NBA All-Star weekend has arrived, and a record amount of bets are expected to be placed on the All-Star Game and the many events leading up to it. One of the marquee events is the Starry 3-Point Contest on Saturday night at 8:00 p.m. ET (TNT), and it’s sure to be one of the main betting attractions of the weekend. Let’s break down the eight sharpshooters selected to participate in the competition before going over the odds and best bets to win.
It’s the era of the deep ball, so of course the NBA has no shortage of players to invite to the preeminent long-distance shooting competition. MVP candidates Jayson Tatum and Damian Lillard and Most Improved hopefuls Tyrese Haliburton and Lauri Markkanen highlight the field. Julius Randle, an All-Star alongside the aforementioned four, replaces injured Blazers guard Anfernee Simons for the eighth and final spot.
For those looking to make Saturday night’s 3-point contest a bit more exciting, we’ve highlighted a few players we think could win the event for our best bets. First, let’s have a look at the odds.
NBA 3-Point Contest Odds 2023
Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook
|Damian Lillard, Blazers||+425|
|Buddy Hield, Pacers||+425|
|Jayson Tatum, Celtics||+500|
|Kevin Huerter, Kings||+550|
|Tyler Herro, Heat||+550|
|Tyrese Haliburton, Pacers||+600|
|Julius Randle, Knicks||+650|
|Lauri Markkanen, Jazz||+700|
The odds for the 3-Point Contest always seem to be pretty tight, but this year feels closer than ever. The 2020 3-Point champion, Hield, leads the NBA with 230 three-pointers this season, 34 more than Simons at No. 2. Lillard, who has been sizzling hot since the calendar flipped, ranks fourth with 191 total made triples and sits second behind just Klay Thompson with 4.15 treys per game. Hield and Lillard are tied as +425 favorites.
Buddy Hield is your 2020 Three-Point Contest champion! 👏🏆 pic.twitter.com/y1tzx1kd38
— ClutchPoints NBA (@ClutchPointsNBA) February 16, 2020
Coming in third in the odds is MVP candidate Tatum (+500), who ranks sixth in threes per game (3.33) as well as total treys (183). Tatum is shooting 35.7 percent from deep on the season, but he has been scintillating so far in February. His long-distance percentage through seven games in the month of love is 40.6 percent. As Celtics fans remember, JT placed third in the contest two years ago.
Here’s Jayson Tatum at the 2021 NBA 3-Point Contest pic.twitter.com/eGpubMgJPr
— Cameron Tabatabaie (@CTabatabaie) February 14, 2023
Tatum comes in just ahead of Huerter, who has maintained a 39.2-percent clip from beyond the arc this season. The red-headed flamethrower owns the same +550 odds as Herro, a career 38.1-percent shooter from long range. Haliburton, a first-time All-Star, joins the fray with his unique but effective set shot at +600. Randle (+650) serves as the last-second replacement for Simons, joining Markkanen (+700) as the big men of the competition.
Tyrese Haliburton knocks down the CLUTCH 3 to give the @Pacers a 6 point lead late in OT!
1 minute remaining on NBA League Pass: https://t.co/oz9UCQxdQa pic.twitter.com/SmH6Etuict
— NBA (@NBA) March 3, 2022
Before we get into our best bets, let’s talk about our biggest fades. Often, in order for us to pinpoint a potential winner, we must first cycle through the players we least expect to prevail — a process of elimination, if you will.
We can immediately cross Markkanen and Randle off the list. While Markkanen will have home-court advantage in Utah, he’s more of a catch-and-shoot guy, with 2.8 of his 3.0 triples per game coming off assists or long rebounds. Randle just stinks this year, with just a 33.8-percent mark from deep, making him the Antoine Walker of this contest. Haliburton has much too long of a set-and-release, plus he’s just 22 and kids don’t usually win this marquee event. Lastly, we don’t like Huerter, as he’s shooting just 28.6 percent from distance this month and the center-stage moment might be too big for him.
