No sport does All-Star festivities quite like the NBA. Fans know that the All-Star experience is as much about the action that takes place before the game as it about the actual contest itself. And the betting opportunities are rampant, which is why we’re taking a look at the best prop bets for the 2019 All-Star Weekend.
The NBA All-Star Game takes place on Sunday, February 17th, in Charlotte, North Carolina. As usual, it figures to be a high-scoring, free-wheeling affair. And, with the game now set up so that the teams are picked by the players instead of just being a conference vs. conference affair, the incentive for winning seems to have been ratcheted up.
But NBA fans know that the game is just the culmination of a festival that is all things basketball. Ever since the league appropriated the concept of a dunk contest from the old ABA back in the ‘80s, the entire weekend of the game has been an event. Soon to follow the Slam Dunk event would be contests showing off the best 3-point shooters, the most skilled players, and the game’s rising stars.
Needless to say, all of those events spark pretty solid betting interest. You can find bets on practically every aspect of the weekend, and many of these wagers are essentially proposition bets on which individual players are going to perform the best. If you watch the NBA regularly, you can use your well-formed opinions to come up with the players that you think are going to come out on top.
This isn’t an easy task with All-Star Weekend, however, because of the unique nature of the event. The 3-point contest can come down to whichever player has the hottest hand that night. As for the Skills Challenge, a little stumble or slip-up can mean the difference between winning and losing.
In past years, the Dunk Contest might have been an easier one to handicap because players tended to return from year to year. But recent seasons have seen mostly newcomers performing, meaning that it is extremely difficult to judge who has the creativity and hops to come up the winner. As for MVP of the Rising Stars game, that depends on you first anticipating which team is going to win, and then figuring out who is going to be the night’s biggest star on that particular team.
That’s a lot to think about, but that’s why we’re here to help you out with the best prop bets for the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend. We’ll take you through each of the separate events and give the list of the competitors. Then we’ll talk about who the favorites are for each event, while also suggesting some long shots who could surprise everyone.
(All odds come courtesy of BetOnline.ag.)
Friday Night: Rising Stars Game
Odds for MVP
- Ben Simmons (PHI) +500 (World Team)
- Donovan Mitchell (UTA) +500 (US Team)
- Luka Doncic (DAL) +500 (World Team)
- Jayson Tatum (BOS) +700 (US Team)
- De’Aaron Fox (SAC) +900 (US Team)
- Deandre Ayton (PHX) +1000 (World Team)
- Kyle Kuzma (LAK) +1000 (US Team)
- Bogdan Bogdanovic (SAC) +1200 (World Team)
- Lauri Markkanen (CHI) +1200 (World Team)
- OG Anunoby (TOR) +1200 (World Team)
- Trae Young (ATL) +1200 (US Team)
- Jaren Jackson Jr. (MEM) +2000 (US Team)
- John Collins (ATL) +2000 (US Team)
- Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC) +2000 (World Team)
- Kevin Knox (NYK) +3300 (US Team)
- Marvin Bagley III (SAC) +3300 (US Team)
- Cedi Osman (CLE) +4000 (World Team)
- Jarret Allen (BKN) +4000 (US Team)
- Josh Okogie (MIN) +4000 (World Team)
- Rodions Kurucs (BKN) +4000 (World Team)
Ben Simmons (+500)
The tricky thing about Simmons winning the MVP of a game like this is that he isn’t the flashiest guy. There aren’t going to be any deep 3s, because this guy is allergic to jump shots still at this point in his career. And he isn’t going to be throwing down monster dunks because he’d rather make the unselfish dish to somebody else to do it.
What Simmons does is contribute in just about every area of the game. His road map to an MVP is for his World team to win and for him to post a Triple-Double. That’s a lot for him to have to accomplish, maybe too much for a 5-1 favorite.
Donovan Mitchell (+500)
Remember how we just said that Simmons might not do a lot of flashy things. Well, Mitchell certainly has that capability. The guy can drain it from downtown all night long and, considering he is the defending dunk champion and often blocks the shots of guys about a half-foot taller than him, the flash will be there.
Mitchell can be a bit streaky, so he has to be on his game. But he also earns points here as a second-year player, meaning that he’ll probably get a bit more playing time than the rookies. He is a solid option at 5 to 1.
