2018 NBA All-Star Three-Point Contest Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
With celebrities and NBA All-Stars set to converge on Tinseltown this coming weekend, I'm going to try my hardest not to get caught up in all the glitz and glamour of all-star weekend. Instead, I'm going to try and turn a profit, much like I've done throughout the first half of the NBA season. The first event I have my eye on is this year's Three-Point Contest.
A field of eight sharpshooters enter this year's contest, including the reigning and defending champion Eric Gordon. In last year's event, Gordon got the better of Kyrie Irving in a "playoff" by a score of 21-18. This came after both Gordon and Irving put up identical 20-point scorers in the final - both of which were better than the other finals participant, Kemba Walker.
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In my honest opinion, this year's competition is a step down in class compared to last year's. Sure, Klay Thompson is back in the mix along with the defending champion Gordon, but Wayne Ellington and Tobias Harris just don't have the same appeal that Irving or Nick Young or Kemba Walker has. Nonetheless, it's going to be a daunting task for Gordon to defend his crown.
The field for this event is comprised of Thompson (+210), Gordon (+450), Devin Booker (+575), Paul George (+650), Bradley Beal (+750), Wayne Ellington (+750), Kyle Lowry (+900) and Harris (+1100).
All odds are courtesy of our friends at Bovada .
Klay Thompson (+210) and Eric Gordon (+450)
This shouldn't come as a surprise, but the last two winners of the NBA's Three-Point Contest are one-two in the betting odds. Last year, Gordon had himself a season. He put up more three-pointers than everyone not named Steph Curry. This year, Gordon is once again torching opposing defenses to the tune of 3.3 three-pointers per game on 42.4 percent accuracy. Gordon has been coming off the bench this season for the Rockets, and he has breathed life into the team's second unit. His 18.5 points per game is second on the team, right behind some guy named James Harden. Gordon has what it takes to repeat as champion, but the betting favorite will be his biggest challenge.
Thompson comes into this contest as the +210-betting favorite, and he already has a three-point title to his name (2016). This year, Thompson has returned to form after struggling last year. Thompson is averaging 3.5 three-point makes per game on 45.4 percent shooting. That's what you call lights out. Thompson struggled in this event last year, putting up just 18 points and getting bounced in the opening round. I expect Thompson to have a bounce-back performance and reach the finals this year. The only problem is the line is much lower than I would have liked.
Bradley Beal (+750)
Since John Wall went down with an injury in late January, Beal has taken this team by the scruff of the neck and has willed them to a 6-2 record. Beal is averaging almost 20 points per game and is shooting close to 47 percent from the field. Beal has the tools needed to compete in an event such as this one where the lights are shining bright and you are left on an island to compete on your own. This year, Beal is shooting 38 percent from beyond the arc and is knocking down a shade over two three-pointers per game. When you think of three-point shooting, Beal isn't the first person that comes to mind, which is why he is my sleeper in this year's event.
Tobias Harris (+1100)
Since Harris is the only contestant with double-digit odds, he is by default the live long shot of this competition. Harris is most certainly not among the best three-point shoots in the league, connecting on just under two triples per game. He does, however, knock down 40 percent of his attempts, which to me means he makes the shots he's supposed to make when he's left wide open. In a three-point contest, there are no defenders coming at you, so it wouldn't surprise me one bit to see Harris get in a groove and start knocking down triples. Something else to consider is the fact that Harris was just traded from Detroit to the LA Clippers, which means he will be competing for the home-town crowd. A little extra motivation to perform well never killed anyone.
Devin Booker (+575)
Booker has been slowly making a name for himself out in the desert as Phoenix's best player. Booker's best moment came when he dropped 71 points against the Celtics at TD Garden. This season, Booker is averaging 24 points per game on 43 percent shooting. He is also knocking down 38.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc. In a field with two legitimate favorites, Booker's odds are too low for me to take a chance on.
Paul George (+650)
George made headlines this past offseason after forcing his way out of Indiana. So far, he has backed up his actions to the tune of 22.5 point per game on 44.5 percent shooting and 42.7 percent from beyond the arc. This is George's second tango with the three-point contest, and it can't possibly be as bad as his first, when he scored 9 points and was eliminated in the opening round.
Kyle Lowry (+900)
Lowry has been in this competition for the past two years and each time has failed to make it out of the opening round. This year will be no different. Lowry is a career 36.7 percent shooter from beyond the arc, despite shooting 39 percent this season alone. Maybe the experience of the last two years will help Lowry and get him over the hump, but I'm not counting on it.
Wayne Ellington (+750)
Ellington is essentially a nobody when you compare him to this year's field. However, Ellington is shooting lights out from beyond the arc, connecting on 40 percent of his attempts. He is also knocking down three triples per game, so if he can find a groove and get hot then perhaps he will be able to leave a lasting impression on this competition and the Los Angeles crowd.
This feels like a bounce-back year for Thompson. While the odds are a little lower than I would have liked, nobody else in the field stands out. I wouldn't be shocked if the finals consisted of Thompson and Gordon, but I will give the upper-hand to the member of the Splash Brothers. Give me Klay Thompson (+210)
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