NBA Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: Best Bets for Slam Dunk Contest (Feb. 18)

NBA Odds, Expert Picks, Predictions: Best Bets for Slam Dunk Contest (Feb. 18) article feature image
Credit:

Carmen Mandato/Getty Images. Pictured: Kenyon Martin Jr. #6 of the Houston Rockets attempts a dunk over Mason Plumlee.

NBA Dunk Contest Odds

DunkerOdds to WinOdds to Advance
Mac McClung+130-286
Kenyon Martin Jr.+250-143
Trey Murphy III+300-112
Jericho Sims+300-112
Odds as of Saturday and via BetRivers.

The NBA Slam Dunk Contest will close the show Saturday at All-Star Weekend. Tonight's featured event has four brand new participants: Mac McClung (76ers), Kenyon Martin Jr. (Rockets), Trey Murphy III (Pelicans) and Jericho Sims (Knicks).

Our NBA analysts make the case for three of the four players in the field to win the Dunk Contest. Find their analysis and best bets below.

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NBA Dunk Contest Picks

Brandon Anderson

Pick
Mac McClung (+250 or Better)

This certainly isn’t the sexiest dunk contest roster we’ve ever seen, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make it interesting and make some cash. This is my favorite pick of Saturday night because I think there’s a clear favorite in the event, and right now, he’s priced as a long shot.

The dunk contest is all about aesthetics. In-game dunks make great highlights, but power dunks and posters don’t help in a dunk contest that’s much more about creativity and style points.

Jericho Sims has absolutely obliterated dudes during games, but this is not a big man contest. They just don’t look as impressive. Sims would be the tallest winner since Dwight Howard in 2008. I don’t see it. KJ Martin has absurd power and can posterize dudes, but that’s in-game. Trey Murphy is almost a little too smooth and easy.

I want Mac McClung, mostly because he’s going to look so darn cool at 6-foot-2 with that ridiculous 48-inch vertical. This dude is literally still around in the NBA because of his viral YouTube highlights and dunks, so he’s made for this event. He’s been in three dunk contests before and won two of them, and that means he’ll have a deep portfolio of creative game-ready dunks to go to.

White men CAN jump! Do it for Brent Barry, Mac. I honestly think he closes as a favorite, but if you get McClung at +250 or longer, I’ll play multiple units.


Kenny Ducey

Pick
Jericho Sims (+300)
Book
BetRivers

Part of the fun in taking a member of the Knicks to win the dunk contest every year is that there’s no shortage of celebrities or ex-players who that participant might be able to call on to help with one of their dunks.

While Philadelphia is a respectable market in its own right, do we really think a G League player is going to have the same amount of pull with special guests or special props as someone who’s actively starting games for their team?

Anyway, if you haven’t heard by now this guy has some serious hops. His vertical at the 2021 draft combine was the third-highest in history. Given the amount of times we see guys get too nervous or tired to get the required height to pull off some of their rehearsed dunks, I feel especially good about taking a guy with a 44.5-inch vertical, given he can probably pull off most of his dunks jumping at just 75%.

I think if you’re going to take a shot on anyone, you go with the guy who has a freak vertical and who plays on a high-profile team in a big market that has actually been playing pretty well heading into the break.


Austin Wang

Pick
Kenyon Martin Jr. (+250)
Book
BetRivers

For Houston Rockets fans, this season has been extremely hard to watch. One of the few bright spots is the potential to watch K.J. Martin throw it down!

Martin has carved his own path in the association, being drafted in the late second round and now working his way into the starting lineup of the Houston Rockets. His full name is Kenyon Martin Jr., but goes by K.J. to make a name for himself instead of forever living in his father's shadow.

He has incredible athleticism and he finishes dunks with a perfect mix of grace and power. When looking at the pool of contestants, Big men such as Jericho Sims haven't been too successful in this contest. I'm hesitant to back Mac McClung, who as a G League player, may get some unfavorable biases from the judges. Trey Murphy III has some smooth in-game dunks, but in my opinion, Martin has more of a powerful "wow" factor in his finishes.

This contest is mostly about theatrics and props, and I see the potential for Martin to get his father involved to give the fans and viewers a special moment with some nostalgia mixed in. Give me Martin at +250.

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