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NBA All-Star Weekend: Jaquez Jr., Ionescu Top Picks

There are odds on everything these days. That’s what makes events such as the All-Star weekend something special, as one can find some action on several fun items. Here’s a quick look at the happenings in Indianapolis this weekend. Be sure to check out our NBA expert picks.

 

NBA All-Star Weekend: Jaquez Jr., Ionescu Top Picks

Rising Stars

This four-team event kicks everything off with a mini-tournament in which teams play to a target score. Las Vegas NBA odds list Team Pau at +200 to take the whole thing.

 

 

Pau Gasol scored a great draft when he nabbed Victor Wembanyama with the first pick and later added Brandon Miller and Jaime Jaquez Jr., filling his seven-man roster with perhaps three of the top four rookies in the league.

Team Tamika has Detroit Pistons second-year standouts Jalen Duren and Jaden Ivey in support of All-Star Paolo Banchero, so they could be a factor as well. Team Jalen has Chet Holmgren and OKC teammate Jalen Williams leading the way, and then there’s a G-League squad that figures to be a long shot at the sportsbook.

Skills Challenge

This will be the third straight season in which a team format is in play, with three three-man squads going at it.

Two things to know here. The city hosting the All-Star weekend has had the winning team in each of the first two times that the current format has been used. That was Cleveland two years ago and Utah last year.

Secondly, don’t shy away from big men just because you think it’s a guard-oriented dribble-pass event. Taller, skilled players have performed very well over the years, with Karl-Anthony Towns, Kristaps Porzingis, Bam Adebayo, and Domantas Sabonis winning four of the last six individual titles.

Cleveland had Evan Mobley on its team two years ago and Walker Kessler was on Utah’s winning team in 2023.

Starry 3-Point Contest

Damian Lillard is back to defend his crown in an eight-man field. He’ll likely be the favorite among our NBA odds, but there are some other notable contenders.

Don’t sleep on Karl-Anthony Towns, who won this event two seasons ago and is shooting nearly 10% better than Lillard from the arc this season. Tyrese Haliburton is the hometown favorite and Trae Young is the field leader in 3-pointers.

Another name to watch out for is Malik Beasley, who is 7th in the NBA – tops among contest participants – in 3-point percentage (44.9).

Stephen vs Sabrina

The other 3-point contest pits perhaps the best shooter in NBA history against the best shooter in WNBA history. Ionescu challenged the Warriors great after she recorded an NBA/WNBA record 37 out of 40 points in the final round of her league’s event last season.

Curry re-upped the challenge a few weeks ago and it was on, giving this weekend an extra boost and another opportunity for those doing some online gambling. Go with Ionescu, who will be motivated to take down Curry on the NBA’s big stage.

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Dunk Contest

Since he broke out in a big way in November, Jaime Jaquez Jr. has been a rumored participant in this event, and he’s our favorite to wow the audience in the final event on Saturday night.

That doesn’t mean the others aren’t worthy. Jaylen Brown has attacked the rim with gusto this season, recording 58 dunks already (his career high is 63). Jacob Toppin, whose brother won it in 2022, has some mighty springs and some pedigree in his corner. And then there’s defending champ Mac McClung, a 6-2 G-Leaguer who figures to have plenty of fans backing him.

See what the odds give you on Jaquez, who has rocked the rim in Miami this season.

Feel the excitement! Check out NBA game odds and NBA lines now.

 

Questions of the Day

Is there another figure to watch out for in the 3-point contest?


Don’t sleep on Lauri Markkanen, who got to the finals in Utah last season.

Are there any other events on the All-Star calendar?


The weekend starts with a celebrity game and it also includes an HBCU contest on Saturday night and a G-League Next Up affair early on Sunday.

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