NBA All-Star weekend is back again and of course as with any sporting event, you can bet on it and with any sporting event that you can bet on, we will. We’ll run you through each of the events and our favorite bets for each.
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The three-point contest isn’t always about the best shooter, it’s about who gets hot at the right time. It’s like the NFL playoffs. You start out thinking the favorite Patriots are gonna cruise their way to a Super Bowl then next thing you know the 9-7 wildcard Giants are taking home the Lombardi.
The clear favorite here is Klay Thompson who is a previous winner of this little shindig. But Klay seems to be real hit or miss in the competition. In 2016 he won the whole thing. In 2017 he didn’t even make it out of the first round. At +140 those odds simply aren’t good enough to interest me.
Eric Gordon is the returning champ, but despite a high volume of threes he’s made this year, his percentage is not all that impressive. This is especially concerning for this event because most of his shots in games within the Rockets offense end up being spot up catch and shoot three’s. That’s exactly what this event consists of. While Gordon is definitely a guy who can get hot and run away with this thing, his low percentage this year makes me back away from him too.
Lowery Harris and George are fine shooters but they are all much better in the flow of a game. Lowery can light it up by always seems lethargic and doesn’t always shot with the most consistency given his lower trajectory. He can definitely get in rhythm but if he starts to stray from it, it will be harder for him to get back into it.
Ellington is an interesting pick. Probably my favorite dark horse and value play. He’s a smart consistent and fundamentally sound shooter. With good form and composure, he’s the type of guy that could quietly come out on top of this thing, but I think the bright lights of this event will ultimately overtake him and get the best of him. He probably makes it into round two with a surprising first-round performance but I think that’s where it ends.
That leaves my two favorite guys. Bradley Beal and Devin Booker. Both young guys with excellent pure shooting ability. It’s both of their strongest traits. The value is there on both of them given their talent level. They are both great spot-up shooters who are unstoppable when they hit their stride. They are similar to Klay in that sense but like I mentioned before I don’t like the value on Klay. At the end of the day though, I’m going to have to go with Booker as my best bet because of his cross with shooting ability geared towards this event and the value of his odds. Though I wouldn’t blame anyone for taking Beal and getting that little extra value.
Pick: Devin Booker
The four guys aren’t exactly the biggest names but they sure can all fly. The Dunk contest is about creativity and athleticism, All these guys have that, but I think Larry Nance’s size gives him an advantage here. Mitchell and Smith are relatively the same size and will be limited a bit by that. The value on either of them isn’t too great either. Oladipo doesn’t wow me, while he’s athletic he doesn’t seem to have that wow factor or the drive to take as many high flying risks as the other three have shown. That will hurt Oladipo. Nance has decent value and combines the height with the athleticism to make different types of dunks available to him.
I don’t see this being a Nate Robinson type outcome with one of the shorter guys because they aren’t overly short like Robinson was. While I fully believe all of these guys will put on a show and fully expect Smith or Mitchell to be in the finals, i think Nance with his height and the fact that he’s back in LA for the first time since the trade will have that extra pop and extra drive to take some more risks and pull off something crazy that the shorter guys won’t do. I’m betting on Mitchell and Smith somewhat cannibalizing each other with their similarities in style.
Pick: Larry Nance
Th odds here are fairly even across the board, with Drummond being the big outlier. Honestly, I’m not sure why Horford isn’t way higher odds. Yes, he’s a good passer as a big but he’s also extremely slow, which is a major aspect of this competition. Both of those guys are instantly out for me. Markkanen, who is compared to last years winner Kristaps Porzingis a lot doesn’t do it for me either. He’s not the most limber player and isn’t as precise a passer as KP was or is. Lauri might be good for this competition in the future but he’s not my guy this year. That brings us down to five. Embiid has the athleticism but he can be wild and careless with the ball at times. In a competition that relies on precision, I’m not a fan of him here either.
Out of the remaining four, my nods go to Williams and Murray. Hield isn’t as talented a passer and Dinwiddle is a guy for me that does a lot well but nothing great in the eyes of this competition. Willimas is having a great year and is playing in his home arena. It’s hard to pick against him here but I’m going with the young gun Murray. I’ve been a huge fan of him from day one and thought and still think there’s a shot he becomes the best player in his draft class. He’s having a coming out party of a season and is really putting his own name on the map. He’s been playing a lot of point guard for the Nuggets and has all the skills that this contest calls for. He’s fast, an accurate passer, good shooter, and excellent ball handler. He’s not reckless and always seems in control when he has the ball. Though I think Lou gives him a run for his money, I think the drive of the young gun to prove himself on a national stage ultimately puts him over the top.
Pick: Jamal Murray