NBA All-Star Betting Preview: How To Bet On The Game, Dunk Contest, 3-Point Shootout, More

Posted By Nate Weitzer on March 7, 2021
NBA All-Star betting odds 3 point dunk contest skills

The NBA will hold an All-Star Weekend this year with every event scheduled to take place on Sunday, March 7 in Atlanta. In typical years, events are spaced out from Friday night through Sunday night.

This year’s action kicks off with the Taco Bell Skills Challenge at 6:30 p.m., followed immediately by the Mountain Dew 3-point Shootout. The All-Star Game starts at 8 p.m. and the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest will take place during halftime.

Note that the All-Star Game itself is in its second year of a new format, called the “Elam Ending.” This format sets a winning score in an untimed fourth quarter that is 24 points higher than what the leading team has scored through three quarters. So, if Team LeBron is ahead, 130-125, after three quarters the target score will be 154 and the first team to reach that total wins.

Odds are up for each contest with intriguing proposition bets and markets for the All-Star Game and the MVP of the exhibition. The teams have been picked with LeBron choosing 11 players to participate alongside him, while Kevin Durant selected 12 players to participate while he will sit out due to an ailing hamstring.

In this article, we analyze the betting markets at DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook.

NBA All-Star preview, picks

Skills Challenge

The Skills Challenge, created in 2002, pits players in a head-to-head format that aims to gauge their versatility. The contest starts with a lay-up, followed by a full court dribbling drill around cones, then a pass through a hoop. Once the players clear that stage, they grab a ball and sprint through another dribbling drill before hitting a 3-pointer to finish their round. The player with the better time in each head-to-head round advances until there are two finalists.

Contestants

At DraftKings Sportsbook, Chris Paul (+250) and Luka Doncic (+250) are the favorites to win the Skills Challenge, followed by Julius Randle (+500), Domantas Sabonis (+500), and Nikola Vucevic (+500). Robert Covington is the underdog of the contest with +600 odds.

Sabonis clearly offers value at +500 and he’s even +700 at FanDuel Sportsbook. The versatile 7-footer finished second in the Skills Challenge last year behind Bam Adebayo, and big men have won three of the last five contests with Karl-Anthony Towns and Kristaps Porzingis showcasing their skills.

Paul is a much safer bet than Doncic, who didn’t seem to take the contest seriously last year. CP3 is competing in his fifth Skills Challenge and has never won.

Winner

Game
03/07/2021
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Luka Doncic
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+250
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+250
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+250
Chris Paul
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+250
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+230
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+230
Julius Randle
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+500
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+480
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+600
Domantas Sabonis
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+500
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+700
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+750
Nikola Vucevic
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+500
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+600
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+475
Robert Covington
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+600
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+950
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+750

3-Point contest

The 3-Point Contest has been around since 1985 and has not seen a repeat champion since Jason Kapono won in 2007 and 2008. Last year’s champion, Buddy Hield, is not competing – nor is 2019 champion Joe Harris. But 2015 champion Steph Curry headlines the field.

This year, the contest gives each shooter 70 seconds to attempt up to 27 shots at five different racks. There are four racks with a “money ball” that counts for 2 points, and the last rack is made up of five money balls. There is also a Mountain Dew Zone spot set up over 30 feet from the hoop on each wing. Those shots count for 3 points, creating a maximum total of 40 points per round.

Contestants

Phoenix Suns star Devin Booker was slated to be a part of the 3-point shooting competition but a bum knee will keep him out of the contest and the All-Star Game itself. Booker will be replaced in the long distance contest and game by Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley. Conley is +500 to win the 3-point contest at DraftKings.

Curry leads the field at DK with +150 odds. Zach LaVine is +500 at DK, but has the second lowest odds at FanDuel at +440. Donovan Mitchell (+450), Jaylen Brown (+700), and Jayson Tatum (+700) seem more like longshots when compared to those sharpshooters.

Curry is attempting 11.7 triples and connecting at a 41.1% clip. This will be Curry’s seventh time in the 3-point Contest and he won’t have to contend with teammate Klay Thompson, who beat him in 2016.

LaVine is an intriguing underdog with intense motivation to prove that he’s “more than just a dunker.” The two-time Slam Dunk Champion is hoping to become the first player to win both contests and he’s averaging 30 PPG while shooting 46% over the Bulls’ last 10 games before the break.

Contest Props

There are some intriguing propositions at DraftKings for this contest, including a full market on the Mountain Dew Zone shots.

All six contestants have odds up on a Yes/No proposition of whether they will hit at least one of those deep balls. Curry is getting -225 odds to hit at least one, while Jaylen Brown is +140 to connect.

Feel confident backing one of those shooters? Then take the Yes/No proposition on whether they will make both Mountain Dew Zone shots, in any of their rounds. Curry is getting +210 odds to achieve that feat while LaVine is getting intriguing +300 odds.

There is also a market on whether a player will hit all five Moneyball shots, and which players will make the 3-point Finals, with Curry sitting at -225.

Our favorite prop bet is a general bet on any contestant topping 26.5 points in any round of the contest. This seems highly likely given the skill of the contestants, the lack of pressure in a quieter stadium, and the new scoring system that awards a maximum of 40 points. You can get -110 odds on the Over and +118 odds on someone topping 26.5 points in the final round at DraftKings.

Winner

Game
03/07/2021
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Steph Curry
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+150
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+140
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+150
Donovan Mitchell
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+450
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+550
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+550
Zach LaVine
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+500
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+450
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+350
Mike Conley
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+500
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+500
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+550
Jaylen Brown
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+700
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+700
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+700
Jayson Tatum
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+700
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+700
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+700

Dunk Contest

This will be a unique Dunk Contest with only three participants, and the favorite hasn’t even been playing in the NBA most of the season. Duke product Cassius Stanley has been spending more time in the G League, but he’s the favorite with +120 odds at DraftKings.

