Paul George the Favorite to Win Dunk Contest


In recent years, the chatter surrounding the NBA Dunk Contest has had to do with those who refuse to participate. It can be pretty underwhelming, particularly when LeBron James refuses to get in on the fun and then teases us with dunks like this.

There are a few stars that will headline this year’s festivity; Paul George, Damian Lillard, and John Wall. Then, there’s Terrence Ross, Harrison Barnes, and Ben McLemore.

If you’re looking to spice up All-Star Weekend with a little bit of betting, which may be necessary, here are the odds for the Dunk Contest courtesy of Bovada (@BovadaLV):

Paul George (IND): 6/5

Terrence Ross (TOR): 7/2

John Wall (WAS): 9/2

Ben McLemore (SAC): 5/1

Damian Lillard (POR): 5/1

Harrison Barnes (GS): 17/2

The obvious takeaway is that George, the best player in the contest, is the favorite to win. Terrence Ross, who will be defending his title from last year, is the second favorite. Oh, and nobody seems to have any sort of confidence in Harrison Barnes.

Out of these six, George appears to have the best combination of size and athleticism. There are no big men competing this year, making PG the biggest competitor. It’s possible that this could work to his disadvantage, as voters sometimes like to root for the little guy, a la Nate Robinson. Still, you have to believe that being the biggest and longest player will give PG the most options.

Expectations will also play into minds of the voters. George has already teased us with this nasty in game 360, so he’ll at least have to do better than that to impress. The bar will be high for Ross as defending champion, and for PG, Lillard, and Wall for being stars. It seems like less will be expected out of McLemore and Barnes, who could potentially steal the show if they can pull something out of their bag of tricks after flying under the radar.

It’s nice to see three star players participating in the Dunk Contest. Perhaps the only way for the competition to have some life pumped into it is for the best players to buy in. I just want PG and LeBron to go head-to-head in one Dunk Contest; is that really too much to ask?

If betting on the Dunk Contest just isn’t enough, you can bet on the All Star Game. Also, you probably have a gambling problem.

At 3/1, Kevin Durant is the favorite for All Star Game MVP, with LeBron close behind at 7/2. PG is a little further down the list at 12/1, and you’d have to dig pretty deep to find Roy Hibbert at 70/1. I guess the odds makers don’t love a slow-footed big man’s shot at putting up monstrous MVP-like numbers in a fast paced, pickup style game. Bet on Hibbert at your own discretion.

Anyone with a calculator will tell you that the odds for a Pacer to win both the Dunk Contest and the All-Star Game aren’t particularly good, but crazier things have happened.