NBA Odds, Expert Picks & Predictions: The Skills Challenge Bet to Make (Feb. 18)
Vaughn Ridley/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Paolo Banchero #5 of the Orlando Magic.
NBA Skills Challenge Odds
Saturday night’s All-Star festivities tip off with the always entertaining Skill Challenge. The action begins at 8 p.m. on TNT and the home team is the slight favorite to take home the trophy, following in the footsteps of the Cleveland Cavaliers last season.
For more on the rules and format, you can read this piece, which breaks down all the finer points. Here’s best bet for the 2023 NBA Skills Challenge.
NBA Skills Challenge Prediction
They rebooted the format for this contest last year turning it into the team event we’ve got now, and that’s probably why the hosts have been installed as favorites since Team Cavs won last year. The local guys will probably at least try, and that matters in an event like this.
Still, I think the wrong team is favored. Give me the Rookies, and it’s all about getting a team without a weak link. For skills contests, we want guys who can dribble, pass, and shoot. We know Jaden Ivey can do that, but that’s why Paolo Banchero and Jabari Smith went at the top of the draft too. These are smooth big men that play like guards, and they should fare just fine in any skills contest.
Team Jazz has a weak link in Walker Kessler, a guy I want in a blocks contest but not one where I need smooth dribbling and shot making. The Antetokounmpos? Cute story, but clearly the worst of the three.
My strategy here is to take the team most likely to make the finals, then just hope to win the coin-flip half-court shot. I make the Rooks the favorites for this event, and I’d put them around +125, so I’m happy to bet my favorite at a longer number here.
Pick: Team Rookies (+165)
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