While the NBA All-Star Game has a the traditional point spread and over/under lines, the better bets might be on the Slam Dunk and 3-point contests. Those two events, along with the skills competition, make up a Saturday that could be far more entertaining than the actual Sunday game.
The NBA has tried to liven up Sunday, going with two superstars as captains and letting them pick their squads. Team LeBron James is a 3.5 pick over Team Stephen Curry. The over/under for the game is 346 points with both at -110. That number might sound outlandish, but last year’s total was 374.
The MVP is the only other available wager on Sunday. The top pick is James at +300. Curry follows at +400 and Russell Westbrook, who is playing for Team LeBron is at +525.
Lou Williams Favored in Skills Challenge
Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers is the overwhelming selection to take the Skills Challenge. He is a +125, more than double the next player, Joel Embiid of Philadelphia, who is at +300. A long shot to look at might be Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie at +1300.
Two players race against each other on identical courses by first dribbling between five obstacles while running down the court. They then throw a pass into a net that does not touch the ground. After that they dribble back the full length of the court for a lay up. This is followed by the players dribbling back down the court and hit a 3-pointer from the top of the basketball key and the match ends when the first player hits the three pointer.
The criteria would favor a guard but last year’s winner was New York Knicks power forward Kristaps Porzingis.
Slam Dunk and 3-Point Betting FTW
The Slam Dunk and 3-Point competitions have been around much longer than the Skills Challenge and are widely more popular. While the first Skills Challenge was in 2002, the Slam Dunk started in 1984 and the 3-Point Contest began in 1985. Hall of Famer Larry Bird won the first three. He and Craig Hodges are the only three-time winners.
Eric Gordon is the defending champion but he is not the first pick by sports books. That would be Golden State’s Klay Thompson at +150. Thompson won the event two years ago. Gordon is third at +400, behind Toronto’s Kye Lowry at +325.
The Slam Dunk Contest was immortalized by Michael Jordan and his famous leap from the free-throw line dunk. Other memorable dunks have been Dominque Wilkins windmill leaning slam and Blake Griffin’s jump over a car parked just below the rim.
This year the favorite to win the competition is Dennis Smith of Dallas. He is a -105 and a clear favorite. Victor Oladipo of Indiana is next at +150. Larry Nance Jr. is at +225 and has a chance to make history. His father Larry Sr. won the inaugural Slam Dunk contest in 1984.