Steph Curry will once again be competing in the Three Point contest (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- Despite a shortened All-Star break, the NBA Dunk Contest, Three-Point Contest and Skills Challenge remain on schedule for Sunday night
- Steph Curry and Luka Doncic are favored to win the Three-Point Contest, and Skills Challenge, respectively
- Opening odds for the Dunk Contest make Knicks rookie Obi Toppin the early favorite
The 2021 All-Star weekend is condensed like never before. The Three-Point Contest, Dunk Contest and Skills Challenge will all take place on the day of the All-Star Game itself.
March 7th sees the Three-Point Contest and Skills Challenge scheduled before the game. After much discussion about contestants and feasibility, the Dunk Contest will be the halftime feature. Unlike previous years, there are only three entrants for the 2021 Dunk Contest.
Eyes might be on Thursday’s All-Star Draft, but these three events are an opportunity to go down in All-Star history.
2021 NBA Three-Point Contest Odds
All odds as of March 3rd
Loaded Field Will Fire Away From Downtown
We’ve got two former winners and a record-setter in this stacked Three-Point Contest field. Steph Curry was the 2014-15 champion. Devin Booker won in 2017-18 and recorded the highest score in Three-Point Contest history.
Zach LaVine and Donovan Mitchell are posting career-high three-point percentages for the season. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown continue to see their offensive workload increase. This is a seriously talented group of shooters, and the standard should be incredibly high. What’s key here, though, is a quick release and being able to hit a hot streak. Booker and LaVine in particular are renowned for their ability to drain shot after shot.
Joe Harris and Buddy Hield are the two previous winners. All of the contestants this year are more rounded offensive players than those two, but that’s irrelevant here. Harris and Hield are snipers from long range, and both are used to the catch-and-shoot quick-trigger shooting that’s required.
Betting against Curry is brave. He’s the greatest shooter of all-time and his natural shooting rhythm is quick enough to remove any time pressure. Tatum and Brown might be too slow on the release to really thrive in this environment.
Booker is a good bet at that price, though it would be foolish to write off LaVine, who has a track record of delivering at All-Star Weekend.
- Best bets: Steph Curry (+190), Devin Booker (+500)
2021 NBA Skills Challenge Odds
Doncic & CP3 Battle the Big Men
In a field laden with big men, it’s not a surprise to see Luka Doncic and Chris Paul atop the odds. That’s not to downplay the skill of the other contestants, but speed is important here, and the quickness of Doncic and Paul should set them apart from their lumbering rivals.
On the other hand, the Skills Challenge has been a successful place for big men in recent years. Only one guard has won in the last five years.
Domantas Sabonis’ all-round offensive skillset should stand him in good stead. He’s nimbler than Nikola Vucevic and Julius Randle, and more talented with the ball in-hand than Robert Covington.
The Pacers forward is deserving of being the favorite among the frontcourt players, but being at +400 still seems generous given the all-time great talent of Luka Doncic and Chris Paul.
We can generate a bit of extra motivation for Doncic and Paul here, too. Kristaps Porzingis won the Skills Challenge during his Knicks days – Doncic will surely be keen to match the achievement of his teammate. Along similar lines, Paul will not want to get outshone by Booker, who could be on course for his second Three-Point Contest victory.
This comes down to Doncic versus Paul. Given the marginally longer odds, let’s go with the veteran.
- Best bet: Chris Paul (+225)
2021 NBA MVP Award Odds Tracker
2021 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Odds
Not the Usual Spectacle
It’s fair to call this an underwhelming field. With only three contestants, the Dunk Contest format is shorter. Each contestant will get to perform two dunks in the first round, and the two highest scoring dunkers will go head-to-head with one dunk each in the final.
Just Obi Toppin casually throwing down a between-the-legs dunk in a game (via @DaytonMBB)pic.twitter.com/gvaIM1g2dQ
— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) March 8, 2020
They might not be the biggest names, but there’s no shortage of bounce in this field. Obi Toppin is a phenomenal athlete. Anfernee Simons might not look like a big dunker, but he can get serious air.
Cassius Stanley is hardly well-known – don’t write him off, though. Stanley’s 44-inch vertical leap at the draft combine was the third-highest since 2000. One of the two players with a higher vertical was Hamidou Diallo, who won the Dunk Contest in 2019.
Little separates the field in these odds. Toppin has shown off his dunking prowess in games already, and the Knicks factor means plenty will back him to win this. Simons is 6’3 and weighs just over 180 pounds. The perception of him isn’t exactly Dunk Champion stuff, but regular watchers of Blazers games will have seen flashes of the athleticism which earned him a place in this year’s Dunk Contest. Delve into YouTube and there are plenty of spectacular Simons dunks.
Cassius Stanley in the NBA Dunk Contest!
He registered a 44-inch max vert at the NBA Draft combine.
Via @ChrisJHoops | #AlwaysGamepic.twitter.com/xzWd4LVSFF
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 1, 2021
Stanley’s combine was eye-catching, however, and The Athletic’s Sam Vecenie identified him as a favorite here. Despite playing a grand total of 23 NBA minutes, the Pacers rookie is the best bet.
- Best bet: Cassius Stanley (+200)
Sam Cox is a freelance writer and sports junkie, who has spent the past several years immersed in the online gaming industry. He has worked with 888sport, Oddschecker, and Colossus Bets to name a few. Based in the UK, Sam also runs Franchise Sports with his brother.