NBA All-Star Weekend offers an underrated betting opportunity

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 18: LeBron James #23 of Team LeBron and Stephen Curry #30 of Team Stephen before the NBA All-Star Game as a part of 2018 NBA All-Star Weekend. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

If you’re one of those guys who likes to have action on everything, the NBA’s All-Star Weekend presents an interesting betting opportunity.

Like the Super Bowl or March Madness, there’s an awful lot of things to bet on, and a lot of ways to win.

Sure, you might end up like Scott Van Pelt on “Bad Beats,” delirious over a garbage-time Bradley Beal three that put Team Giannis above the over, or pensive about the ill-fated third rack that destroyed Seth Curry’s chances of winning the three-point contest. But you know what? Even that seems like a lot of fun.

And it’s a great way to make the weekend riveting, even if your interest in All-Star games waned shortly after you started worrying about health insurance and student loan payments.

After years of the traditional East vs West format, the NBA has had a second go at the drafting of rosters for this year’s game. Use these pointers when figuring out whether to put your money on Team LeBron or Team Giannis. And the article covers tips for bets on the Saturday night competitions, too.

But for those Saturday contests, we’ve got our own picks. Here’s how we see it playing out.

Three-Point Contest: 

1. Steph Curry — The greatest shooter of all-time has obviously got to be the favorite in this contest, even though he’s only won it once (2015) in the five times he’s competed. He’s lost in the final round twice, to Paul Pierce (2010) and Klay Thompson (2016). This time though, things could be lining up for Steph. His brother is involved, things are going to get competitive, and he’s going to want to take home the hardware and some bragging rights (though he’s got plenty of those already).

2. Buddy Hield– Watch out for Buddy. He’s an underrated sniper, and he’s already hit some big-time shots for the vastly-improved Kings this year (including a game-winner in Detroit). The man can flat-out shoot the basketball, and he’s good on the move, which should help him as he runs from rack to rack.

3. Devin Booker–He’s due for a big showing, maybe like a “yo, remember me? I’m still here” type of performance. Booker has been melting from the public’s consciousness out in Phoenix, so he probably wants to get back in the spotlight with a ‘W’.

4. Damian Lillard– Dame is a sneaky pick right here, maybe because he’ll be flying under the radar, and also because he probably wants to prove his three-point shooting prowess at a time when everybody but him seems to be getting all the pub. Lillard is still the most consistently-underrated player in the league, and he might take this opportunity to make a statement and add something to his trophy case.

5. Seth Curry– Just because of the fact that his bro will be competing, we’re betting on a nice showing from Seth. We can definitely see him making a run. (How great would it be if he got to the finals and faced Steph)?

Also competing: Kemba Walker, Joe Harris, Danny Green, Khris Middleton, and …

10. Dirk Nowitzki — We love Dirk, but the big German is just a little bit past his prime. He might have a hard time getting from rack to rack, and his shot is iffy (as evidenced by his 0-for-10 in Boston, when he could have become the West’s all-time leading scorer at the Garden).

Slam Dunk Contest

1. John Collins– If you’ve never seen this dude throw down, stop what you’re doing and Google him. I mean… he’s ridiculous, right? Collins has to be the clear-cut favorite in this event, which features three other dudes who still remember eighth grade vividly. The toughest part for Collins will be translating his in-game dunking ability to the contest, but we think he’s got a few tricks up his sleeve.

2. Dennis Smith Jr. — This kid is a ridiculous athlete, and he’s got the capability of throwing down some trophy-worthy dunks. He’s still really young and could melt under the spotlight, but so could anyone in the dunk contest. Still, Smith has a swagger and star power that could propel him to the top.

3. Hamidou Diallo– He’s an athletic kid, and at 6-5, has ideal height for a dunk contest winner (big guys sometimes get penalized). He’s definitely a sleeper pick, but we could also see him letting the pressure get to him.

4. Miles Bridges– Like Collins, Bridges may be more of an in-game dunker than a dunk contest dunker, so it’ll be interesting to see what he brings to the table. We could see him missing several attempts and finishing with an ugly score. Sorry, bruh.

Skills Competition

1. Mike Conley–One of the most fundamentally-sound point guards in the game. He’s got the total package for this event, plus he’s a wily vet and not a kid like Luka Doncic, so he knows what it takes to win this thing. The smart money’s gotta be on him.

2. Luka Doncic– He’s an obvious choice, but those don’t always pan out. He’s not the fastest dude, and if he slips up on a bounce pass, he could leave the door open for a guy like, say…

3. De’Aaron Fox — Fastest dude in the NBA, ultra-competitive guy trying to show the basketball world that he’s the real deal… yeah, he’s a good bet in this event.

4. Jayson Tatum– Tatum has underrated handles–he might be the best ballhandling ‘3’ in the league. He’ll have no problems with the jump shot, but getting up and down the court might be his biggest challenge.

5. Kyle Kuzma– This kid is competitive, and he probably wants to prove that he’s more than just a slasher and jump shooter.

6. Trae Young– We could see Trae making a run, but he’s got to focus on that bounce pass and make sure to knock down the shot on the first try. Dude is inconsistent, after all.

7. Nikola Jokic– Big men have been very successful in this event in the past, but you can’t bank on them like you can the guards. We could see Jokic making a run, but I like the other guys’ chances better.

8. Nikola Vucevic–It’s about time Vucevic is getting his due. He’s posted spectacular season after spectacular season in Orlando, but no one has seemed to notice. This year, he’s finally an All-Star, and he’s getting a shot in this competition. We … don’t like his chances, though.

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