Luka Doncic (+500)
You knew that when he didn’t make the actual All-Star game itself, the almost-certain Rookie of the Year would be heavily included in the rest of the festivities. As a result, you’ll be seeing Doncic in the Rising Stars game, followed by an appearance in the Skills Challenge. And if you haven’t seen him play yet, you’re in for a treat.
Doncic’s flair for the dramatic, Pistol Pete-style pass will be encouraged in a showcase game like this. He also, like Simmons, has the capability of a Triple Double. Look for him to be right at the top of MVP candidates should Team World come out on top.
Best Long Shot Plays
Bogdan Bogdanovic (+1200)
Bogdanovic can flat out fill it up. In a lot of ways, he has the same kind of craftiness as Doncic, but he uses it primarily to score. In fact, he might be the best flat-out shooter out of the 20 players in this game.
Because he plays in Sacramento, and fellow young stars De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Field steal much of the spotlight, Bogdanovic doesn’t get a lot of pub. On top of that, he is sometimes confused with Indiana veteran Bojan Bogdanovic. But this would be a great coming-out party for him, especially if he wins MVP at odds of 12-1.
Trae Young (+1200)
Although the players in these games try hard and want to win, they are essentially there to showcase and market their unique talent sets. As a result, plays that these guys wouldn’t try in a regular season game are fair game here. And that’s why Young deserves mention as a possible sleeper in the MVP race.
Young made his name for himself in college last year as a shooter with unlimited range. You can bet he is going to throw up a few 30-footers off the fast break in this game. If a bunch go in, he has a legitimate MVP shot.
John Collins (+2000)
Collins is one of the best players that you haven’t heard about. Part of that is because he plays in Atlanta, where most of the attention is ladled on Young. But he is having a breakout second season for the Hawks and is one of the guys who will be mentioned later in the year as a possible Most Improved Player.
You’ll note, as this article goes on, that Collins will also be featured in the Dunk contest. That fact should tell you why he could sneak into the Rising Stars MVP picture. Collins could throw down a few highlight jams as a preview of what’s to come on Saturday.
Saturday Night: Skills Challenge
Odds to Win the Challenge
- Luka Doncic (DAL) +350
- De’Aaron Fox (SAC) +450
- Jayson Tatum (BOS) +500
- Mike Conley (MEM) +500
- Nikola Jokic (DEN) +500
- Trae Young (ATL) +500
- Kyle Kuzma (LAK) +700
- Nikola Vucevic (ORL) +800
Luka Doncic (+350)
You won’t see too much of a stretch, in terms of odds, from heaviest favorite to longest of long shots for this event. That’s because this event has the most luck involved of any of the ones that will be contested on All-Star Weekend. You’re talking about one bad pass or a missed 3-pointer or two from having no chance at all.
Doncic is the favorite, mostly because he is the biggest name in the event. He can certainly win with a smooth run, but speed isn’t exactly his thing. As a result, he could do everything perfectly here and still come up a bit short when the final times are calculated.
De’Aaron Fox (+450)
The biggest recommending factor for Fox is his speed. The Kentucky product is a whir from one end of the court to the other. He gets to display that a lot in Sacramento, where they tend to play at an absolutely scorching pace.
That said, his long-range shot isn’t exactly the strongest part of his game. The possibility that he blisters through the course only to clank several jumpers in a row at the end should worry you, especially at those relatively short odds of nine to two.
Best Long Shots Plays
Mike Conley (+500)
Since the two mentioned above lead the odds, and there is a logjam at +500, we’re going to consider everybody else besides Doncic and Fox to be long shots. Conley, the veteran point guard, stands out as the best of the rest. The reason is that he has all of the skills that will be needed in this event.
He’s quick and a great ball-handler, so he should be able to navigate the dribbling and speed sections quite well. Since he’s a pinpoint passer and perennially one of the best assist men in the business, he should have no issues making the required pass into the net. And he has improved his 3-point shooting throughout his time to the point where he is a sure marksman.
Nikola Jokic (+500)
Expect to hear a lot about Jokic throughout All-Star Weekend, as he is one of the true breakout stars of the 2018-19 NBA season. “The Joker” will be featured in the All-Star game as well, showcasing his wide range of skills. And that’s what makes him so special: He is the poster child for the NBA big man, circa 2019.
