Care to make a wager on the “White Man Can’t Jump” component of this year’s NBA All-Star Weekend? Well, you’re going to have to make that one with your buddies. It has been taken off the board in New Jersey.
And that is disappointing to NBA fans, happening for the second year in a row in the Garden State, which has been the most conducive to allowing folks to wager on a wide range of sporting events.
But because the NBA’s dunk contest winner is determined by judges, the one sportsbook that put it up quickly this week – PointsBet – was forced to take it down at the behest of the state’s Bureau of Gaming Enforcement. Last year, DraftKings Sportsbook also had its slam dunk contest odds pulled by gaming regulators days before the event.
“It was approved initially, that was our understanding, but they don’t really like things determined outside of the structure of the league,” said Andrew Mannino, the Sports Content Manager for PointsBet.
This year’s contestants are Pat Connaughton of the Milwaukee Bucks (the white guy), Dwight Howard of the Los Angeles Lakers (who had wanted to include Kobe Bryant as his assistant), Aaron Gordon of the Orlando Magic, and Derrick Jones Jr. of the Miami Heat.
But you can still bet on All-Star Weekend festivities
Betting markets for the rest of the All-Star Weekend events are becoming available at several sportsbooks around the country. For Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game, the format has undergone an extreme change, with the opposing teams – Team LeBron and Team Giannis – competing each quarter with the score reset at the beginning of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th periods before the totals from the first three quarters are added back up.
“We think the new format is going to make it quite an exciting game, and the charity element (the teams are donating their proceeds to Chicago area charities) might make it more exciting,” Mannino said. “Also, we’re looking for quicker rotations, with teams bringing in fresh legs because they want to compete each and every quarter and have those bragging rights.
“Also, we expect LeBron James and Anthony Davis to both have big games because it is so emotional for them given the Kobe Bryant angle, and we also expect to have Giannis go all-out because there is a belief that he has something to prove even though he’s pretty much the man right now.”
PointsBet set Giannis’ point total over/under at 23.5, tying him with Davis for the highest total on the board. James is at 22.5, and James Harden has an over/under of just 16.5.
Another wager on the board is the All-Star MVP award, with Giannis the favorite at +500, Davis and James at +550, and a dropoff to Pascal Siakam and Joel Embiid at 11-1, and Kawhi Leonard at 12-1. The longest MVP odds belong to Domantis Sabonis of the Indiana Pacers, who is 100-1.
PointsBet had All-Star Weekend props up before the two biggest US domestic sportsbooks, DraftKings and FanDuel, because the book has a special passion for the NBA, Mannino said.
“To be out in front is something we pride ourselves on. We use our own technology in setting our numbers, and we make something a priority we’re really able to put the axe to the grindstone,” Mannino said.
PointsBet also announced this week that it is now an authorized sports betting operator of the NBA. The sportsbook will integrate the first-ever Win Probability Metric across certain NBA platforms like NBA.com.
In other markets, PointsBet has Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets (+250) favored in the skills challenge, followed by Khris Middleton (+300) of the Milwaukee Bucks and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander of the Oklahoma City Thunder (+450). The longest odds belong to Zach LaVine (+1100) of the hometown Chicago Bulls. And LaVine, it should be noted, is not at all happy about being left out of Sunday’s game.
For the 3-point shootout, the favorite is Damian Lillard (+300) of the Portland Trail Blazers, and LaVine is again the longest shot on the board at +1100.
“Dame is lighting up the world. I don’t know if I would bet against him,” Mannino said.
DraftKings Sportsbook is offering wagering on the 3-point contest, listing Joe Harris of Brooklyn as the +450 favorite. At FanDuelSportsbook, Lillard and Harris are co-favorites at +350.