NBA Slam Dunk Contest Odds, Betting Picks: 2 Outright Winner Bets, 1 Prop for Sunday Night
Abbie Parr/Getty Images. Pictured: Obi Toppin.
- The three names in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest won't be known by many, but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
- Our NBA experts at The Action Network break down who their backing the take home the title at halftime of the All-Star Game.
The NBA Slam Dunk Contest was once the belle of the ball at All-Star Weekend, but it has become a place for lesser-known players who light up the practice gym with their acrobatics in recent years.
That is still the case this season, with two players who most NBA fans have never heard of and a rookie who is averaging 12.7 minutes per game this season.
That doesn’t mean there won’t be some spectacular showcases of athleticism, though. Our NBA experts break down who they like to win the Slam Dunk Contest:
NBA Slam Dunk Odds & Picks
Brandon Anderson – Cassius Stanley (-125, BetMGM)
Can we not?
I would complain about what a joke of a dunk field this is, but I’d hate to disrespect such recent dunk champion luminaries as Derrick Jones Jr. (2020), Hamidou Diallo (2019) and Glenn Robinson III (2017).
Seriously, what are we doing here? Can I take the field? Can we get these three guys to watch while the judges throw a few down? I’m pretty sure Spud Webb and Dominique Wilkins can still get up, and Josh Smith just barely stopped getting paid by the Pistons a few months ago.
Genuinely, can I take the field? Three dunkers is a weird, odd number. What if a bored Zach LaVine wanders out of the halftime locker room and destroys everyone? What if this is all a setup for Zion Williamson to wreck these three patsies?
Fine, I’ll take Cassius Stanley. As a rule of thumb, if a guy you’ve never heard of gets called up to compete in a dunk contest, it’s because he’s a really good dunker. Stanley has literally played 23 NBA minutes in his career, but he’s an explosive athlete with a huge vertical, and he had some massive highlight dunks at Duke.
I’ll take my chances on Cash.
Kenny Ducey – Obi Toppin (+170, BetMGM)
This is going to be a very non-scientific answer.
With the Slam Dunk Contest, you have to be considering all possible variables. I love Toppin here because all he does is dunk. This is literally his only talent, at least for now, until he develops the rest of his game.
You know why else he’s a great bet? Because he plays for the New York Knicks.
We know gimmicks often win out over technical dunks, and think of the gimmicks that are possible here. Toppin will surely involve Nate Robinson, a former Slam Dunk champ and Knick, in some capacity. Given that Robinson is now a meme, this would immediately be one of the night’s most memorable dunks.
Toppin can also use his All-Star teammate, Julius Randle, or he could call in a favor and enlist the help of any number of celebrities who love the Knicks, or legends like Amare’ Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony.
I’d say the same thing if Toppin played for the Lakers. As goofy as it sounds, being able to get some famous people to be part of your dunk is a big advantage.
I’m also a fan of Afernee Simons here, because he’s got that “it” factor about him. Also, as a 6-foot-4 guard, the judges generally will appreciate your dunks more.
Toppin’s my pick to win it, though.
Raheem Palmer – Cassius Stanley (-125, BetMGM)
I’ll reiterate Brandon’s thoughts about how abysmal the Slam Dunk Contest field has been recently. Even more so this year, the field is so disappointing that we probably won’t hear Magic Johnson tell us that the “dunk contest is back” for the 21st consecutive year since the Slam Dunk Contest was replaced by the WNBA-NBA 2 Ball Competition in 1998 and All Star Weekend was skipped entirely in 1999.
Between the pandemic and lack of willing star participants, maybe that’s what should have happened. Nonetheless, as the Wu Tang Clan once proclaimed, “Cash rules everything,” so we move on with a field of Cassius Stanley (-155), Obi Tobbin (+170) and Anfernee Simons (+600).
You could probably count on one hand how many NBA fans know who Stanley is. He’s a rookie out of Duke and has scored just nine career points in 28 career minutes.
Still, he’s the Dunk Contest favorite for a reason. The 6-foot-5 wing has a 44-inch vertical, breaking the program record for the highest vertical leap at Duke that was set by Zion Williamson.
If that hasn’t sold you check out this video:
Cassius Stanley in the NBA Dunk Contest!
He registered a 44-inch max vert at the NBA Draft combine.
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 1, 2021
From that alone, it’s clear that Stanley is one of the best dunkers in the league.
Looking at the rest of the field, I personally don’t like to pick the biggest guy in the Dunk Contest because their dunks never look very impressive, so Toppin at 6-foot-9 is out and I simply believe that Stanley is a better dunker than Simons.
I’ll keep it simple and take the best athlete and highest vertical leap in the field.
Matt Moore -Anfernee Simons to NOT get a 50 (+160, DraftKings)
If we’re going to have a field like this, I’m going to go pure hater. Simons is the shortest of the bunch, and may wind up being the most ambitious.
Without a crowd, I think there will be harsher judges. So I’m taking a shot on Simons to be the one who falls short the most.