Yes, he can score in the post. But he also brings the ball up the court like a point guard and is one of the best passers at any position in the entire league. Add in a sweet 3-point stroke, and he has everything it takes to get it done in the Skills Competition at five to one, perhaps becoming the second center to win the event in this last three years (Kristaps Porzingis won it two years ago).
Jayson Tatum (+500)
All three +500 plays are good ones. Tatum is one of those guys who is so smooth and in control when he plays that you don’t really realize just how fast he is. He is also about as multi-talented of a guy as you’ll find in the league, doing everything on the court without ever seeming to break a sweat.
If there is one worry about his suitability for the Skills Challenge, it’s the fact that he doesn’t usually shoot his threes from the top of the key. A little pre-challenge practice can solve that pretty easily. Look for Tatum to be right in the mix in this one.
Kyle Kuzma (+700)
About the only skill that’s needed in this competition that Kuzma might not have in his arsenal, at least not at the level of some of the others here, is his passing. But nailing a couple passes into the net isn’t really that daunting with nobody applying ball pressure on you. Once he gets that out of the way, he could be a real threat.
After all, he has vastly improved his 3-point stroke, so the final shot is certainly doable for him. And he can really fly down the court with his long strides, so he could make up serious time on some of the others in that respect. Kuzma might not be long term for LA as the Lakers pursue ways of acquiring Anthony Davis, but he could make up for some of that uncertainty by winning this competition.
Saturday: 3-Point Contest
Odds to Win Contest
- Stephen Curry (GSW) +275
- Buddy Hield (SAC) +400
- Devin Booker (PHX) +450
- Damian Lillard (POR) +600
- Seth Curry (POR) +600
- Joe Harris (BKN) +700
- Danny Green (TOR) +800
- Khris Middleton (MIL) +1000
- Kemba Walker (CHA) +1200
- Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) +1600
Stephen Curry (+275)
For all of his 3-point escapades throughout his already Hall of Fame-worthy career, Curry has only won this contest only one time out of five tries. And he hasn’t even competed the last two years. But he loves the spotlight, so a grand return for the title is possible.
There’s no reason why Curry shouldn’t be well-suited for this event. Perhaps the only thing you can say is that he’s so used to shooting his threes while falling down or contorting his body that simply settling into the shot is unusual for him. But that’s reaching, and he’s due.
Buddy Hield (SAC) +400
Hield currently sits fourth in the NBA in 3-point percentage in what has been a superb season for him. The former Oklahoma star can score in a lot of ways, but his 3-pointer is no doubt deadly. He is certainly someone who could win this event.
There is a little bit of a concern that he is new to the event. Sometimes it takes a guy doing this unique setup with the racks of balls one or two times before he gets his sea legs. But Hield has the kind of smooth stroke that can overcome all of those concerns.
Devin Booker (+450)
For whatever reason, Booker really grooves in this event, even as he is actually a mediocre 3-point shooter percentage-wise. Maybe it’s because he is at his best with a spot-up, standstill type release. Whatever it is, the proof is in the results.
In his first year in the event as a rookie back in the 2016 edition, he finished third despite being the youngest player ever to compete in the contest. Last season, he won it and broke Curry’s record for most points in a single round with 28. It’s a bit surprising that he’s not closer to Curry in the odds.
Best Long Shot Plays
Seth Curry (+600)
The younger Curry brother has had a well-travelled NBA career to this point, but he is quietly enjoying success in Portland as a bench sniper behind Damien Lillard and C.J. McCollum. In fact, he comes into the event as the leading percentage shooter for threes in the league, currently knocking them down at an impressive 48.5 percent.
That’s more than a point-and-a-half more than his closest competition on the leaderboard, and a full three points more than Hield, who has the next-highest percentage out of the players in the contest. The numbers are pointing in Seth’s favor. Wouldn’t it be fun to see the two Curry brothers going at it in the finals, with father Dell Curry, himself a legendary shooter, looking on in the crowd?
Danny Green (+800)
It’s hard to believe that Danny Green is making his first appearance in a 3-point contest. Perhaps it’s because he’s always been considered as something of a role player. After all, his most famous stretch in the NBA came as a member of the Spurs, taking advantage of defenses collapsing on Tim Duncan by burying open threes.
