The surge in long-range shooting across the NBA has helped move the league’s 3-point contest to main event status during the annual NBA All-Star Saturday Night showcase, but the 3-point shootout has always held a special place in NBA betting. It’s far more entertaining than the slam dunk contest and the odds to win the NBA 3-point contest hold much more betting value with past winners cashing in at lofty payouts.
Given the massive uptick in production from beyond the arc, the NBA decided to give the 3-point contest a little tweak in 2020. We look at how those rule changes could impact your NBA bets, preview this year’s crop of sharp shooters and their odds, and give our picks to win the NBA All-Star 3-point contest.
WHAT ARE THE NEW 3-POINT CONTEST RULES?
The eight-player field will take turns shooting balls from five racks set up around the 3-point arc. Four of the racks will hold four regular balls worth one point each and one multi-colored “money ball” that are worth two points apiece. One rack will be a special “all money ball” rack. The new rule twist is the addition of two extra green balls set six feet behind the 3-point line. That makes for a maximum score of 40 points in a round. Contestants will also get an extra 10 seconds to take their shots, bringing the total up to 70 seconds.
This is a two-round event, with each player shooting in the first round. The three players with the highest score move on to the championship round. They then shoot again with the lowest score going first. The player with the highest total in the championship round is the winner.
ODDS TO WIN NBA 3-POINT CONTEST
ODDS TO WIN
Dāvis Bertāns (Washington Wizards)
DeVonte Graham (Charlotte Hornets)
The 2020 field is very impressive considering it’s the first 3-point contest that won’t feature a Splash Brother (Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson) since 2012. Hield, Graham, Young, LaVine and Robinson rank third to seventh respectively in terms of 3-pointers taken this season. While Bertāns and defending champion/favorite, Joe Harris, rank third and fifth respectively when it comes to 3-point percentage among players who have attempted at least 300 shots from deep.
*Update: Damian Lillard has pulled out of the All-Star Weekend festivities due to a groin injury.
NBA 3-POINT CONTEST BETTING PICK
Harris is the favorite to defend his title at +300, but no one has repeated as champion of the 3-point contest since Jason Kapono back in 2007 and 2008. The other sexy pick will be Trae Young at +460, but the Hawks’ star is the most inconsistent shooter of the bunch.
LaVine is an interesting long shot at +950 odds to win the NBA 3-point contest. The Bulls guard is hoping to become the first player to win both the slam dunk and 3-point contest in his career. Unfortunately, he’s one of the more inconsistent shooters of the bunch and he’s a bit of a jumper with his shot, which means it’s harder to find a rhythm in this type of competition. Graham at +1,400 is tempting, but we’ve got to go with Buddy.
Hield has shot more 3-pointers than anyone not named James Harden and Lillard this season, all while hitting at a rate of nearly 39 percent. He can get as hot as anybody in this competition. But what makes me really like Hield is his form. He squares his body to the net very well and his release is one of the quickest and smoothest in the NBA. It’s perfect for the 3-point contest and at these odds, what’s not to like.
PICK: Buddy Hield +750