2018 NBA Rising Stars Challenge odds, picks for Team USA vs. World

NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles tips off at 9 p.m. ET Friday with the Rising Stars Challenge, which pits the best American rookies and sophomores against their counterparts from the rest of the world. Team World opened as four-point favorites, but the line has since swung six points to Team USA -2. The over-under, or total number of points Vegas expects to be scored, is 300, up 3.5 from the open. 

Before you make any kind of pick on this high-flying matchup, you have to see what SportsLine NBA expert Galin Dragiev has to say.

Known as "the Dragon" in handicapping circles, Dragiev has degrees in Mechanical Engineering and Physics. He uses that analytical background every time he makes a pick.

That's helped him to a blistering 27-13 run on his NBA picks heading into the All-Star break. Now he's set his sights on the Rising Stars Challenge and his strong plays are in.

We can tell you that he likes the over because of the style of play and background of many of these players.

"These young guys are all on teams that run fast-paced offenses," Dragiev said. "Dennis Smith Jr., Jamal Murray, Frank Ntilikina and Donovan Mitchell will run all night."

But his stronger pick for this matchup is against the spread, and he's sharing that one only over at SportsLine.

Dragiev has studied these rosters and has taken into account that Team World features Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid, who will likely be the best overall player on the floor.

Thirty percent of Team World comes from one NBA team. The Philadelphia 76ers will be represented well by Embiid of Cameroon (23.7 points, 11.1 rebounds per game), Dario Saric of Croatia (14.7 points, 6.9 rebounds) and Ben Simmons of Australia (16.4 points, 7.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists).

Team World may have the two biggest All-Star Game snubs in Embiid and Simmons, but Team USA has advantages too.

Team USA features plenty of hot-shooting, athletic players who will look to get the ball up and down the court and turn NBA Rising Stars into a fast-paced contest.

If there's such a thing as homecourt advantage during the All-Star break, Team USA owns it. Two Los Angeles Lakers -- Kyle Kuzma (15.7 ppg, 5.9 rpg) and Brandon Ingram (16.2 ppg, 5.2 rpg) -- will suit up in front of the home fans, which could sway momentum.

There's also the potential of teammates seeking locker room bragging rights. The Kings' De'Aaron Fox (11.3 ppg) of Team USA faces off against teammates Buddy Hield of the Bahamas (12.5 ppg) and Bogdan Bogdanovic of Serbia (11.5 ppg) on Team World.

Dragiev has evaluated all of these circumstances and has found an x-factor that gives a strong clue to which side you should back. He's sharing what that is, and his point-spread pick, only over at SportsLine.

So what side do you need to be all over when Team USA plays Team World in the Rising Stars Challenge? Visit SportsLine now to find out what the x-factor for this matchup will be and which Rising Stars Challenge team you should back, all from an expert on a blistering 27-13 run on his NBA picks.

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