This is the week of the NBA All-Star Weekend in Chicago. It’s tough to find much applicable data to analyze in order to predict accurate winners, but that has never stopped me before! When people complain that the All-Star events are boring, I pity them. It’s all super fun to watch when you’ve got money on it!
I haven’t been able to find any odds for Celebrity Game MVP, Rising Stars MVP or All Star Game MVP, nor spreads for any of those games, there are odds out for the Dunk Contest, Three-Point Contest, and Skills Challenge.
So, that is what we’re focusing on today. I’ll be updating this post with any changes throughout the week and adding other posts when the odds for MVPs and games drop. Also, look for a new NBA Odds Pod dropping on Wednesday with MeganMakinMoney and myself talking through all our picks for the big weekend.
Damian Lillard +375
Davis Bertans +300
Duncan Robinson +350
Trae Young +425
Devin Booker +500
Joe Harris +500
Buddy Hield +700
Zach Lavine +1000
Devonte` Graham +1000
People argue about what stats best reflect who will do well in the Three-Point Competition. And by “people,” I mean voices in my head … I spend a lot of time home alone … But, I digress.
Here is what I’ve learned through research. I want to bet on players who have great Catch & Shoot 3pt%. That seems to be more applicable than overall 3pt%, which includes shooting off the dribble and step backs.
Last year, Joe Harris led the NBA with C&S 3pt% of 48.1 and won. He was +900 going into the competition, so that was a great payday.
The majority of winners over the past decade are wing players … who by their position nature, shoot more C&S three-pointers: Devin Booker (2018), Eric Gordon (2017), Klay Thompson (2016), Marco Belinell (2014), Kevin Love – a big man wing (2012), James Jones (2011), and Paul Pierce (2010). Only two point guards won in the last 10 years: Steph Curry in 2015 and Kyrie Irving in 2013. Even though they’re the main ball-handlers on their teams, they’ve proven they can also play off-ball.
That’s why I’m heavily looking at betting Davis Bertans +300 (opened at +500) and Duncan Robinson +350 (opened at +500). They lead the league in Catch & Shoot 3 pointers attempted per game and made per game.
Trae Young +425 (opened at +500) doesn’t shoot nearly as many as either Bertans or Robinson, since he dominates the ball, but his C&S 3pt% is highest in the field for the season 46.8%.
If you’ve been watching the NBA at all, you know another point guard, Damian Lillard (+375), has been on FIRE the last 12 games. His C&S 3pt% is 59.3% over that span. It makes sense why he’s the favorite, plus being a big name.
2018 3pt Contest winner Devin Booker +500 is now replacing former favorite Damian Lillard and his injured groin in both the All Star Game and 3pt contest. While Booker’s performance in the competition last year was forgettable, he’s had his most efficient shooting season to date. I tend to stay away from recommending any Suns picks (cause I’m a homer), but you could do worse than taking Booker with +500 odds.
While Trae and Dame both seem like great picks, I like the three-point specialists Bertans and Robinson better. That is all they’re thinking about this weekend, whereas the other two will be really busy with media and other events.
If you’re thinking Joe Harris (+500) might repeat, you should know we haven’t had a back-to-back winner since 2008 … way before the three-point revolution made this the premier event.
PICKS: Davis Bertans +300 and Duncan Robinson +350 (I got them both at +500, but I’d still take the lower odds)
Slam Dunk Contest
Aaron Gordon +110
Derrick Jones Jr +175
Pat Connaughton +400
Dwight Howard +500
While many big names and favorites have won the Slam Dunk Contest in the past, history is full of lesser-known names whose athleticism surprised the hell out of everyone and got them the win. Think Spud Webb and Nate Robinson and last year, the virtually unknown Hamidou Diallo came in at +400 and ended up winning it all.
For those reason, I’m going with the Milwaukee Bucks Pat Connaughton (+400). This 6’5” white boy has a 44 inch maximum vertical, only a half inch less than Hamidou’s, who was the second highest ever recorded.
Derrick Jones Jr. (+200) claims to have a vertical of 48 inches, but according to DraftExpress, he had a max vertical of 42.5.″ Aaron Gordon’s measured 39 inches. I’m completely ignoring old man Dwight Howard for the purposes of this article.
Both Jones and Gordon have been runner-ups in this contest before, but give me the better odds of Connaughton. After all, only one white guy has ever won the contest before, Brent Barry in 1996. It’s gotta be time for media outlets to start rolling out the White Men Can Jump headlines.
PICK: Pat Connaughton +400
Spencer Dinwiddie +300
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander +400
Pascal Siakam +500
Khris Middleton +500
Jayson Tatum +600
Patrick Beverley +600
Domantas Sabonis +800
Bam Adebayo +1200
Out of the three events, this one is the hardest to handicap. Last year’s favorite, De’Aaron Fox, didn’t even make it out of the first round and last year’s winner was Tatum at +600.
In the past when the winner was determined by the stopwatch, you’d go with the fastest guard. Now they go head-to-head and something always seems to trip up who you think is gonna win.
Because they match up similar positions in early rounds, many of the quick guards knock each other out. So, it’s fun to bet the big men on this and get better odds.
That’s why I’m thinking Pascal Siakam +500 and Domantas Sabonis +800. They’re both strong Most Improved Player candidates (even though Siakam won it last year) and having their best seasons to date. Also, I love Patrick Beverly at +600 (opened at +700). He won it 2015 and is contently in “fuck-you mode” … so you know he’s gonna bring it.