The 2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge will pit Team USA vs. Team World in a matchup featuring the NBA’s brightest young stars. Team World boasts a ton of talent, including Mavericks guard Luka Doncic and the reigning NBA Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons. Meanwhile, Team USA features Rookie of the Year runner-up Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz and Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma, who enters All-Star Weekend averaging over 27 points in his last three games. Despite losing this game in the past two years, Team USA enters Friday’s star-studded showdown as a 2-point favorite with the total set at 296.5 in the latest 2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge odds. But before you make your predictions, be sure to check out the 2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge picks from proven NBA expert Mike Barner first.
A respected NBA Fantasy expert, both season-long and daily, Barner has seen his work appear in Sports Illustrated and on Yahoo, RotoWire and KFFL. He has also been featured on ESPN Radio. Barner digs deep into the data, examining team trends and projecting game outcomes.
Barner’s expertise has been on full display lately: Over his past 38 NBA picks, Barner has cashed at a massive 74 percent win rate that has returned nearly $1,700 to $100 players. That payout doesn’t include the 6-1 parlay he nailed by hitting all three of his best bets for Monday.
Now, he’s locked in on the 2019 Rising Stars Challenge as part of NBA All-Star Weekend. He has released a confident against-the-spread pick that’s only available at SportsLine.
For Friday’s 2019 Rising Stars game, Barner knows that Team USA will need to push the tempo with its team speed. De’Aaron Fox is one of the fastest players in the league and will need to showcase his speed on Friday night. Fox, who’s averaging 17.2 points and 7.2 assists this season, has the ability to set the pace of the game and cause a major mismatch against Team World’s longer guards. Fox can also knock down shots that will open the floor for Team USA. In fact, Fox is shooting 46.1 percent from the field this season and he’s already made more 3-pointers this season than he hit all last year.
Pushing the pace will help Team USA find its shotmakers in open space. Donavan Mitchell enters All-Star weekend averaging 22.4 points per game, while Boston’s Jayson Tatum is knocking down 45.3 percent of his shots from the field this season.
But just because Team USA features plenty of talent doesn’t mean it’ll cover the Team USA vs. Team World NBA Rising Stars Challenge spread.
For Team World on Friday night, one of the big advantages should be the returning experience of Lauri Markkanen, Ben Simmons and Bogdan Bogdanovic.
All three were on the Team World roster last season when they routed Team USA 155-121, and all three players made significant contributions. Simmons had 11 points and 13 assists, Markannen had 15 points and six rebounds and Bogdanovic hit seven 3-pointers and went off for 26 points off the bench.
Team World did a tremendous job of sharing the basketball in that game, assisting 45 of 64 made field goals and knocking down an astonishing 23 3-pointers in that game. Expect Team World to have the advantage from beyond the arc again and it could come in handy in what is always a high-scoring exhibition.
We can tell you Barner is leaning under, but his best bet is against the spread. He knows a hidden x-factor makes one side of the spread a must-back. He’s only sharing what it is, and who to back, at SportsLine.
So who wins Team USA vs. Team World at the 2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge? And what x-factor makes one team a must-back? Visit SportsLine now to get Friday’s 2019 NBA Rising Stars Challenge picks, all from the expert on a massive 28-10 NBA heater, and find out.