NBA All-Star Weekend: The Best Betting Value on the Board

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(Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) Pictured: Mac McClung

NBA All-Star Weekend is here!

There are plenty of different markets to bet and odds are all over the place, which makes this one of my favorite events to bet. So, let's run through the various competitions and find the best betting value on the board.

Rising Stars Challenge Best Bets

The Rising Stars Challenge pits four teams of NBA first- and second-year players against each other. They play two games to 40 — with an Elam Ending — followed by a game to 25 between the winning teams.

However, one factor is extremely important to consider when handicapping this competition.

One of the four teams (Team Detlef) is comprised of G League players. The other three teams are comprised of NBA players. Whichever team plays Team Detlef in its first game WILL make the Finals. The NBA hasn't released the schedule yet, but every team is at plus money to win, so I'm just betting one unit on whichever team opens against Team Detlef.


3-Point Contest Best Bets

This is the best competition of All-Star Weekend, and the one with the most bets offered.

In each round of the contest, each player shoots from five different racks, including a moneyball rack. They also get to take two Starry shots, which come from further away.

This will be the fifth season with this format, which means we are starting to get some solid data. The 42 contestants, over the past four seasons, have made the Starry shots 32% of the time. That percentage drops to 28.5% if we only consider first-round participants. In those four seasons, the players have combined to hit four, four, three and six Starry shots in the first round.

FanDuel is giving bettors the chance to bet on how many Starry shots will be made in the first round and is setting the line at 7.5. Using a binomial distribution calculator, FanDuel is assuming players will be making their Starry shots at a 45% clip.

This is not happening.

In fact, DraftKings and BetMGM offer odds on how many Starry shots each player will hit, and those odds imply each player's average rate is 34.3%, and that we can expect 5.8 to be made in the first round. FanDuel's number is WAY off.

I'm betting three units at -140 odds for there to be Under 7.5 Starry shots made in the first round. I'd bet that to -250. (Note: this bet was taken down since published. Will have some best bets come out on Saturday, and will alert if it comes back).

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Best Bets for the NBA Skills Challenge

There are three teams for the skills competition, and they compete in three events, worth differing amount of points:

  1. For 100 points: A team relay, where you have to make a pass, dribble down the court, hit a short jumper and a 3, then sprint back and make a layup/dunk.
  2. For 100 points: A passing competition, where each player passes into buckets worth different points. Also, you can't pass into the same bucket more than once.
  3. For 200 points: A shooting competition, where there is one ball and players take turns shooting from different spots. Also, you can't shoot from the same spot more than once.

This is the second year with this format and based on the scoring, the shooting competition is the most important.

Shooting is the most important skill here, followed by passing and speed. I'd tier the shooters as follows:

Tier 1: Tyrese Maxey, Tyrese Haliburton

Tier 2: Anthony Edwards, Trae Young

Tier 3: None

Tier 4: Everyone else

Additionally, the "home" team has won in each of the past two years, though it used to be against rookies and team Antetokounmpo.

Every book has Team Top Picks as the favorite. The reason: Team Top Picks has Victor Wembanyama. He's amazing, but not necessarily a great fit for this competition (Wembanyama's team is also favored in the Rising Stars Challenge). Team Top Picks should have the third-best odds. Paolo Banchero is a terrible shooter and Wembanyama is immensely talented, but not particularly quick. This competition just isn't suited for them.

I am EXTREMELY torn on who to bet — Team Pacers or Team All-Stars.

You can bet both, but it's more fun to pick one, so I'm betting a half unit on Team All-Stars (+200) on ESPNBet. I am nervous about Scottie Barnes and his poor shooting, but Tyrese Maxey is perfect for this competition with his speed and passing. I think Team All-Stars should be favored in each individual competition.


Sabrina Ionescu vs Stephen Curry: 3-Point Shootout Best Bets

I am more excited for this event than any other. Ionescu opened at +275, but has been bet down.

I went back and watched Curry's past performances, and he is amazing in these contests. Ionescu is incredible, but I think there's more value betting her individual performance than in betting her to win.

I rewatched Ionescu's insane performance in the WNBA 3-point contest, and a lot of her 3s from last season. She shot 38.3% on 3s from 25-29 feet, which is beyond NBA 3-point range. In her record-setting performance last year, she hit 20 consecutive 3s (albeit from WNBA range), including two Starry shots (beyond NBA range). She is an insanely good shooter.

I think she is going to be incredible and I have three bets I like for this competition:

Over 45.5 combined 3s for Curry/Ionescu (+100 at BetMGM) .25u: I like her over at 20.5, but I'd rather pay less juice and get them both to have a great performance.

Ionescu to make 8+ shots in a row (+240 at FanDuel/MGM) .15u
Ionescu to have 10+ shots in a row (+650 at FanDuel/MGM) .1u

Ionescu is more than capable of getting really hot and I think books are underestimating her.

Best Bets for the Dunk Contest

DraftKings opened Mac McClung at +150, which was absurd.

McClung is, and should be, a heavy favorite. The best odds I see now are -190, which I still think has some value. McClung has won multiple dunk competitions and is in the NBA just to dunk.

Last year, the NBA made a subtle change to how this was scored. In the past, each judge scored each participant on a score up to 10, and those were added together. That led to players getting scores around 35 if they were disappointing.

Now, each judge awards a score between 40-50, which is then averaged. Last year, the judges treated the lowest score as a 44 or 45, with most judges never awarding anything below a 46. That change led to higher base scores, and makes it slightly tougher to get a 50.

I think there is value on nearly every player to go over their first-round score, as it is listed on FanDuel. This is especially true of Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Jacob Toppin, whose number is set at 92.5, which is basically the bare minimum score. Toppin even has the second-best odds to win on ESPNBet. This is also true for McClung, who will come out with new dunks, as 97.5 is just too low.

I'm betting a half unit on each of the following:

Over 92.5 First-Round Score, Jaime Jaquez Jr.
Over 92.5 First-Round Score, Jacob Toppin
Over 97.5 First-Round Score, Mac McClung

I'm passing on Jaylen Brown as I don't think his over is worth it.

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