NBA Betting Preview (Feb 17): 2024 All-Star Saturday Skills Odds

As the NBA gears up for the last couple of months of the regular season, its marquee weekend to celebrate itself takes centre stage. All-Star Weekend is taking place in Indianapolis, Indiana this year, the first time since 1985 that it will be held in this basketball-crazed state.

This year will see a first-of-its-kind special event taking place that’s garnering much interest. Golden State Warriors megastar Steph Curry, the owner of the most 3-pointers made in NBA history, will be facing off against WNBA All-Star Sabrina Ionescu of the New York Liberty in an unprecedented 3-Point Shooting Contest.

There’s such growing buzz about the “Stephen vs. Sabrina” showdown, that it might actually capture more viewers than the usual premier event of the evening, the Slam Dunk Contest. That’s even with the dunk contest having some star power this year as Boston Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown will participate for the first time.

Let’s take a more in-depth look at each of the events coming up at All-Saturday Night plus some betting insight.

But first a glance at the schedule and current odds-on favourites for each event:

All-Star Saturday Night Schedule

Time/DateFebruary 17th, 8:00 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: TSN, TSN4/5, RDS
Stream: NBA League Pass
(How to watch the NBA in Canada?)
Teams InvolvedTeam Top Picks (+130)
Team All-Stars (+175)
Team Pacers (+200)

Kia Skills Challenge

First introduced in 2003, the All-Star skills competition recently underwent a format change, likely in an effort to increase interest in the least ballyhooed event of All-Star Saturday Night.

An individual competition until 2022 is now a team event with each squad consisting of three players battling it out over three rounds. The first round is similar to previous competitions where players go through a relay course that involves dribbling, passing, and shooting. The second round is dedicated to passing while the third round tests shooting prowess. If there is a tie at this point, the final round tiebreaker is half-court shots.

Team Top Picks has been the steady favourite in Vegas and top to bottom they do have the best players, led by budding superstar Anthony Edwards. Team Pacers and Team All-Stars however have plenty of moxie of their own and can’t be counted out.

Bets to Watch

Smart Money Pick: Team All-Stars +175

It surely will be fun to watch the ultra-competitive Anthony Edwards and French wunderkind Victor Wembanyama but speed can be a major factor in this contest, especially in the first round. The guard-oriented lineup of Team All-Stars, also filled with veterans, might be the toughest team to beat.

Dark Horse Pick: Team Pacers +200

You can never count out the boost the home team gets in front of the home crowd at these All-Star events. It’s a chance to prove themselves the best in the NBA in front of their fans. In fact, since the inception of this new team format, the “home” team has won both competitions. Team Jazz in Utah last year and Team Cavs in Cleveland in 2022.

Skills Competition Final Pick: Team Top Picks to Win +130

The young talent present on Team Top Picks is tough to ignore and we like them to pull this one out.

Team Top Picks to Win Kia Skills Challenge


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Starry 3-Point Contest

The 3-Point Contest is going to have more stars than normal this year. This year, six of the eight players are current All-Stars including East starters Damian Lillard and Tyrese Haliburton. Lillard is vying to become the seventh player to win back-to-back 3-Point Contest crowns while Haliburton seeks to improve on last year’s runner-up finish to Lillard in his second overall appearance.

While all it takes is one player catching fire and finding the zone, it’s good to get an idea of which of these participants have been most prone to doing that this season. Here’s a breakdown of each competitor’s regular season 3-point shooting percentage at the break.

  • Malik Beasley – 44.4%
  • Karl-Anthony Towns – 43.7%
  • Jalen Brunson – 41.1%
  • Lauri Markkanen – 40.3%
  • Tyrese Haliburton – 40%
  • Trae Young – 37.1%
  • Donovan Mitchell – 36.1%
  • Damian Lillard – 34.1%

While Beasley has been incredible from downtown this season, it’s yet to be known if he can shine in the limelight while Karl-Anthony Towns is vying along with Lillard to become only the eighth player to win multiple 3-Point Contest titles.

Bets to Watch

Smart Money Pick: Trae Young +550

Young has been shooting the second-best percentage of his career this season but maybe more importantly, he’s been at 40.7% over his last 10 games. He’s going to be competing in his third contest but ever since college, he has seemed destined to win one of these things. No reason it can’t be this year.

