With the busyness of the NBA trade deadline and the consistently gruelling schedule, players are undoubtedly relieved to have a nice All-Star Weekend break.
This year, the schedule is similar to normal, with events on Friday and Saturday leading up to the headlining event of the 2020 All-Star Game on Sunday.
Saturday should feature some fun competition as players face off in the Skills Challenge, Three-Point Contest and Dunk Contest. BetOnline have posted betting moneylines for these events, as well as some other prop bets.
This All-Star Saturday preview has picked out a few of the best bets and predictions that you should take advantage of leading into tonight.
Best All-Star Saturday Bets
Spencer Dinwiddie (+300 to win the All-Star Skills Challenge with BetOnline)
Dinwiddie is one of those guys who always plays to prove his doubters wrong. The 6’5” guard slid to the second round on draft night in 2014. His first two NBA teams (the Detroit Pistons and Chicago Bulls) never gave him a shot at a regular rotation role. In Chicago, the Bulls even stuck him in the G-League and never gave him a chance in real NBA action.
After four years of a steadily increasing role, Dinwiddie has proved doubters wrong and is just a step below the “star” tier of NBA players. He is averaging 21 points and 6.6 assists per game this year, though his efficiency is mediocre.
Dinwiddie won the contest in 2018 and didn’t compete last season, likely due to a thumb injury. This season, he went on a rant about not initially being invited to the 2020 event despite being a former winner, but he was ultimately asked to participate.
The Skills Challenge has never been the most prestigious contest to win, so it often comes down to how much the player cares about it and luck. I think Dinwiddie will use the chip on his shoulder to perform very well in the contest. Whether or not he wins this year may come down to how well his shot is falling.
Derrick Jones Jr. (+175 to win the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest with BetOnline)
This year’s Slam Dunk Contest field includes Jones, Aaron Gordon, Pat Connaughton and Dwight Howard. However, I believe this contest is a two-man race between Jones and Gordon.
Howard’s name is a familiar one in Slam Dunk Contest lore, but he is 34 years old. The former contest champion still puts dunks down with plenty power, but age and injuries have robbed him of that upward explosiveness he had 10 to 15 years ago. Connaughton is a good leaper and dunker, but he just hasn’t shown off the in-air artistry or hang time of some of his opponents in this contest.
Both Jones and Gordon are former contest runners-up: 2017 for Jones and 2018 for Gordon. Jones has only participated once and Gordon twice. Gordon’s performance one year after his 2016 showcase was wildly disappointing.
An injury to Jones took him out of last year’s event, but he is back and still performing jaw-dropping dunks on a nightly basis for the Miami Heat. He’s the most impressive leaper of the bunch and I think his ability to make good dunks look great with his elevation and hang time will be the difference on Saturday night.
Buddy Hield (+600 with win the All-Star Three-Point Contest with BetOnline)
According to BetOnline and their sister-site SportsBetting, Hield is just the sixth-most likely winner of the three-point contest. If that is what the US sports betting sites are thinking, I’m not buying it.
Hield is definitely having a down year shooting the ball (a career-low 38.5 percent from three), but I think that’s more due to the dysfunction of the Kings rather than his own doing. Besides, he is returning to the mean and has knocked down 5.1 threes per game in his last 10 contests at a 49.5 percent clip. In his previous two seasons, his percentage was at 43.1 and 42.7.
Overall, this is Hield’s second appearance in the contest. Last year, he had an excellent score of 26 points in the first round, which was second only to Stephen Curry’s 27. He went cold in the second round and ended up finishing third. Curry isn’t returning to the contest due to injury, but champion Joe Harris will be back.
I think Hield being so close last year will definitely play into his motivation this time around. I also think his lower, quicker release is conducive to scoring well and staying in rhythm. Maybe he shouldn’t be the favorite, but he should at least be higher than the sixth-ranked projected shooter. You should pounce on this bet.
Any player makes all five shots from “all money ball” rack (+170 with BetOnline)
Of all this preview’s NBA All-Star picks and predictions, this is probably my favorite bet. In the three-point contest, players get one all-money ball rack per round that they can place at any of the five spots around the three-point arc that they prefer.
There are two rounds in this contest, with all eight shooters going in the first round before the top three shooters square off in the second round. That means there will likely be 11 total opportunities for a shooter to make all five money balls. Especially considering each shooter can put the rack where he wants it, I think there’s a great chance that at least one person makes all five of his money ball shots in this competition.
Last year, both Joe Harris and Stephen Curry accomplished this feat. What should lead us to believe that no one will do it this year?