He now fills that same role in Toronto alongside fellow former Spur Kawhi Leonard. In case you’re wondering, all of the threes he’ll be taking in the 3-point contest will be open ones as well. And that makes Green a serious threat at a wonderful price of +800.
Kemba Walker (+1000)
Although some can do both, there is usually a dichotomy between 3-point shooters. There are volume shooters who make their living hoisting as many of the shots as they can. And then there are the snipers who choose their spots wisely and drain a high percentage.
Walker is definitely a volume type, with career and season percentage totals below everybody else in this field besides, ironically enough, Booker. But he is playing on his home court. And Walker is one of those guys who loves rising to the big occasion, as NCAA Tournament fans can clearly tell you.
Saturday: Slam Dunk Contest
Odds to Win Contest
- John Collins (ATL) +150
- Miles Bridges (CHA) +190
- Dennis Smith Jr. (NYK) +250
- Hamidou Diallo (OKC) +500
John Collins (+150)
With only four competitors in the field, there is no need to break these guys down into favorites and long shots. We talked a little about Collins above. One of his main attributes is his ability to throw dunks down even in the midst of heavy traffic in the lane.
Does that mean he’ll be a good dunker in the contest? As we mentioned above, it’s always hard to tell how creative a guy is going to be and whether he can handle that immense pressure. Collins certainly has as good of a shot as anybody, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he should be a three to two favorite over the field.
Miles Bridges (+190)
You’ll note above the “CHA” listed next to his name in the list of dunkers competing on Saturday night. In case you’re unaware, that means that Bridges is a member of the Charlotte Hornets. And, in case you missed it in the intro to this article, All-Star Weekend is taking place in Charlotte this year.
That means that Bridges, a high-flying Michigan State product, will have the home court behind him as he dunks. And, unlike the other two Saturday night events, the Dunk Contest is a subjective event, with judges who might very well be swayed by the roar of the crowd. You can make a legitimate argument that he should be the favorite for that reason alone.
Dennis Smith Jr. (+250)
Looking back through the history of the Slam Dunk contest, you’ll see a lot of smallish guards who did very well. From Spud Webb in just the third year of the competition, to three-time champion Nate Robinson, all the way to Donovan Mitchell a year ago, the little guys (at least by NBA standards), do very well in this contest.
Smith is the guy who fits the bill this year. It has been a bit of a star-crossed year for him, as he has warred with Rick Carlisle in Dallas over his role on the team with Doncic taking center stage. Whether he can overcome that, and a possible sour taste in the mouth of the judges, with his dunks remains to be seen. But keep in mind that he is the only returnee to this event, and many thought he was robbed when he narrowly missed the Finals last year despite scoring a perfect 50 dunk on one of his tries.
Hamidou Diallo (+500)
Diallo doesn’t get a lot of run on a stacked, veteran Oklahoma City team. But when the Kentucky rookie does get some time, his athletic ability provides a spark, often in the form of highlight-reel dunks. Hence his spot in this contest, albeit as the longest shot on the board of the four competitors.
As we mentioned above, the Slam Dunk contest is notoriously hard to handicap. So why not Diallo as the biggest bomber on the board? Stranger things have happened in this unusual event, so you might as well search for the best value in a race that figures to be this close.
Rising Stars MVP
Go with Doncic or Mitchell if you’re one who likes to play the chalk. Watch out for Bogdanovic though. If he gets enough shots up, he could be the high scorer on the winning team, meaning it would tough to deny him the award.
He might not have the best odds, but Tatum seems like the best choice here. His game is conducive to this kind of event. If you’re not feeling that, Kuzma provides the best value.
Curry and Booker will get a lot of the betting heat. But Green is reminiscent of Craig Hodges in the role that he plays, and Hodges owned this contest back in the day. Green is the best play of the whole weekend.
Slam Dunk Contest
By far and away, this is the hardest one to judge. Bridges has the home-court, but that also means that he has the pressure, while Smith has the best record in the contest but seems to be coming in with a cloud over him. Take Diallo and go for the best price.
No matter who comes out on top, these events are always a lot of fun. In fact, they proved so popular that other sports soon followed suit and tried to mimic basketball’s success with their own All-Star festivities. Just make sure to have the best prop bets for the 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend all lined up at your gambling website of choice before you settle down to watch and enjoy the event.