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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ROCKETS BEAT THUNDER

Rockets blast Thunder in home opener, 124-91

Rockets take care of business in home opener. Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images.

The Houston Rockets had an impressive outing versus the Oklahoma City Thunder after an embarrassing loss against the Minnesota Timberwolves Wednesday night. They took care of business at home on Friday night, which was a surprising blowout. The Rockets didn't have to worry about Karl-Anthony Towns screaming at Alperen Sengun or Anthony Edwards telling Coach Silas to call a timeout. Instead, they took their frustrations out on the Thunder (another younger core).

"We responded and bounced back from that game 1," Silas said. "I wouldn't say it was taking anything out. It was just learning and applying to what you learn and that's going to be us this year. Applying to what you learn and getting better and having some games like we had the other day. Veteran teams have some games when they don't play as well they want."

Christian Wood led the way, as he controlled the paint on all aspects with rebounding and putbacks. He played an incredible game after having a poor performance versus the Timberwolves. Silas showed complete trust in allowing Wood to open sets, as he walked the ball down the court several times, and in transition too. Wood became aggressive on the perimeter with open shooting and tough shots, and long strides towards the rim. He finished the night with 31 points and 13 rebounds off 66 percent shooting from the field.

The young core for the Thunder had a tough night defending Wood from every aspect. Hopefully, he keeps this play up. Silas loved the space that was created throughout the game for Wood, which included the help from Eric Gordon, as he continued to play better. Wood continues to develop underneath the Silas umbrella. He had a great feel for off-the-dribble shooting a few times. Wood becomes more dangerous when space is created on the court.

"It allows me to show what I can do. It allows the floor to be open and I can create for other guys and create for myself," Wood said.

As Gordon continues to impress, his teammate Kevin Porter Jr was amazed with his performance.

Gordon looked marvelous inside and outside of the paint, as it looked like a time ripple. The younger guards of the Thunder had a tough time staying in front of Gordon. His size and strength gave the Thunder a huge problem. Gordon is shooting the ball better too, as he is shooting the three-ball at 70 percent this season. Although it's a small sample size, Gordon is trying to overcome his shooting struggles from last year. Gordon finished with 22 points on 66 percent shooting versus the Thunder.

"EG is the biggest part of this squad," Porter said. He comes in and just scores. We need somebody off the bench to do that. He is our guy when me and J come out, it's EG time and he knows that, and comes in aggressive. So much energy on the bench, and we need that every night from him if we want a chance to win."

As I recently mentioned Porter, his facilitation did look better versus the Thunder than the Timberwolves. Porter had nine turnovers in his first game but managed to have two Friday night. He made great slip passes and found open teammates in the open corner. Porter forced a good number of passes versus the Timberwolves but looked more relaxed Friday night. The hardest position in the NBA is the point guard position, but Silas will not allow Porter to fail. Instead of nine turnovers, Porter dished out nine assists. Silas said:

"Bounce back right, going from nine turnovers to nine assists… I think he had two turnovers tonight, which is great. He is making plays for his teammates, and he was really focused."

Porter's shiftiness and creative ability allowed his teammates to get open looks near the rim. He had 18 points because of his step-back threes and first step going towards the basket. Thankfully, Porter is a great ball handler, which confuses defenders on different spots on the court. It's almost like watching a ballerina skate on ice in the Olympics. Hopefully, his confidence continues to get better throughout the year. Porter shot the three-ball at 50 percent tonight. Efficiency is key for Porter this year.

"I'm just trying to let the game slow down," Porter said. "I had a lot of turnovers last game and I just wanted to piggyback and learn from them and learn from some of my forced passes and reads. And sometimes I still force it a little bit. My guys hate that, and sometimes I'm still passive and I'm working on that. When to pass and score and bounce it out, and tonight I felt like I did a good job of that."

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