The 2016 NBA All-Star break is upon us and fans should expect a fun few days of festivities. While the game itself has turned into nothing more than a glorified exhibition, the events preceding it should stir some excitement.
Typically, the highlight of the night on Saturday is the slam dunk competition but given Stephen Curry’s record-setting proficiency as a long-distance shooter over the last few years, the three-point competition has become must-see TV.
After winning the event last season, Curry is favored (EVEN) to win the event but he’ll face some stiff competition. Fellow Splash Brother Klay Thompson (+400) and sharpshooter J.J. Redick (+500) will push him. Redick has the highest three-point field goal percentage (47.6%) of any contestant entered. Meanwhile, Kyle Lowry (+1000) will have the home court advantage and is currently averaging a career-high 2.8 three-pointers per game.
As for the dunk contest, last year’s champion Zach LaVine (-300) is a huge favorite to repeat. He’s up against a couple of big men in Aaron Gordon (+400) and Andre Drummond (+850), but we’re not quite sure if they have the agility, creativity or ability to execute that we’ve already seen from LaVine. Will Barton (+550) could be LaVine’s toughest competition even though the oddsmakers have him third in line.
The skills competition has an intriguing field of ball-handlers. Isaiah Thomas (+240) is the favorite with another backcourt star, C.J. McCollum (+350), right behind him on the odds.
It’ll be an interesting competition as a number of big men are in the field. Normally, this is a guard-heavy competition and rarely have there ever been any centers or power forwards participating, but this year we’ll see Draymond Green (+400), DeMarcus Cousins (+1000), Anthony Davis (+1200) and Karl-Anthony Towns (+1500) in the mix.
The All-Star Game itself takes place on Sunday and the key prop for that contest will be the race for MVP. Curry (+300) is again favored with LeBron James (+600), Kevin Durant (+600) and Russell Westbrook (+700) right behind.
Kobe Bryant (+700), who is having a tumultuous season and is really only participating due to fan votes, is surprisingly at 7/1. He should be much lower on the totem pole. Lowry (+1800) and fellow Toronto teammate DeMar DeRozan (+1800) will be fan favorites in the big game and seem like much more realistic selections.
Westbrook was the 2015 MVP and if you’re thinking of betting a big man to win the award, note that no power forward or center has been named MVP in the last six seasons. A big man has only won the award once in the last 11 years.