That leaves us with four contenders to sort through, so let’s break it down. Before we get into our best bets, make sure you’re shopping around the various legal sportsbooks in your state to find the best possible odds on the participants you want to bet on. Relative to betting on a regular-season game, the 3-Point Contest odds have been known to fluctuate from book to book, so getting the highest potential return on your wager is all the more important.
2023 NBA 3-Point Contest Best Bets
Damian Lillard (+425)
It’s hard to pick anyone over Hield, the field’s only prior 3-Point champion, but we give the slight edge to Big Game Dame for a few different reasons:
- He’s hotter than fish grease (as Mark Jones would say). Since December, Lillard has converted 154-of-402 three-point attempts (38.3%). His points per game this month: 36.1.
- He’s less of a catch-and-shoot guy than Hield. While 93.3 percent of Buddy’s triples this season have been of the catch-and-shoot variety, only 33.3 percent of Dame’s triples have been. Diving deeper, 87.8 percent of Hield’s triples have been assisted, compared to only 52.9 percent of Lillard’s.
- Like Hield, Lillard has been there before. He finished third in the 3-Point Contest in 2014 and held his own in the Joe Harris vs. Steph Curry pre-COVID juggernaut in 2019. This seems like a great opportunity for Dame Dolla to add to his awards list, which includes two Player of the Week selections this calendar year.
- He’s got the best range of any participant, which will come in handy with the ‘Starry’ white basketballs set out in the 27-30 foot wing areas. If Steph Curry never existed, we would call that “Lillard territory.”
- He’s clutch. They don’t call it “Dame Time” for no reason. More often than not, this contest is won by star veterans who have the clutch gene. Lillard checks all those boxes.
Buddy Hield (+450)
We’d be remiss if we didn’t at least include Hield in the “best bets” section, even if we might not put our money on him this time around.
Hield has all kinds of three-point honors, having hit the most three-point field goals over the past five years and earlier this season becoming the second-fastest player to reach 1,500 treys (Steph Curry, as you might have guessed, was first). He also broke the record for fastest three-point bucket in a game, when he knocked down a triple with just three seconds off the game clock in late December.
There’s seemingly nothing the Bahamian can’t do as a shooter, including win the 3-Point Contest. He chose not to defend his 2020 championship a year later due to COVID concerns and mask policies, but he’s back and ready to make some noise again this weekend.
Jayson Tatum (+500)
A lot of pundits — including the Boston media — have slammed Tatum as a “horrendously bad bet” to win the 3-Point Contest. He had the worst current three-point percentage of any 2023 contestant prior to Randle joining the field, and his hoist arguably ranks as the second-most deliberate of the bunch. Still, Tatum seems to have gotten hot at just the right time, shooting 40.6 percent from deep in February and knocking down 26 triples in just seven games.
JT put on a show when he last competed in 2021, finishing third after getting hot in the second round, but the victor that year was none other than shooting GOAT Steph Curry, who edged out runner-up Mike Conley by one shot to take down his second-career 3-Point Contest trophy. Tatum won’t be a popular bet, but that’s exactly why I might put a little on him if I can find him at +550 or +600. If he wins, the Celtics would break the record for most three-point contest champions with five.
Tyler Herro (+550)
If you prefer better payouts and can’t find Tatum at better than +500, consider Herro at +550. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year, Herro has the clutch gene, the quick release, and the pure shooting stroke to take down this contest at the tender age of 23. He’s shooting 36.9 percent from deep so far this season, and remarkably he shoots even better on the road (37.5%) than he does at home (36.1%). That’s cold-blooded, a trait that will be needed to take down a contest featuring Utah’s Markkanen in front of a raucous Salt Lake City fanbase. At this point, we’re never surprised by anything this flamethrower does with a basketball, so don’t be shocked if he brings Miami its record fifth 3-Point Contest trophy.
OUR PICK: Damian Lillard (+425)