We’re only a week away from All-Star weekend in the NBA and before the big game tips off on Sunday, there are several preliminary contests and games taking place, but none are more important or prestigious than the Slam Dunk and Three-Point Contests. Six of the biggest rim-rattling dunkers and six of the sharpest outside shooters in the world will gather to compete for each title and only one from each event will come away victorious. Best of all, there are prop bets available on each contest this year! So, now we can even bet on them. Here is a look at the six-player fields from each, the odds, courtesy of Bovada.lv and our picks.
Sprite Slam Dunk Contest – James White (NYK) 1/1, Gerald Green (IND) 11/4, Terrence Ross (TOR) 7/2, Jeremy Evans (UTA) 6/1, Eric Bledsoe (LAC) 8/1, and Kenneth Faried (DEN) 8/1
This year’s dunk contest has an interesting mix of newbies and contest veterans, including past champions Gerald Green (2007) and the defending champ Jeremy Evans, who is surprisingly not getting much love in the form of odds to repeat.
Also surprising is James White as the odds-on favorite. Sure, he’s athletic and a great dunker, but he is way overvalued at 1/1 odds. You aren’t going to make a lot of money even if he does bring down the house and steal the show, so it would be more profitable to look elsewhere.
This competition is about creativity and originality as much as it is about execution. And that’s why Kenneth Faried and Eric Bledsoe are not bad picks at 8/1. They throw down hard and if they’ve been working on some sweet tricks, they can definitely compete with the other four. Plus, you’ve got much more cash to count if they take it down.
With these types of bets – where it’s basically anybody’s ballgame – I like to go down the middle. Go for good value, but good odds. That’s why Terrence Ross and Evans are my guys. Evans has been there before and knows what it takes to win, yet is still considered an underdog, which is good for us. And Ross is a monster at the rim with some serious hops. Not a lot of people know much about his game, but that can only be an advantage going into this type of contest. He’s the unknown with something to prove and he very well could prove to be the new champ.
Foot Locker Three-Point Contest – Stephen Curry (GS) 9/4, Steve Novak (NYK) 9/4, Kyrie Irving (CLE) 3/1, Matt Bonner (SA) 5/1, Ryan Anderson (NO) 4/1, Paul George (IND) 15/2
Although picking the three-point contest is not an exact science, it should be less of a crapshoot than the dunk contest. However, only two of the six entries in this year’s event have been here before (Curry, Anderson) and neither has won it, so like the dunk contest, it is very much up for grabs.
One player we can rule out quickly is Matt Bonner. Bonner is a fine shooter, but has a relatively slow release compared to the rest of the field and speed is half the battle in the shootout, so nix him from your potential picks at 5/1.
George and Anderson are solid. Anderson competed in this event last year, but was bumped from the first round. However, both are these players are shooting below 40% from three-land this year and those numbers just won’t cut it with the wealth of talent we have at the top.
So we are left with the three favorites, Curry, Novak and Irving. Each is shooting over 40% on the year, but Curry is the best of the bunch at 45% and he has competed before (2010), so as the best shooter and with just as much, or more experience than the rest of his competitors, I like Curry to take this one down at 9/4.