The 2020 NBA Rising Stars Challenge will feature an intriguing matchup between Team USA and Team World at 9 p.m. ET on Friday. Some of the NBA’s most interesting and talented young players will be on display at the United Center in Chicago, with an entertaining battle almost certainly on the horizon. Team World’s roster is headlined by Dallas Mavericks standout Luka Doncic and Oklahoma City Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-AlexanderPhoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton (ankle) has been ruled out for Team World. 

On the side of Team USA, Atlanta Hawks point guard Trae Young, who was a standout in last year’s game, is again set to be a big factor, with Memphis Grizzlies guard Ja Morant and No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson also in the mix. Team USA is a seven-point favorite in the latest 2020 NBA Rising Star Challenge odds. Before locking in any 2020 NBA Rising Stars Challenge picks, be sure to see the Team World vs. Team USA predictions from SportsLine’s Mike Barner, given his incredible success on recent NBA picks.

Barner is a respected NBA Fantasy expert, both season-long and daily, whose work has appeared 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, while watching as many games as possible to gain an edge.

With his unmatched analysis, Barner spots opportunities against the spread as well as on totals. Barner’s expertise has been on full display lately. He is on an amazing 77-47 run in against-the-spread NBA picks, returning over $2,500 to $100 players. 

Now he has zeroed in on Friday’s NBA Rising Stars Challenge 2020. He has analyzed the rosters and matchups for this contest and released a confident against-the-spread pick. Head to SportsLine now to see it. Here is the latest line and what you need to know for the 2020 NBA Rising Stars Challenge:

  • Team USA vs. Team World spread: Team USA -7
  • USA: Features Zion Williamson and Ja Morant, the top two picks in the 2019 NBA Draft
  • WORLD: Has won three of five games in this format 

Why Team USA can cover

Barner has considered that Team USA appears to have the advantage at point guard. Young is starting in Sunday’s All-Star game and, with season-long averages nearing 30 points and 10 assists per game, it is easy to see why the Atlanta Hawks maestro would be a fantastic centerpiece in this format. Beyond that, Morant is the leading contender for Rookie of the Year honors, and Team USA should be able to push the pace effectively. 

Team USA is also loaded with play-finishing options, headlined by Williamson. No player on the floor can match his physicality, and Team USA also has the versatility provided by the floor-spacing of Jaren Jackson Jr. as a multi-faceted big man. While the 2019 rookie class has drawn some criticism in its short time, the two best rookies in the NBA are on Team USA and, beyond that, many of the returning standouts from a winning 2019 team are back for another run as sophomores. 

Why Team World can cover

But there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to cover the Team USA vs. Team World spread. Team World has no shortage of returning players as Doncic, Gilgeous-Alexander and Minnesota Timberwolves guard Josh Okogie all participated last year. Gilgeous-Alexander is averaging a team-leading 19.5 points in his first season with the Thunder after being acquired from the Los Angeles Clippers in the Paul George deal last summer. 

But Team World’s hopes rest on Doncic, who registered 13 points and nine assists in the 2019 event. He has been doing it all for the Mavericks this season as he leads the team with 28.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 8.7 assists. New York Knicks swingman RJ Barrett also could be a factor as the rookie is among the leaders on his team in scoring (13.6 points) and steals (1.0). 

How to make 2020 NBA Rising Star Challenge picks

Barner has studied this matchup, and while he thinks Team USA has the deeper lineup, he also notes that it’s a “hefty line” for it to cover. He’s found an X-factor, however, and has made the call on which side to back over at SportsLine.

So who wins the NBA Rising Stars Challenge 2020? And what critical X-factor determines the spread winner? Visit SportsLine right now to see which side you should be all over on Friday, all from the SportsLine expert on a hugely-profitable 77-47 NBA run.

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