Dark Horse Pick: Jalen Brunson +650

When Jalen Brunson gets hot, watch out. With how he’s been playing this season for the Knicks, with growing whispers of an MVP candidacy, the stage seems set for him to go on a streak that will carry the day for the superb point guard who was somehow not voted in as an All-Star starter. Getting beat out by one Damian Lillard might be the added motivation he needs.

Three Point Contest Final Pick: Damian Lillard to Win +400

Despite his low shooting percentage, the value on the board for Lillard to win this event is too much to pass up.

Damian Lillard to Win Three-Point Contest


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AT&T Slam Dunk

By now the All-Star Saturday Night Slam Dunk contest needs little introduction. Every year fans watch hoping to catch a glimpse of past dunk glory only to be disappointed yet again and question why they have the contest in the first place.

There was at least a reprieve last year as G League sensation Mac McClung stole the show. Once known for breaking Allen Iverson’s single-season high school scoring record, this might be the first time since then he’ll be mentioned so closely with another great star. Jaylen Brown, who has admittedly never participated in a dunk contest, is bringing his high-flying athleticism to the event.

The other two participants are both rookies but on different trajectories. Jacob Toppin, the brother of Obi, has only played five games for the Knicks this season, spending most of his time on their G League roster. Jaime Jaquez, on the other hand, has been excellent for the Miami Heat and looks to be another draft steal for the franchise.

Bets to Watch

Smart Money Pick: Mac McClung -275

This contest will likely go down to McClung vs. Brown. Though many fans clamoured for a star and perhaps Brown isn’t who they had in mind, he can definitely win this contest. However, Mac McClung may have been created in a lab to win slam dunk contests. The smallish 6’2” guard with a 43.5-inch vertical also comes with creativity. A difficult combination to overcome for any opponent.

Dark Horse Pick: Jaime Jaquez Jr. +800

Jaquez isn’t expected to win but that’s what precisely works in his favor. If he wows the crowd with some original dunks, that might be the momentum he needs to achieve the upset. Especially if McClung quickly becomes yesterday’s news.

Final Pick: Mac McClung to Win -275

As we said above, you could not create a person more built to win a dunk contest than Mac McClung.

Mac McClung to Win 2024 Dunk Competition


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Stephen vs. Sabrina 3-Point Challenge

This is a really interesting thing the NBA is doing this year. Stephen Curry has changed the way basketball is played with young players shooting threes as soon as they’re able to. His influence can be seen in another Bay Area Legend who’s made the three-point shot her own signature.

Ionescu considers Curry a childhood idol, and the two linked up over a decade ago when Curry started mentoring her. His influence could be seen in last year’s WNBA All-Star game where Ionescu went off for an incredible 25 of 27 shooting performance which to this date is the best 3-point contest performance in NBA or WNBA history. Now they face each other in an epic showdown.

The rules for this competition will be similar to your standard 3-point contest with players having a certain amount of time to shoot the balls on their rack. In this case, 27 balls in 70 seconds. Ionescu will have the option of shooting from the WNBA line but has repeatedly said she will shoot from the NBA line as she practices. She will be using the WNBA ball, however.

Bets to Watch

Smart Money Pick: Steph Curry -220

What can you say? It is never smart to bet against this man in any shooting contest ever. If you’re going to pick the person likely to win, this is the play. It doesn’t matter who is going up against him. There’s a reason these odds aren’t great.

Dark Horse Pick: Sabrina Ionescu +170

This is sort of a no-brainer in a competition of just two. But Ionescu has a real chance to win. In fact, it would not be ill-advised to take her just because of the favourable odds and her proven ability to be amazingly accurate from long-distance.

Final Pick: Stephen Curry to Win -220

Stephen Curry is the undisputed best shooter of all time. It’s hard to bet against him in anything related to shooting.

Steph Curry to win 3-Point Challenge


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Final Thoughts

It will be interesting to see if the Slam Dunk contest will be able to continue the momentous goodwill from last year. Or if the inclusion of Jaylen Brown will motivate other big-name stars to join the field in the future. The Stephen vs. Sabrina Showdown, however, will be the big experiment of the night. A way to market the WNBA and women’s basketball which has been growing in popularity recently. Whatever the outcome, it will be talked about for sure.