One of our favorite times of the sports year is back! NBA All-Star Weekend!
We have a weekend full of events, but in particular, we’re just a couple of days away from the All-Star Game, featuring the 24 best basketball players across the planet in the same contest. Located in Chicago, the All-Star Game is taking place on Sunday, February 17, but like I said, we have a slew of events to get through before we get to the square off between Team LeBron and Team Giannis. And the vast majority of these contests happen on NBA All-Star Saturday, with the big three being the Slam Dunk Contest, Three-Point Contest and Skills Challenge.
2020 NBA Slam Dunk Contest
Betting Odds to Win
- Derrick Jones Jr. | +135
- Aaron Gordon | +150
- Pat Connaughton | +400
- Dwight Howard | +450
Every year, there’s always a level of excitement that surrounds the Slam Dunk Contest, and even though the hype has died down a little over the years, the 2020 edition is flaming it back up. There are a few reasons for this, but the biggest are the names involved with this year’s contest, such as: Aaron Gordon (Orlando Magic), Dwight Howard (Los Angeles Lakers), Derrick Jones Jr. (Miami Heat) and Pat Connaughton (Milwaukee Bucks).
Aaron Gordon — remember him? Back in 2016 in Toronto, he would deliver some explosive dunks that would set the crowd into a frenzy, and he’ll be planning on doing it again here in 2020 in the Windy City. Over at online sportsbook BetOnline, Gordon has opened up as a -140 favorite in the betting odds to win this go-around, this after finishing second to Zach LaVine back in 2016. However, he’s moved down a bit, with his figure being at +150 entering this weekend.
Still though, out of all his competition and what we’ve seen what he can do both in the Slam Dunk Contest and in games, you’ve got to ride with Aaron Gordon in this bet.
Just check out what he did back in 2016 yourself if you’re not aware, or be reminded:
All of Aaron Gordon's dunks! Which was your fav? pic.twitter.com/prE0T5oryo
— BATTLES NBA™ (@BattlesNBA) February 14, 2016
Yeah, give me Aaron Gordon.
BETTING PREDICTION: Aaron Gordon (+150)
2020 NBA Three-Point Contest
Betting Odds to Win
- Duncan Robinson | +400
- Trae Young | +400
- Davis Bertans | +450
- Joe Harris | +475
- Buddy Hield | +500
- Devin Booker | +550
- Devonte’ Graham | +1000
- Zach LaVine | +1000
It’s hard to live up to the Slam Dunk Contest, but the Three-Point Contest does one hell of a job of trying, and there’s some fresh excitement this year for the event. For one, there’s a ton of new names that will be involved from behind the arc, and this is also the first contest since 2020 that a Golden State Warrior won’t be featured.
And that’s great news for bettors. Since we won’t have to worry about the likes of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, you can actually get some value with your bet now because you’ll be able to wager on someone who has profitable odds. When the betting odds were first released, it would be Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard who would be the co-favorites to win the contest at +375, however, Young would eventually move back to +400 odds to tie him with Miami Heat forward Duncan Robinson — Lillard would have to withdraw from the event after suffering a groin injury, being replaced with Devin Booker.
— 𝑪𝒐𝒏𝒆 🌩 (@Three_Cone) February 14, 2020
The defending champion of the Three-Point Contest is Joe Harris of the Brooklyn Nets, and he’ll once again be apart of the event this year to defend his title. In the betting odds, Harris is listed at +475, which places in fourth place on the board. With Harris and the others, we have some legitimate options to choose from this year, but the two that you have to focus your attention on the most is Davis Bertans at +450 odds and Devonte’ Graham at +1000.
With the Charlotte Hornets this season, Graham is ranked fifth in the entire National Basketball Association when it comes to three-point shooting. One of his flaws, however, is the fact that he doesn’t exactly have the best percentage when it comes to catch-and-shoot attempts. Despite this though, he is known to start steaming from behind the arc, with a total of 14 games that he’s racked up so far with at least six three-pointers made. For Bertans, a forward for the Washington Wizards, he ranks ninth in the NBA with the amount of three-pointers hit, and also places eighth when it comes to three-point percentage. On top of that, in terms of the style of the Three-Point Contest, Bertans has the perfect stroke for it. Keep an eye on those guys.
Before you place your wagers, be wary that there are rule changes coming into this year’s version of the Three-Point Contest, and you’ll certainly need to know this information for handicapping. Per usual, contestants will get their five balls per rack, but the change comes with two stations featuring a couple of shots that are just over 29 feet. If a shooter makes them, they will be a worth a total of three points. With this being a pretty big rule change, it does give the advantage to shooters like Trae Young, who has the ability to hit three-point shots from a long distance. He may be able to take advantage of this contest with everything in play.
Me though, I’ll take Devonte’ Graham for the odds-on upset at +1000 and the profitable value.
BETTING PREDICTION: Devonte’ Graham (+1000)
2020 NBA Skills Challenge
Betting Odds to Win
- Spencer Dinwiddie | +375
- Khris Middleton | +400
- Jayson Tatum | +475
- Pascal Siakam | +500
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander | +500
- Patrick Beverley | +600
- Domantas Sabonis | +800
- Bam Adebayo | +1100
Boston Celtics’ Jayson Tatum would be the champion of the Skills Challenge last year, and he’ll be back to defend his title in the 2020 edition of an event that focuses on abilities of basketball such as shooting, dribbling and passing. There’s also a major difference with this contest as well from the other two previously-mentioned events, and that’s the fact that the Skills Challenge are head-to-head square offs, which by the way haven’t been announced as of yet. However, you can expect the matchups to be a position vs. position scenario. Historically, that’s where organizers have went with placements, so for example, you wouldn’t see Shai Gilgeous-Alexander face off against Domantas Sabonis in the opening round.
This event is definitely the hardest one to handicap out of all three of the contests, and this is because of how difficult the obstacle course can be in the Skills Challenge. There’s usually two parts of the course that will mess players up, and that’s the passing drill at the beginning and the three-point shot to end the challenge. Throughout the years, we’ve seen multiple examples of this, like when point guards make horrendous passes to screw them up right away in the competition. Or a center or power forward who will have a big lead in the contest and then can’t hit the shot to close things out, allowing his opposition to catch up and ultimately win it over him.
— Marcelas Perry (@MarcelasHoward) February 11, 2016
Here’s another example of how hard it is to bet on the Skills Challenge: De’Aaron Fox, who was listed as the favorite to win it last year, wouldn’t even make it out of the first round. The winner would be Jayson Tatum, who entered the contest at +600 odds.
Based on familiarity with the contest and the fact that he’s won before, I’m going with the Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie, and I think the oddsmakers’ agree with that thinking with him being placed as the favorite to win this year’s event with +375 betting odds. On top of that, he’s also the quickest out of all the competitors. Still though, it’s hard to have a lot of confidence when you bet on this event.
BETTING PREDICTION: Spencer Dinwiddie (+375)