The 2020 NBA All-Star Weekend will be different. Kobe Bryant’s death sparked the league to make changes in the All-Star Game format, while Saturday’s contests will see some novelties, as well. Both bettors and basketball fans don’t need to worry. This All-Star Weekend could be one of the best, and it offers plenty of interesting picks and markets to choose from.
As we used to, Saturday brings the Slam Dunk Contest, 3-Point Contest, and Skills Challenge. The contestants for each event are ready to put on a show, so let’s take a closer look at our best betting picks for the 2020 NBA All-Star Saturday night with odds from BetOnline Sportsbook.
Slam Dunk Contest
For the fifth straight year, four players will battle in the Slam Dunk Contest. Hamidou Diallo won’t defend his title, but we’ll see one former Slam Dunk champion. Dwight Howard won in 2008 and was a vice-champ a year later, while he’s the biggest underdog this term with the odds at +500. Pat Connaughton has slightly better chances at +400, while Derrick Jones Jr. at +200 and Aaron Gordon at +125 are already seen in the final round.
Howard is a rare big man who managed to win the Slam Dunk Contest, but I’m not sure he has enough fuel in his old tank. Connaughton is the shortest off all four contestants, but you should know he has a vertical leap of 44 inches. However, two former vice-champions, Aaron Gordon and Derrick Jones Jr. are topping the list for a reason.
Jones Jr. lost to Glenn Robinson III in 2017, but he showed tremendous power and versatility in his dunks, as well as Aaron Gordon did in 2016. Gordon had some of the best dunks in this century and still lost to Zach LaVine after two tie-break rounds. Hereof, I expect to see these two guys in the final round. My first pick is Aaron Gordon because of that remarkable performance three years ago.
The Pick: Aaron Gordon (+125)
The 3-point Contest will have two new spots located between the central rack and wing racks. Each of these two spots is set six feet behind the 3-point line and has a green ball worth three points. It means that some of eight participants could set the new record, while the competition is fierce as always.
Damian Lillard is a front runner at +375 odds, while the reigning champ Joe Harris, Davis Bertans, Duncan Robinson, and Trae Young are all set at +500 odds. Buddy Hield at +700, Zach LaVine at +750, and Devonte’ Graham at +1000 are all considered as underdogs, but keep in mind that Joe Harris won the title last year as a +1000 dog.
Harris had 26 points in the final round, beating Steph Curry at 24 and Buddy Hield at 19. With no other former champs among the competition, Harris will be keen to become the first guy with back-to-back titles since Jason Kapono in 2008. Joe makes 40.8% of his 3-pointers this season (21st in the league), while Duncan Robinson has the best 3-point percentage of all eight competitors (43.7%, 7th in the NBA).
Damian Lillard has been outstanding over his last ten games, averaging 37.4 points while making 49.1% of his 3-pointers. However, I prefer catch-and-shoot guys, so my strongest picks are Duncan Robinson and Davis Bertans. Robinson is a unique 3-point specialist in his rookie season with Miami and has a sweet stroke, while Bertans has a similar style and makes 3.6 triples per game (4th) on 42.5% shooting (10th).
The 3-Point Contes offers nice wages, but it’s tough to predict the winner. Every man stands a chance, especially on a good shooting night. Betting on two or even three players would make this event a joy to watch.
The Pick: Duncan Robinson (+500)
Additional Pick: Davis Bertans (+500)
If the 3-Point Contest is hard to predict, the Skills Challenge is on another level. The former champion Spencer Dinwiddie is a top fave at +300 odds, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at +400 and Pascal Siakam at +500 complete the top three. The reigning champ Jayson Tatum is right behind at +600 alongside Khris Middleton, and another former champ Patrick Beverley is set at +700. Domantas Sabonis is a +800 underdog, while Bam Adebayo is a +1200 out-of-towner.
Betting on big men at tempting wages perfectly makes sense, as a backcourt and a frontcourt player are guaranteed to square off in the final. Karl-Anthony Towns in 2016 and Kristaps Porzingis in 2017 proved that big men can win this competition, so I’m going with Domantas Sabonis to upset the odds. Sabonis is enjoying a wonderful season, posting four triple-doubles, but he’s not a good 3-point shooter.
Pascal Siakam is another interesting pick. He’s a skillful and versatile forward with great quickness, and he can also shoot the ball well. However, Sabonis and Siakam have never participated in the Skills Challenge so far, while Dinwiddie and Tatum both know what to expect. Patrick Beverley missed the last four games due to a groin injury, but he should be ready to go on Saturday.
The Pick: Domantas Sabonis (+800)