The Toronto Raptors will have Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan representing their squad and the Eastern Conference at the 2017 NBA All-Star weekend.
To say the NBA’s All-Star break is the halfway point of the regular season is inaccurate as every club in the league has played almost 60 of its 82 scheduled games. The week off for the players from that grind usually leads to excellent basketball down the stretch. All-Star Weekend this year is in New Orleans, although that wasn’t originally the case. Last July, the league moved the festivities to the Big Easy from Charlotte because of North Carolina’s controversial “bathroom bill.” Here’s a look at the three big events this weekend from New Orleans and the NBA All-Star odds at Sports Interaction.
NBA All Star Game Betting Odds
Three-Point Contest Odds
This takes place Saturday night, and to many basketball fans this has become more exciting a competition than that of the Slam Dunk Contest. The three-point betting favourite is Golden State’s Klay Thompson at +110. Last year at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Thompson beat out teammate and 2015 champion Steph Curry with 27 points in the final round. Curry had 23 points and the Suns’ Devin Booker 16. It was the first time in Three-Point Contest history that different players from the same team won it in consecutive seasons.
Curry has opted not to compete this year. Raptors All-Star guard Kyle Lowry is back in the contest after failing to advance out of the preliminary round last year. Lowry is having by far his best three-point shooting season, on pace to shatter his career highs in attempts, makes and percentage (among league leaders in each). He’s +900 to win. A Raptor has won this contest once: Jason Kapono in 2008.
Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving is the +400 second-favourite. He won the contest in 2013. The Three-Point Contest is a two-round competition in which five shooting locations are positioned around the three-point arc. The players have one minute to shoot as many as the 25 balls as they can. The top three shooters from the preliminary round move on to the final round. There are eight competitors in all.
2017 NBA Slam Dunk Contest Odds
This is also Saturday night, and unless you are a devout NBA fan you may never have heard of two of four competitors. NBA Slam Dunk Contest odds list Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon as the favourite at -156. He staged an epic duel last year in Toronto with Minnesota’s Zach LaVine – arguably one of the best dunk contests ever.
In the final round, Gordon and LaVine each had perfect 50s on each of their first two dunks. That led to a dunk-off and two more 50s. Finally, in the second dunk-off, LaVine put up another 50 to Gordon’s 47. Unfortunately, there will be no repeat duel as LaVine had opted not to try for a threepeat before soon after suffering a season-ending torn ACL.
The only actual All-Star in the Dunk Contest this year is Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, and he’s +800. Then it’s two fairly unknown players in Indiana Pacers reserve Glenn Robinson III (+900) and Phoenix’s Derrick Jones Jr. (+130), who just about never sees the court in the NBA and spends most of his time in the D-League. Do a YouTube search of Jones and you will see some spectacular dunks. All four competitors get two dunks in the first round. The two players with the highest combined score for their two dunks advance to the final round.
2017 NBA All-Star Game Odds
This is Sunday night, and the ASG has largely become a dunk contest of its own with no defense being played. Last year’s game set a record for total points scored as the Western Conference beat the East 196-173 in Kobe Bryant’s final All-Star Game. Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook was named the MVP for the second straight year – the first player to accomplish that. NBA All-Star game odds have the West as a 5.5-point favourite for a threepeat on Sunday and the total is an absurd 353.5. Westbrook is a +350 leader for another MVP Award.
The biggest story line for the game involves Westbrook as he somehow wasn’t voted a starter in the NBA’s new system even though Westbrook is averaging a triple-double and might win league MVP honours. The West’s starting five is the Warriors’ Curry and Kevin Durant, Houston’s James Harden, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis.
What everyone is wondering is if Western Conference coach Steve Kerr of Golden State will play Westbrook and Durant at the same time. Westbrook still hasn’t forgiven Durant for leaving Oklahoma City in free agency this past summer and there’s no love lost between Westbrook and any member of the Warriors. Golden State’s Klay Thompson and Draymond Green are also All-Stars. Would Kerr dare to put Westbrook out there with those four?
The Raptors have two players on the Eastern Conference squad in shooting guard DeMar DeRozan, who will start, and Lowry. DeRozan had 18 points as a reserve in the 2016 game and Lowry had 14 points, 10 assists and five rebounds as a starter. The East is coached by Boston’s Brad Stevens and the starters other than DeRozan are Cleveland’s LeBron James and Kyrie Irving, Chicago’s Jimmy Butler and Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo. No Raptor has won All-Star Game MVP honours.
All-Star Betting Picks
Go with Portland’s C.J. McCollum (+800) in the Three-Point Contest, the Suns’ Jones in the Dunk Contest and the West to win the All-Star Game for the seventh time in the past eight years. The hometown favorite Davis of the Pelicans wins the MVP. He’s +650 for that.