The NBA skills challenge might not be the flashiest event at the All-Star Game, but it has proved to be very profitable for bettors who like to wager on underdogs. We take a look at the odds to win the NBA skills challenge for this year's field and break down our betting picks for the 2020 event.
WHAT ARE THE RULES FOR THE TACO BELL SKILLS CHALLENGE?
The skills challenge features eight NBA players going through an obstacle course which tests their dribbling skills, passing ability, agility and shooting.
Two players face off next to each other on identical courses on the court. For the first leg, they run down the court while dribbling between five obstacles, before throwing a pass through a target. Then they turn around and dribble back the full length of the court for a lay up. Then they head back up the court before hitting a 3-pointer from the top of the key. The first player to sink his shot from beyond the arc wins.
It's a single elimination format with three rounds and the brackets won't be chosen until Saturday.
ODDS TO WIN NBA SKILLS CHALLENGE
|Spencer Dinwiddie||Brooklyn Nets||+350|
|Khris Middleton||Milwaukee Bucks||+410|
|Shai Gilgeous-Alexander||Oklahoma City Thunder||+460|
|Jayson Tatum||Boston Celtics||+550|
|Pascal Siakam||Toronto Raptors||+550|
|Domantis Sabonis||Indiana Pacers||+850|
|Patrick Beverley||Los Angeles Clippers||+900|
|Bam Adebayo||Miami Heat||+1,200|
NBA SKILLS CHALLENGE BETTING PREDICTION
This year's event features three former winners: Patrick Beverley (2015), Spencer Dinwiddie (2018) and Jayson Tatum (2019). While Dinwiddie has the best odds to win at +350, if recent history is any indication this is one contest where underdogs have a good chance of coming out on top.
Since the event started including big men in 2016, two players have won with the worst odds (Dinwiddie and Karl-Anthony Towns) while another took home the title with the second-worst odds (Kristaps Porzingis in 2016). Last year, Tatum won with the fifth-best odds at +600.
That said, we're not taking the player with the worst odds this year. Adebayo is having a terrific season but he's only connected on one 3-point shot all year (on 11 attempts), so the final step in this event could prove to be a challenge.
We like the +550 payout for Tatum to repeat, but our money is on the player tied with Tatum in the odds department: Raptors forward Pascal Siakam. Siakam is quicker and has better handles than many give him credit for, and he's really improved his shot from beyond the arc this season (connecting on more than two 3-point shots per game at a clip of 36 percent).
Siakam also seems to play at his best when the pressure is on, so expect him to thrive under the spotlight in Chicago this weekend. We're betting on the Raptors' big man.