NBA 2018 All-Star Weekend: Slam Dunk Contest - 2/17/18 Pick, Odds, and Prediction
2018 Slam Dunk Contest
NBA Basketball: Saturday, February 17, 2018 at 8:00 pm (Staples Center)
The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds
Now that we looked at the NBA three-point contest, it’s time to try and make some money on the 2018 slam dunk contest during all-star weekend. Of course, the value isn’t quite the same in this tournament given it’s just four contestants and it’s truly unpredictable. Sometimes judges are bias, other times guys you pick can’t finish a dunk and end up screwing you over because the ball didn’t go through the rim. Most of the time it comes down to who was the most creative, and that’s really hard to factor into handicapping when you have no idea who is going to do what. However, that won’t stop us finding value and trying to make a quick buck during the all-star break.
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Let’s break down the four participants and give out a pick.
Dennis Smith Jr. - Dennis Smith Jr. is a rookie point guard for the Dallas Mavericks who has 27 dunks on the season. Smith has a little bit of Russell Westbrook to his finishes, as he dunks with aggressiveness and has a bit of an attitude. Despite being a rookie, Smith has name recognition already considering he’s about the only good thing going for the Mavs these days. Smith has really good hops for a bigger point guard at 6’3”, and he did complete a 360 in a game against the Washington Wizards. Smith is currently the favorite with +175 odds.
Donovan Mitchell - Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz is another rookie and somebody who should seriously be considered for Rookie of the Year. Mitchell has 25 dunks on the season and most of them have had a little flair to them. Whether it’s putbacks on his opponents head, alley oops or a windmill in the open court, Mitchell has made some filthy dunks look routine. That’s scary heading into this tournament. You can get Mitchell with +200 odds.
Larry Nance Jr. - Larry Nance Jr. heads into this event 23rd in the league this season with 59 dunks, which is the most of anybody in this field. Nance is a power dunker at 6’9” and can get up there for a big dude. Nance of course has great genes, as his father was the winner of the 1984 sam dunk contest. Also, Nance may now play for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but he spent two and a half seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, so you can bet he’ll be a crowd favorite for this event. You can find Nance with +300 odds.
Victor Oladipo - Victor Oladipo has had his breakout season with the Indiana Pacers, and he has 41 dunks on the year. An athletic guard, Oladipo has underrated hops and has put on a show this season that included a 360 against the Chicago Bulls. Oladipo also has a bit of a chip on his shoulder and wants to be considered one of the better players in the league, so this is a chance for him to get his name out there a bit more. Indiana also produced last years slam dunk winner in Glenn Robinson III. You can get Oladipo with +450 odds.
Again, predicting the slam dunk winner really comes down to who you think will be more creative. All these guys can put on a show. There’s a strong case to be made for Nance, as he has the most dunks of anyone in this field, has a father who won it and will be returning home, so there’s potential fan bias that can sway the judges. But I’m picking Mitchell to win this event. Mitchell plays with that flair, isn’t afraid of the big moments and has already shown flashes of what he’s capable of with his dunks. From 360s, windmills and underneath the hoop, Mitchell has been the more entertaining dunker of these four players this season. That gives him a head start over the field.
Give me Mitchell to become the second Utah Jazz player to win the slam dunk contest and first since Jeremy Evans in 2012.