NBA All-Star Saturday Night has arrived, and not a moment too soon for the players who have logged around 60 games this season already. In addition to the All-Star Game, bettors can wager on a variety of side events taking place in Utah. One of them, of course, is the NBA Slam Dunk Contest. As part of TheLines‘ All-Star weekend preview, we’ll take a look at NBA dunk contest odds.
The dunk contest takes place Saturday night at 10 p.m. EST. It will be televised on TNT.
Longtime Dunking Legend McClung The Clear Favorite
Mac McClung may not be a familiar name to your average NBA fan. But, those trawling social media for basketball highlights over the past few years have probably stumbled upon a McClung jam or two from the Texas Tech product.
A walking viral dunk highlight since his high school days, McClung has tried to slowly build himself an NBA career. He only appeared in two games last season, one each with Chicago and LA Lakers. He did manage to throw down one notable dunk in his 22 minutes of action.
McClung hopes to latch on with the 76ers after signing a two-way contract earlier this week.
Even if he lacks in NBA game credentials, the market doesn’t seem to care. After reportedly opening closer to +250 — even behind Kenyon Martin Jr. and Jericho Sims at one shop — the market has backed him with full steam ahead. McClung is now the clear favorite at BetMGM Sportsbook, one of the few operators posting a market on Friday morning.
McClung teased never-before-seen dunks for the event in a recent interview with Yahoo’s Shams Charania.
Martin, Sims, Murphy To Try And Play Spoiler
Here’s a quick breakdown of each dunk contestant’s measurables:
|Mac McClung||76ers||6-foot-2, 185 pounds||43.5 inches|
|Kenyon Martin Jr.||Rockets||6-foot-6, 215 pounds||38.5 inches|
|Jericho Sims||Knicks||6-foot-10, 245 pounds||44.5 inches|
|Trey Murphy III||Pelicans||6-foot-9, 206 pounds||38 inches|
Initially the favorite in some spots, the Knicks’ Jericho Sims has the biggest recorded vertical leap from these players’ respective NBA combine performances. Despite his impressive leaping skills, Sims has a big disadvantage as the tallest player in the contest. Historically, taller players’ dunks have not resonated as much with judges. Dunking from closer to the basket just comes across as less visually impressive, and winning the dunk contest is all about aesthetics.
Martin Jr. probably has the most impressive collection of in-game NBA dunks among these players. More of a power dunker — much like his father — how will Martin Jr. adjust to the contest, where flair is more of a concern?
Finally, Murphy III ranks as a bit of a wild card. Known as more of a 3-point shooter, we’ll see what Murphy has in store from closer to the rim. The unknown factor might make him an interesting play for those hoping to mine for value. However, he’s lacking in the vertical leap department compared to the other contestants.