Julius Randle of Knicks Has Longest Odds for NBA All-Star MVP
OK, Knicks fans. You’ve got one guy in the All-Star game Sunday, and he has the longest shot in the field to be named All-Star game MVP. If you really, truly bleed orange and blue, Julius Randle is your guy.
And yes, you will have to cross state lines to make this wager, because it’s voted on by media members covering the game (75% of the ballot count) and fans watching the game (25% of the vote count). As we have told you, anything voted on by humans is verboten under New York’s sports gambling laws, so you now have a reason to visit Connecticut or Massachusetts, or New Jersey this weekend.
Randle and Tyrese Haliburton are both listed at +10000 at PointsBet in New Jersey, while FanDuel Sportsbook has Randle and Domantis Sabonis, Jaylen Brown, Tyrese Haliburton, Bam Adebayo, Jrue Holiday, Jaren Jackson Jr. and DeMar DeRozan all listed at +9500. Barstool Sports has Randle at +6000, and Borgata has him at +8000. Many sportsbooks haven’t yet posted All-Star MVP odds.
No Knick has won MVP of the All-Star game since guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier in 1975. That was five years after center Willis Reed became the first member of the Knicks to win the award, now called the Kobe Bryant Most Valuable Player Award.
Is Randle Worth the Wager?
In short, probably not. This is a guy who thrives in Tom Thibodeau’s system and leads the team in scoring (24.8) and rebounding (10.8), and who won’t be an All-Star starter. We won’t even know which team he is on until the captains, LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo, draft them on Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. EST.
This is the first time the NBA All-Star Draft will take place right before the game. Team LeBron will have the first pick since James was the overall leading vote-getter in the All-Star balloting process.
The captains will take turns drafting from the pool of 22 players voted into the All-Star field. They’ll first select from the 14 All-Star reserves, then from the other eight All-Star starters. Conference affiliation doesn’t matter during the draft process. And one of the captains will have to select Kyrie Irving (we should expect LeBron to make that move, as James wanted the Lakers to acquire his former teammate in a trade from the Brooklyn Nets).
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Michael Malone and Joe Mazzulla will be the coaches, and the format is going to have some people confused.
What are the Rules for Sunday’s Game?
The biggest difference from a “normal” NBA game is the introduction of a “target score” to determine the winner. Each All-Star team will compete to win each of the first three quarters, all of which will start with a score of 0-0 and will be 12 minutes long. At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the game clock will be turned off and a final target score will be set.
The final target score will be determined by taking the leading team’s total cumulative score through three quarters and adding 24 points – the 24 representing Kobe Bryant’s jersey number for the final 10 seasons of his NBA career. The teams will then play an untimed fourth quarter, and the first team to reach the final target score will win the game.
For instance, if the cumulative score of the first three quarters is 100-95, the final target score would be set at 124 points. To win, the team with 100 points would need to score 24 points in the fourth quarter before the team with 95 points scores 29 points, and vice versa. With no minimum or maximum time on the clock in the fourth quarter. It will end with a made basket or a free throw.
That means the MVP will likely be the player who has been killing it through the first three quarters. Scoring 24 points in an All-Star game doesn’t take long, which means the fourth quarter could last only 10-12 minutes. The ballot tabulation process takes place inside the Vivent Arena in Salt Lake City, and the media members who are selected as voters will have NBA interns and media relations officials standing aside them awaiting their ballots.
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Randle would need to be dominant in the second and third quarters in order to win, and protocol among coaches in these games is to try to spread the minutes around fairly evenly, but also to ride the hot hand. Knicks fans may want to hedge their Randle bets with wagers on the kid from Westchester County who was traded to Cleveland instead of the Knicks last summer.
That would be Donovan Mitchell, who will want to make an impression at his former home arena. He’s on the board at +1400.
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Fan Duel lists James, Antetokounmpo, and Joel Embiid as the +650 co-favorites, and PointsBet has Antetokounmpo as the +600 favorite. That could change if he is ruled out of the game after injuring his wrist Thursday night against the Bulls. Barstool has LeBron at +450, and Borgata has him at +550.
As for Randle, look at it this way: odds of 100-1 are what they are. If you take a flyer on someone, you may as well go with the best Knick not named Jalen Brunson. Randle was a worthy Most Improved Player wager two years ago, and with the crazy altered format, you just never know. Good luck, and enjoy the game.