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Chris Paul & Trae Young Co-Favorites in Opening Odds to Win NBA HORSE Challenge

Sam Cox

by Sam Cox in NBA Basketball

Apr 9, 2020 · 11:56 AM PDT

Trae Young
Trae Young has opened as one of the favorites in the HORSE Challenge. (Photo by Peter Joneleit/Icon Sportswire)
  • Trae Young and Chris Paul have opened as favorites for the NBA’s HORSE Challenge
  • Zach LaVine follows the two point guards in the odds ahead of Mike Conley to round out the current NBAers in the contest 
  • See the full field of odds for the best contestant to bet on

The NBA promised big names for its HORSE challenge and they have delivered. Trae Young and Chris Paul, who were both All-Stars this season, lead the odds to win the competition ahead of Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine.

WNBA standouts Allie Quigley and Tamika Catchings join the field alongside retirees Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce.

The eight contestants have been split into two groups of four, with the quarterfinals taking place on Sunday April 12th. The semifinals and  final will happen on Thursday April 16th.

NBA HORSE Challenge Odds

Player Odds
Trae Young +300
Chris Paul +300
Zach LaVine +350
Mike Conley +450
Paul Pierce +750
Chauncey Billups +800
Allie Quigley +1000
Tamika Catchings +1200

Odds taken Apr. 9th

Active Players Favored

The four active NBA players are favored in the betting, and having been in the midst of an NBA season until just a few weeks ago, that’s perhaps understandable. Mike Conley, Paul, LaVine and Young were all well in the rhythm of basketball not so long ago, getting up shots every day.

Prior to the details of the HORSE challenge being announced, the players 6’6 and under looked the best to back. With Paul and Young confirmed as entrants, the smaller players remain favored.

It’s very hard to evaluate if the active quartet should be favored. Perhaps a physical advantage will show up at some point, but with hundreds of thousands watching, dealing with pressure could prove to be important. Thriving in high-profile situations isn’t a skill that will wane, which might suggest Paul, Young, LaVine and Conley have only a limited advantage.

That said, as Young as already expressed, LaVine’s dunking ability might be important.

Quigley Is Good Value

Allie Quigley is one of the best shooters in WNBA history, shooting a smidgen under 40% from deep for her career. An All-Star in the last three seasons, Quigley has shot over 40% from three in each campaign on over five three-point attempts per contest.

Priced at +1200 to Quigley’s +1000, Tamika Catchings doesn’t have the same reputation as a shooter, despite being named an All-Star in 11 different seasons. Catchings shot under three threes per game for her final three WNBA seasons, and last shot over 37% from deep for a season in 2012.

Of the two, Quigley’s price looks by far the better of the too. Catchings has the experience, but Quigley’s track record as a shooter takes much greater importance here. With the two at relatively similar prices, Quigley is the one to back. It’s a surprise to see a shooter of her pedigree at such a long price.

Billups, Pierce Worth Backing?

A nickname of ‘Mr. Big Shot’ is particularly appropriate for an internationally watched HORSE tournament. Billups had a reputation as one of the league’s most clutch shooters, and Paul Pierce was hardly afraid of the big occasion either.

The pair have continued to be in the limelight since stepping off the hardwood too, regularly featuring on talk shows and game broadcasts. Comfortable in front of the camera and with making pressure shots, plenty of bettors will be interested in Billups and Pierce at +800 and +750.

Practice is the great unknown for this duo. We don’t know how much basketball they have been playing or how many shots they will get up before Sunday’s quarter-finals. Even for two future Hall of Famers, the rust will build up.

Picking the Winner

There’s obviously no sure thing here. The current NBA players will all be favored in the first-round matchups, but there’s a decent chance of an upset or two. Value lies with Quigley, Billups and Pierce rather than Paul, LaVine and Young.

Conley’s struggles for the Jazz make him a hard man to back. Paul, LaVine and Young would need longer odds to be worth backing.

Quigley’s price is the pick of the market despite a quarter-final clash with Paul.

Pick: Allie Quigley (+1000)

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