Public Making Wrong 2023 NBA All-Star Bets, Here Are Right Ones

PSA: Don't just bet on the favorite


Feb 18, 2023

It appears as though 2023 NBA All-Star weekend has provided a classic case of donkey brains for sports bettors.

Sure, that’s a tad harsh for describing a series of literal exhibition events, but folks are just giving away money with their betting decisions this season.

Let us explain.

DraftKings Sportsbook and BetMGM each released insights into All-Star Saturday night, showcasing the percentage of bets they received on each participant in both the AT&T Slam Dunk Contest and Starry 3-Point Contest. A common theme? The public just keeps betting on the favorites.

Below is a list of dunk contest odds, courtesy of both DraftKings and BetMGM.

AT&T Slam Dunk Contest
Mac McClung: +125 DraftKings; +120 BetMGM
Jericho Sims: +240; +300
Kenyon Martin Jr.: +250; +300
Trey Murphy III: +330; +400

Mac McClung enters as the clear favorite, despite not being a member of an active NBA roster. That seems to be good enough for bettors, as they’ve placed 40% (BetMGM) and 48% (DraftKings) of tickets on him to win the event, which account for 61% (BetMGM) and 71% (DraftKings) of the total money at each sportsbook.

That’s basically playing directly into the book’s hand. While none of the participants in this particular event are well known by casual NBA fans, it only makes sense to take one of the more established players at a better number over McClung. Kenyon Martin Jr. has the pedigree and a similar amount of hype to live up to. Why not take him to maximize return?

Pick: Kenyon Martin Jr. +250

Below is a list of 3-point contest odds, courtesy of both DraftKings and BetMGM.

Starry 3-Point Contest
Damian Lillard: +400 DraftKings; +400 BetMGM
Buddy Hield: +400; +400
Kevin Huerter: +550; +550
Tyler Herro: +550; +550
Jayson Tatum: +550; +550
Tyrese Haliburton: +600; +600
Lauri Markkanen: +650; +650
Julius Randle: +750; +750

Can you guess who the betting public like in this contest? That’s right, Lillard — the favorite — has commanded the highest ticket and handle percentage at both BetMGM (27% ticket; 29% handle) and DraftKings (24% 28%). This strategy even has a history of not working as Karl Anthony-Towns took home the trophy last year despite having the worst odds to do so entering the contest. It makes much more sense riding with a pure shooter in this contest.

Pick: Kevin Huerter +550

Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images

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