State Farm Arena in Atlanta will host the 2021 NBA All-Star Game on Sunday. The game headlines a full evening of festivities, including the Slam Dunk Contest, Three-Point Competition, and Skills Challenge, all of which are usually held on Saturday. Team LeBron takes on Team Durant in the NBA All-Star Game 2021 matchup, with the teams selected via draft by captains LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Joel Embiid and Sixers teammate Ben Simmons have been ruled out due to COVID-19 protocols.
Tipoff is at 8 p.m. ET. William Hill Sportsbook lists Team LeBron as a four-point favorite, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 317.5 in the latest 2021 NBA All-Star Game odds after opening at 308.5. Before making any 2021 NBA All-Star Game picks, be sure to see the predictions from SportsLine's proven NBA handicapper, Mike Barner.
Barner is a respected NBA Fantasy expert, both season-long and DFS, whose work has appeared in Sports Illustrated and on Yahoo, RotoWire and KFFL. He has also been featured on ESPN Radio. He digs deep into the data, examining team trends and projecting game outcomes.
With his unmatched analysis, Barner spots opportunities against the spread as well as on totals. Barner's expertise has been on full display lately. He is on a 35-23 run in against-the-spread NBA picks, returning over $950 to $100 players. Anybody following him is way up.
Now, he has zeroed in on Sunday's NBA All-Star Game 2021, analyzed the rosters and matchups, and released a confident against-the-spread pick. Head to SportsLine now to see it. Here are the 2021 NBA All-Star Game lines:
- NBA All-Star Game 2021 spread: Team LeBron -4
- NBA All-Star Game 2021 over-under: 317.5 points
- NBA All-Star Game 2021 money line: Team LeBron -180, Team Durant +160
- Team LeBron: James will try for a fourth straight All-Star win
- Team Durant: Durant will be replaced as a starter by Boston's Jayson Tatum.
2021 NBA All-Star Game format
For the second straight year, the NBA will use a different format for the All-Star Game. The scoreboard will reset to 0-0 at the start of the first three quarters. The clock will not be a factor to begin the fourth quarter, with the league setting a "target score" to determine the final result. The first team that reaches or exceeds that score is deemed the winner.
The target score is determined by taking the score of the team with the most total points after three quarters and adding 24. The use of the target score, often referred to as the "Elam Ending," was popular in 2020 and provided a highly intriguing atmosphere. The use of 24 points as the target score is a tribute to Kobe Bryant, who wore the number for the Los Angeles Lakers.
Why Team LeBron can cover
LeBron James is the only captain playing in the game. That helps not only his team, but also hurts the opposition, as Kevin Durant is a strong player in his own right. Alongside James, Rudy Gobert is the NBA's best rim-protector and could be utilized well to defend Team Durant in crunch time.
Chris Paul remains an elite force with experience as a former All-Star MVP, Jaylen Brown and Paul George are switchable, two-way wings, and Team LeBron has plenty of shooting with Stephen Curry and Damian Lillard. When the starters are on the floor, Team LeBron also has the edge, with Luka Doncic as the team's de facto fifth starter despite averaging 28.6 points, 9.0 assists and 8.4 rebounds per game this season.
Why Team Durant can cover
Shot-making won't be an issue for Team Durant. Bradley Beal is the NBA's leading scorer, averaging 32.9 points, while Kyrie Irving puts up 27.2 per game with elite efficiency. Kawhi Leonard is the reigning All-Star MVP with two-way appeal.
Off the bench, Devin Booker, Zach LaVine and Donovan Mitchell each average more than 24 points per game, and any one of those guards could catch fire at any time. James Harden is the NBA's leader in assists, averaging 11.1 per game since joining the Nets, and is more than capable of a scoring outburst. Zion Williamson is also a potential X-factor as an athletic marvel who can't be defended with one player.
How to make 2021 NBA All-Star Game picks
Barner is leaning over on the total, and he's also found a critical X-factor that has him jumping all over one side of the spread. You can find out what it is, and which side he's backing, over at SportsLine.
Who wins the NBA All-Star Game 2021? And what crucial X-factor makes one side of the spread hit hard? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side is a must-back on Sunday, all from the SportsLine expert on an impressive 35-23 NBA run, and find out.