Giannis and Steph co-favored to win NBA All-Star Game MVP Award
Cleveland isn't the kind of city that millionaires generally flock to, but that's set to change this weekend as 24 of the world's best basketball players converge on "The Mistake by the Lake" for the 2022 NBA All-Star Game.
Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry and Milwaukee Bucks power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo opened with identical +400 odds to claim the game's top individual honor, but there are plenty of other deserving players, including three-time All-Star Game MVP LeBron James, and 2022 NBA MVP frontrunner Joel Embiid.
Bettors who believe youth will be served may also want to lay some coin on 22-year-old sensation Ja Morant, who is averaging a career-high 26.8 points per game and is fresh off a 44-point performance against the Portland Trail Blazers.
2022 NBA All-Star Game MVP Odds
So, which player will rock Cleveland? Before making a wager, there are a few NBA All-Star Game MVP trends you should consider:
The NBA All-Star Game favors ballhandlers
The NBA All-Star Game is a wide-open affair played at breakneck speeds, so it should come as little surprise that the event's top player is usually a speedy playmaker who can score in bunches. Since 1980, point guards have won the MVP award more than any other position, including a recent four-year run of dominance from 2013 to 2016.
NBA All-Star Games By Position Since 1980
There's no shortage of dynamic point guards in this year's event, including Steph Curry, Ja Morant, Luka Doncic, Trae Young, LaMelo Ball, Dejounte Murray, Fred VanVleet, and former All-Star Game MVP Chris Paul.
All-Star Game MVP Voters like Winners
Since switching to its present format in 2018, the winner of the NBA All-Star Game MVP award has come from Team LeBron each and every year.
NBA All-Star Game Results Since Team Captain Format Was Introduced
Team LeBron 148, Team Stephen 145
Team LeBron 178, Team Giannis 164
Team LeBron 157, Team Giannis 155
Team LeBron 170, Team Durant 150
This year Giannis and Steph are both on Team LeBron after being selected with the first and third picks in the draft, respectively.
Consecutive MVP wins are rare
Fourteen players have won multiple NBA All-Star Game MVP awards since 1951, but only two of them did it in consecutive seasons. That ultra exclusive club includes St. Louis Hawks power forward Bob Pettit, who won in 1958 and 1959, and current Los Angeles Lakers point guard/brick mason Russell Westbrook, who won in 2015 and 2016.
That doesn't necessarily rule out Giannis after he won top honors in 2021, but it does suggest the odds are against him repeating the feat.
Voters love Hometown Heroes
It's no coincidence that the All-Star Game MVP award has gone to a player from the host city 15 times since 1951. Not only do players get revved up performing in front of their home crowd, but their teammates typically feed them the ball early and often to ensure they'll have a big game.
It's highly unlikely that Cleveland Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen will win the All-Star Game MVP award after being a late addition to the event, but there's another angle to consider. Players from the host city or host state often win the award as well. Manhattan-native Bob Cousy and Brooklyn-native Michael Jordan both won the award when the game was played in New York City, and Philadelphia-native Kobe Bryant won the trophy that now bears his name when the game was played in the City of Brotherly Love.
There are two players that fit that criteria for this year's game: LeBron James and Steph Curry. Both players were born at Akron General Medical Center, just 30 miles away from downtown Cleveland, and both are well known for professing their love for the city. James had two remarkably successful stints with the Cavs from 2004-10 and 2015-18, and Curry is connected to the franchise through his father Dell, who played in Cleveland during the 1987-88 season, and his brother, Seth, who briefly suited up for the Cavs in 2013-14.
All signs point to Curry
Upon closer examination, Curry checks all of the boxes: He's a ballhandler, he's on the team favored to win, and he has an intimate connection to the host city. He also has a history of past success at the event, having averaged 18.6 points, 6.3 assists, and 5.7 rebounds in seven previous All-Star appearances.
Still not convinced? Curry has averaged 26.1 points per game in Cleveland over the course of his Hall of Fame career and has seen his field goal percentage and 3-point percentages rise significantly in February after experiencing a mini slump around the holidays.
Curry is in the groove, back at "home," and ready to reassert himself as the game's top player. Take his tasty +400 odds while you still can.