The three-point contest at NBA All-Star Weekend is always one of the most entertaining events (8 p.m. ET Saturday on TNT). The league does a great job picking most of the best shooters and they rarely disappoint with their downtown excellence despite having a time limit for every round.
The Golden State Warriors’ Stephen Curry, who has won the contest once and participated five times, will not be participating for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Most consider him the greatest three-point shooter ever, so this is disappointing. However, eight participants with deadeye three-point strokes will vie for the crown tonight.
Let’s introduce each of the eight shooters, along with their Bovada Sportsbook moneyline betting and then make a selection considering these odds at the end.
Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors (+110)
As the defending champion, Thompson is the definite favorite to win Saturday night. He’ll be participating in his third contest overall and has submitted two of the top 10 highest-scoring rounds in contest history in his two performances.
Thompson’s quick release is perfect for a timed event like this, plus he ranks fifth in three-point makes (182) and seventh in percentage (42.2) this season.
Kyrie Irving of the Cleveland Cavaliers (+400)
Irving is the most experienced participant in this year’s contest, making his fourth appearance. He won in his first in the 2012-13 season but didn’t make it out of the first round in his second appearance and finished in third place two years ago.
However, one wonders if he maybe isn’t quite on the level as a shooter compared to some of the other players in this contest. He is shooting 38.9 percent from downtown this season and has canned 118 threes on the year, both impressive but not outrageous numbers.
C.J. McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers (+700)
McCollum is a natural shooter who can score from all over the court. He’s a very good three-point shooter (138 makes on 41.1 percent) but is even more effective in the mid-range area.
This is McCollum’s second appearance. Last year, he posted the second-lowest score in the first round and was eliminated right away.
Kyle Lowry of the Toronto Raptors (+900)
Lowry has become an elite three-point shooter in the past couple seasons. Two seasons ago, he made 1.9 three-pointers per game on 33.8 percent shooting. This year, he’s up to 3.3 made threes per game on 41.7 percent shooting.
Lowry participated in last year’s contest for the first time and finished third-last by scoring 15 points in the first round.
Eric Gordon of the Houston Rockets (+900)
Gordon is one of the three guys, along with Nick Young and Kemba Walker, who bring fresh blood into this year’s contest. He is third in three-point makes in the NBA this season (185) and first among contest participants.
One possible reason to bet against Gordon is that he enters the All-Star break in a shooting slump. He has made just 43 of his last 150 three-point shots (28.7 percent) dating all the way back to January 6.
Nick Young of the Los Angeles Lakers (+900)
Young (pictured) has surged this season after a dreadful 2015-16 season. His general streakiness as a shooter makes him too unreliable to be a betting favorite but a very dangerous dark-horse candidate to win.
“Swaggy P” is averaging career highs in both three-point makes per game (2.9) and percentage (41.3).
Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets (+1200)
Walker, like Lowry, has more recently added the three-point shot as a dangerous weapon in his game. He is averaging career highs in makes per game (2.7) and percentage (39.5) this season.
To a lesser extent than Gordon, though, Walker comes into the contest a bit off his game. He’s made 31.0 percent of his long bombs since January 21.
Wes Matthews of the Dallas Mavericks (+1200)
Matthews participated in the contest two years ago, placing fourth. This season, he is probably the least dangerous shooter of the field, though his 2.7 makes per game on 38.1 percent from the field are nothing to scoff at.
The Mavericks’ swingman would need some luck to pull off a win tonight.
Our Preview’s NBA All-Star Three-Point Contest Picks & Predictions
Experience plays some role in this contest, but I think its impact is overrated. In the past 13 years, the most experienced participant has won only once (Stephen Curry in 2015). The winner has been a first-time participant seven times in that span.
- Klay Thompson is the best pick straight up, but considering the +110 moneyline, here at USA Betting our preview’s prediction is to go with Nick Young and his +900 odds. Bovada Sportsbook is essentially saying he has a 10 percent chance to win. I’m a bit more confident in Swaggy P’s ability to get insanely hot and win this contest than that.