The World Is On Fire: Betting Friday's Rising Stars Challenge Game

Thursday, February 14, 2019 2:44 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019 2:44 PM UTC

Team USA has yet to beat the NBA odds at the Rising Stars Challenge game. What makes Team World so good during All-Star Weekend?

Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record: 12-10 ATS, 0-1 ML (minus-1.15 units), 16-7 Totals

Team World vs. Team USAFriday, 9 p.m. ET TNTFree NBA Pick: Team World ATSBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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Does the United States still produce the best basketball players on Earth? Maybe. But it’s almost unfair to have them go up against the entire rest of the world – Team World in this case. We’re talking about the Rising Stars Challenge, formerly known as the Rookie Challenge. It’s the second event on the All-Star Weekend calendar (after the Celebrity Game), and it’s as close to a slam-dunk as you’ll find on the NBA odds board this weekend.

To put it mildly, Team USA is being set up. Friday’s game in Charlotte will pit 20 of the league’s best rookies and sophomores against each other – 10 from the states, 10 from other countries. These players are chosen in advance by a panel of assistant coaches from around the NBA. In the four previous games, Team World went 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS. We’re obviously putting Team World in our NBA picks. Here’s why you should, too.

The Billions ... and Billions

Even if this were a level playing field – court, excuse me – we’d probably bet on Team World. Most of the betting action for the Rising Stars Challenge will come from fans in the United States, and most of them will bet on Team USA, because USA. Their action pushes the line too far in the other direction and makes Team World the value pick.

It’s more than just blind patriotism, though. There are something like 330 million people in the United States – and another 7.4 billion people from other countries around the world. Of course, they don’t all play basketball, but you’re still dealing with a population base over 20 times what America has to offer. It’s a stacked deck, folks.

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Knicks rookie Kevin Knox will replace Lonzo Ball in the Rising Stars Game during All-Star Weekend pic.twitter.com/yfq914xlQn

— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) February 6, 2019
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World Party

The rest of the world is getting pretty good at basketball, too. Take a look at the players on Team World this year:

  • Ben Simmons
  • Luka Doncic
  • Lauri Markkanen
  • DeAndre Ayton
  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
  • OG Anunoby
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic
  • Josh Okogie
  • Cedi Osman
  • Rodions Kurucs


Now, here are the players on Team USA:

  • Jayson Tatum
  • Donovan Mitchell
  • Kyle Kuzma
  • Trae Young
  • De’Aaron Fox
  • Marvin Bagley III
  • Jarrett Allen
  • John Collins
  • Kevin Knox
  • Jaren Jackson, Jr.

That pretty much says it all right there. Simmons (plus-4.2 BPM) is the best player of the bunch right now. Doncic (plus-3.8 BPM) is scary-good. For Team USA, you have Tatum (minus-0.3 BPM), who’s struggling a bit, and Mitchell (minus-0.2 BPM), who’s a volume scorer, and Kuzma (minus-1.2 BPM), who doesn’t play defense – not that defense will matter much Friday. Like we said, it’s an easy pick, so let’s throw some money down and enjoy watching these guys do what they do.

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