Giannis Antetokounmpo is the +600 favorite to win the Kobe Bryant MVP Award at Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, followed by LeBron James at +700 and Jayson Tatum and Steph Curry at +800.

Great odds on great players, but are any of them the best bet?

The All-Star MVP award is one of the toughest things to predict because there is not a single bad player on either of this year’s 12-man rosters, and the winner is going to be the player who gets hot at the right moment while also getting a boost from his teammates and coach.

Back when Anthony Davis won the MVP award at the 2017 All-Star Game, he was neck-and-neck with Russell Westbrook midway through the fourth quarter when coach Steve Kerr pulled Westbrook from the game. Westbrook had won the last two All-Star MVP awards in 2015 and 2016, but the game was being played in New Orleans -- home of Davis’ Pelicans team -- and Western Conference teammates began feeding Davis the ball every time downcourt, allowing him to score what was then a record 52 points.

The circumstances of the moment and the location were determining factors, and if Kerr had not been the decision-maker, history might have been different. But that is a basketball lesson to remember as we head into Sunday’s NBA showcase event. There are no bad choices among the 24 All-Stars, but there are 23 great players who are not going to win that award.

Hitting this one requires a combination of skill, luck and astute use of your hourglass. You’ll also want to consider that the game is being held in Indianapolis, where the hometown Pacers will be represented only by Tyrese Haliburton, who is making his second All-Star appearance and first as a starter.

In a game guaranteed to be extremely high-scoring, would it be wise to bet on the local hero, who also leads the NBA in assists with 11.7 per game?

Well, consider this: The All-Star record for most assists in a game is 22 by Magic Johnson in the 1984 event, and second place is also held by Magic for his 18 assists in the 1988 game. But the MVP awards in those two years went to Isiah Thomas and Michael Jordan, in large part because the East won both games, and Magic was a lifelong member of the Western Conference’s Los Angeles Lakers.

Haliburton could quite possibly have 23 or more assists to set a new record, but will that be enough if the East does not win? It is worth considering, because the West is the better conference and is favored by 2½ points.

With that in mind, here are three picks we feel are worthy of your consideration as you make your way through All-Star Weekend and try to figure out whose star will shine the brightest on Sunday night.

And, remember, the MVP winner will likely come from the winning team. The last player from a losing team to win it was Magic Johnson in 1990 when he was the leading scorer with 22 points. That game included 11 of the 12 eventual members of the original Olympic Dream Team.

2024 NBA All-Star MVP Odds

Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee Bucks +600
LeBron James, Los Angeles Lakers +700
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics, +800
Steph Curry, Golden State Warriors, +800
Anthony Edwards, Minnesota Timberwolves, +1000
Damian Lillard, Milwaukee Bucks, +1000
Kevin Durant, Phoenix Suns, +1000
Tyrese Haliburton, Indiana Pacers +1000
Shai Gilgeous Alexander, Oklahoma City Thunder +1200
Devin Booker, Phoenix Suns +1400
Luka Dončić, Dallas Mavericks +1500
Donovan Mitchell, Cleveland Cavaliers, +2000
Jalen Brunson, New York Knicks +3300
Paul George, Los Angeles Clippers +3500
Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers +4000
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics +5000
Kawhi Leonard, Los Angeles Lakers +5000
Nikola Jokic, Denver Nuggets +5000
Tyrese Maxey, Philadelphia 76ers +7000
Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota Timberwolves, +8000
Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat +10000
Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks +10000
Paolo Banchero, Orlando Magic +15000
Scottie Barnes, Toronto Raptors, +20000

NBA All-Star MVP Betting Preview and Predictions

The game line is West -2½, and the over/under has been set at 364½. The record for the most total points in an NBA All-Star Game is 374 at the 2017 game in New Orleans, which was the last time there was an East vs. West format and players played a full 48 minutes. Many of this year’s All-Star Game predictions call for that record of 274 to fall, with one team perhaps reaching 200 points.

Top NBA All-Star MVP Picks

There are three players that we find especially wager-worthy -- aside from the aforementioned Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton. Do with this information what you wish, and decide for yourself when it comes to your NBA All-Star Game best bets. But remember one thing: All-Star Game MVP predictions are like armpits: Everyone has them, and most of them stink.

Jayson Tatum (+800)

When he broke the All-Star Game scoring record last year by putting up 55 points, it was Jayson Tatum’s statement game, and that statement was that he was the best young player in the NBA, period. Whether that is true is debatable, but he is most certainly the best young American player, and he will be a key member of coach Steve Kerr’s Team USA squad at this summer’s Olympics in Paris. Eastern Conference coach Doc Rivers is a big Team USA backer and wants Americans to find a player who will take over from LeBron James and Steph Curry as the most popular player with a U.S. passport. There is an undercurrent inside the NBA that USA Basketball will be building the ultimate team this summer for the Paris Olympics, and that point is not always delivered succinctly to the viewing public. But it is happening at the highest levels of the American federation, and Rivers might try to add to it by feeding the Celtics forward, Tatum, more minutes than any other East player.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+1200)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is having an MVP-caliber season for the Oklahoma City Thunder, one of two excellent teams (the other being Minnesota) getting slightly more than zero national recognition because they are new and young and different and do not have the words “Lakers,” “Celtics,” “Sixers,” or “Warriors” on their jerseys. Gilgeous-Alexander will be at the Olympics, too, representing Canada, but on Sunday he will represent the Thunder franchise, which has not had a player of his caliber since Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Russell Westbrook made up that franchise’s big three more than a decade ago. The Thunder’s point guard is incentivized by the lack of recognition for his team.

Anthony Davis (+4000)

Anthony Davis’ All-Star Game scoring record was broken by Jayson Tatum last year, and who is to say that he does not want it back? He is the best offensive-defensive combo player in the NBA and has been for some time, despite what Joel Embiid might think, and he will be the second-most important Laker all weekend, behind James, until the ball goes up. If he could score 52 in 2017, why not 56 in 2024? Of all the long shots, this Lakers power forward might be the most likely to rise up and win a second All-Star MVP award.

Again, do with that information whatever you choose, but at a certain writer’s house, the All-Star picks wagering choice is going to be the third guy listed above (mostly because of the price).

The Pick: Anthony Davis to win All-Star MVP at +4000.

Odds are subject to change*

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