NBA All-Star Weekend Betting
The 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend takes place in Cleveland, Ohio with Team LeBron taking on Team Durant in Sunday’s showcase event. The three days of events are always a big favourite of basketball fans and we have been lucky enough to enjoy some iconic moments down the years.
Zach LaVine and Aaron Gordon’s legendary Slam Dunk Contest, Larry Bird’s 3-Point Contest Victory, Anthony Davis’ free throws in the first Elam ending and of course Vince Carter’s performance in the 2000 Slam Dunk Contest all come to mind.
As already mentioned, this year’s All-Star Weekend will take place in Cleveland’s Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse before moving on to Salt Lake City in 2023 and then taking place in the Indian Pacers’ Gainbridge Fieldhouse in 2024.
Who will be the headliner at this year’s event? It’s hard to say.
Team captain Kevin Durant has already made headlines by opting not to take former teammate James Harden in the draft, much to the enjoyment of LeBron James and the panel members of TNT’s Inside The NBA. Unfortunately Harden has since withdrawn altogether from the weekend with Jarrett Allen decided on as his replacement. Fellow replacements LaMelo Ball and Dejounte Murray will likely get plenty of time on court too.
Without further ado, lets take a look at some of the betting for the NBA All-Star Weekend’s main events.
NBA 3-Point Contest
This year’s MTN DEW 3-Point Contest will again feature the ‘DEW ZONE’ to add an extra layer of excitement to the event. Each competitor gets 1 minute and 10 seconds to shoot all 27 balls with a possible high score of 40 points available in each round. The three players with the highest score in Round One will progress to the Championship Round.
The competitors this year are Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors, Karl-Anthony Towns, Patty Mills, Trae Young, Desmond Bane, Luke Kennard, the New Orleans Pelicans recent acquisition CJ McCollum and Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls. LaVine is hoping to become the first player in history to win both the 3-Point Contest and the Slam Dunk Contest.
Unsurprisingly the Golden State Warriors have had a strong influence over this competition in recent years. Current champion Stephen Curry has won the event twice while teammate Klay Thompson is also on the honour roll. Indeed, Curry could be considered the inspiration for the DEW ZONE balls we’ll see in this year’s competition. These are placed 6 feet behind the 3-point line and sinking these could have a big impact on the final standings.
So, who leads the betting this year? While the odds are likely to change in the build up to All-Star Saturday it looks as though the Memphis Grizzlies’ Desmond Bane will be popular among bettors. The Indiana native has the highest 3-point shooting percentage over the last two seasons at o.425. Not the biggest name in the competition but definitely one to keep an eye on.
All-Star guard Trae Young is another man who has potential to win this competition. He is known for his deep in-game shooting range and that could prove useful in this competiton. Two-time Mr. Basketball Ohio Luke Kennard would definitely like to win this one in his homestate. The shooting guard would become the first Los Angeles Clipper to win the award.
Minnesota Timberwolves’ big man Karl-Anthony Towns finds himself well down the pecking order in the betting but could pull off a surprise. He may be at a disadvantage when it comes to speed around the racks but there is no doubting his shooting ability.
NBA Slam Dunk Contest
A real hit-or-miss event, no pun intended. Sometimes delivering an all-time classic that will be remembered forever (see Vince Carter, Michael Jordan vs Dominique Wilkins, Aaron Gordon vs Zach LaVine) and sometimes delivering a damp squib that is forgotten by the time the All-Star game tips off (see the 2021 Dunk Contest).
The lineup this year is lacking in some star power. Rockets’ rookie Jalen Green is the favourite to win. His highlight reel features some explosive in-game dunks and fans are rubbing their hands to see what he can pull off. Obi Toppin of the New York Knicks returns this year after finishing second behind Anfernee Simons in last year’s contest. The field is rounded out by second year players Juan Toscano Anderson and Cole Anthony.
Toppin is the only man with previous NBA Slam Dunk Contest experience and that may help him deliver something special this year. However, it must be noted that Anderson does have Dunk Contest success on his CV. Prior to signing with the Warriors, he plied his trade in the LNPB in Mexico, winning their version of the Dunk Contest by jumping over five players to complete his winning dunk.
On paper, this looks like a straight shootout between the guards Green and Anthony. They are both highflyers on the court and could be a sight to behold on Saturday night. Can they deliver? We’ll wait and see.
NBA All-Star Game
Sunday night’s All-Star Game has been reinvigorated in recent seasons. The introduction of the All-Star Draft and the Elam ending have both added extra spice to the event.
This year sees Team LeBron take on Team Durant. Unsurprisingly LeBron has been named a captain in each season that this format has been in play. This is the second year in a row that Durant faces off against LeBron however the Brooklyn Nets man will be forced to miss out due to injury.
Still, an exciting game is in store and the Elam ending should provide fans with plenty of entertainment down the final stretches. The betting around this one usually centres around the MVP. The winner of this award is now given The Kobe Bryant Trophy in honour of the legendary Los Angeles Lakers player. The first two winners of the award have been Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kawhi Leonard. Leonard misses out this year due to injury but Giannis could well take the crown once again. One to look out for is bench player Darius Garland. The homecourt favourite was a source of contention during the draft between James and Durant. A big performance from him and we could be seeing Adam Silver hand the trophy to him on Sunday night.
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