The NBA is gearing up for their annual All-Star Weekend, which includes the Slam Dunk contest, the Three-Point Contest and the actual All-Star game itself. Although it’s generally tough to handicap All-Star games of any sport, the NBA’s version is still a fun weekend to throw a few bucks around on the different skills competitions. Or the big game itself. So let’s take a closer look at the lines:
Slam Dunk Contest
Dominique Wilkins, Kobe Bryant and Vince Carter have set the bar high for this event in years past. However, we’ve also seen some duds. Hopefully this year’s event is a spectacle.
John Collins (+225) of the Atlanta Hawks opened as the favorite but has fallen down the list. It’s always a little more difficult for the big men to win the Slam Dunk contest, which is why we are looking elsewhere with our pick. Dennis Smith Jr. (+200) of the New York Knicks has been showing off his athleticism since the trade and is now the favorite after attracting bets. Hamidou Diallo (+300) of the Oklahoma City Thunder is an interesting option as there always seems to be one obscure guy in the lineup. He hasn’t played much this year and was just recalled from Oklahoma City’s G-League affiliate.
Miles Bridges (+225) of the Charlotte Hornets is the last of the foursome. He has an excellent blend of athleticism, strength, power and dunking ability. He also plays for the team that represents the host city of this year’s festivities in Charlotte, so you can expect him to attract some action.
Stephen Curry (+175) is the obvious favorite to win the Three-Point Contest. He’ll be looking to put on a show in front of his hometown fans in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he grew up while his father Dell Curry played for the Hornets from 1988 to 1998. Curry’s toughest completion might very well be his own brother Seth (+550), who currently leads the NBA in three-point field goal percentage. Meanwhile, Devin Booker (+450) is the defending champion at this event but he’s shooting just 32.9% from three this year, which ranks him 125th.
If you are looking to take a chance on a deep sleeper pick at this event, then you might want to take a chance on Khris Middleton (+1200). He’s been on fire of late, hitting over 38.5% of his threes since the start of January. Dirk Nowitzki (+1500), who is the legend playing in this event, is also the longest shot.
Once we arrive at the actual All-Star game, it will be fun to see Team LeBron go up against Team Antetokounmpo. While the game has lacked intrigue over the years, the fantasy draft that took place to determine the teams for this contest have made it a lot more interesting. Particularly when it comes to Team LeBron.
LeBron made sure to select Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans and Kevin Durant of the Golden State Warriors. Both players are set to become free agents in the near future (Durant this offseason, Davis next offseason). And everybody knows LeBron will be motivated to play with those guys. There will be a game within a game as the media analyzes how LeBron jives with the potential upcoming free agents.
Updated on January 2, 2020.