home run, which at the time put Chicago in front 2-1 before Houston's offense came alive. He followed that up with four scoreless innings, erasing a walk in each with some tremendous defense behind him—his final line: 6.0 IP, 2 H, 2 ER, 4 BB, 4 K, 1 HR, 94 P.

Astros complete the sweep to jump on top of the standings

Still a six-run game in the top of the seventh, Blake Taylor entered as the first reliever out of Houston's bullpen, tossing a 1-2-3 frame. He continued in the top of the eighth, getting two strikeouts in another scoreless inning. The 8-2 score would go final as Ralph Garza Jr. would enter as the third pitcher of the day to wrap things up with a scoreless top of the ninth to finish the four-game sweep. The win, their seventh straight, paired with an Oakland loss earlier in the afternoon, moves Houston into the top spot in the AL West based on winning percentage.

Up Next: This long stretch of consecutive games continues on Monday in Baltimore, as the Astros pick up a seven-game road trip starting with a three-game set against Baltimore getting underway at 6:05 PM Central. Jake Odorizzi (1-3, 5.68 ERA) will get the start for Houston, going opposite of Keegan Akin (0-2, 5.76 ERA) for the Orioles.

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