The scoring system remains the same in the first round with five judges rating each dunk on a scale of 1-10. All three dunkers will get to perform two dunks and the top two scorers will advance to a final. The finalists perform one dunk and the judges simply hold up a card with the name of their winner.

The judges this year – Dominique Wilkins, Spud Webb, Jason Richardson, Dee Brown, and Josh Smith – have combined for seven Dunk titles between them.

Contestants

Stanley has provided some eye-popping dunks while at Duke and in the G League. The 6-foot-5 guard is on a two-way contract with the Pacers and posted a 44-inch vertical jump in the NBA combine. That fell just short of Hamidou Diallo for the highest vertical in the 2019 combine, and Diallo went on to win the dunk contest that year.

Anfernee Simons is a 6-foot-4 guard in his third year with the Blazers. He registered a 41.5-inch vertical in the 2018 combine and doesn’t necessarily profile as a tremendous leaper, but his slight frame could sway judges – who have awarded guards like Webb and Nate Robinson in years past.

Obi Toppin is the underdog for some reason. Perhaps it’s because he’s 6-foot-9 with a 7-foot-2 wingspan and can dunk rather effortlessly. He’s a tremendous game dunker and should be fresh after playing limited minutes with the Knicks this year. Toppin could do some things we haven’t seen in the dunk contest.

There is an intriguing market at DK to take one of these players to receive a 50 for either of their initial dunks. Toppin is getting appealing -122 odds, while Simons is at -200 and Stanley is at -275.

Winner

Game
03/07/2021
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
Cassius Stanley
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+120
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-125
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+100
Anfernee Simons
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+200
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+450
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+333
Obi Toppin
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+225
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+170
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+175

All-Star Game

Finally we get to the main event in the form of the All-Star Game. The teams were once again selected by superstars, with LeBron James and Kevin Durant selecting their squads. As mentioned above, the fourth quarter will decide the game in a unique format with the teams working to hit a target score. There will be no shot clock or game clock, just pure competition as each team tries to get scores and stops.

Here are the odds for the game at FanDuel Sportsbook:

  • Spread: Team LeBron -3.5 (-110) vs. Team Durant +3.5 (-1100)
  • Moneyline: Team LeBron -172, Team Durant +144
  • Total: O/U 310.5

The Teams

Team LeBron

  • Giannis Antetokounmpo
  • Steph Curry
  • Luka Doncic
  • Nikola Jokic
  • Damian Lillard
  • Ben Simmons
  • Chris Paul
  • Jaylen Brown
  • Paul George
  • Domantas Sabonis
  • Rudy Gobert

Team Durant

  • Kyrie Irving
  • Joel Embiid
  • Kawhi Leonard
  • Bradley Beal
  • Jayson Tatum
  • James Harden
  • Mike Conley
  • Zion Williamson
  • Zach LaVine
  • Julius Randle
  • Nikola Vucevic
  • Donovan Mitchell

Betting Angles

Over/Under

The first thing that comes to mind when betting the NBA All-Star Game is taking the Over. While the new format created more competition down the stretch and far more excitement, last year’s game still topped the implied total (305.5) with a 157-155 final. The total is already rising and could approach the highest total (315) ever, set in 2019. Even with the new format, there shouldn’t be much intense defense played in an exhibition during a pandemic. The Over is a strong bet, although if you notice the total rising during the game, bet the Under since the fourth quarter will have a literal cap on the scoring.

Point Spread

Team LeBron is as high as a 4-point favorite at DraftKings Sportsbook and the spread is exploitable in terms of taking the underdog. The Elam Ending basically ensures that the game will come down to the final few possessions unless the losing squad is unable to make it close in the fourth quarter. But in an All-Star Game, it seems highly unlikely that either team plays enough defense to pull away. We like Team Durant (+3.5 or better) to keep it close.

All-Star Game MVP

There is a market for any player in the ASG to be named MVP. Kawhi Leonard won the award in a close game last year and he’s getting +800 odds as one of the best bets on Team Durant. Joel Embiid (+600) is playing like the regular season MVP and James Harden (+1600) has also been dominant lately while serving as an elite scorer and facilitator.

Aside from LeBron (+500), Team LeBron has several players who could win MVP. Giannis (+650) is a prime candidate since he’s a force on both ends. Nikola Jokic (+1600) is an intriguing longshot if he takes the game seriously, and Chris Paul (+5000) is our preferred longshot given his competitive nature.

MVP winner

Game
03/07/2021
(Eastern Time)
(EST)
LeBron James
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+500
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+600
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+650
Joel Embiid
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+600
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+1000
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+900
Giannis Antetokounmpo
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+650
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+600
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+600
Steph Curry
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+800
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+850
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+800
Kawhi Leonard
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+800
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+1600
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+1600
Kyrie Irving
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+1000
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+1200
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+1100
Luka Doncic
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+1200
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+1100
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+750
Damian Lillard
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+1400
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+1600
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+1600
Bradley Beal
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+1600
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+1300
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+1300
James Harden
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+1600
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+1900
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+1500
Nikola Jokic
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+1600
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+1300
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+1400
Zion Williamson
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+2500
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+2300
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+2500
Jayson Tatum
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+3000
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+2300
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+2000
Paul George
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+3300
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+4200
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+4000
Donovan Mitchell
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+3300
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+3500
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+4000

To view more NBA All-Star Game MVP odds, go to DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook and/or PointsBet.

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