- Bovada favors Dallas Mavericks rookie Luka Doncic to win the 2019 NBA Skills Challenge
- Two of the last three winners of the event were foreign players
- No Dallas player has ever won the competition
The sensational rookie season of Dallas Mavericks guard forward Luka Doncic surprisingly did not include selection to play in the NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, but Doncic will be part of NBA All-Star Weekend nonetheless. The Slovenian sensation, who has the shortest odds to win NBA Rookie of the Year honors, was one of eight players selected to participate in the NBA Skills Challenge.
competitors for the 2019 NBA Skills Challenge pic.twitter.com/RdA4bTleNL
— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) February 6, 2019
Is luck going to be on Luka’s side? That’s the way Bovada sees things playing out during the event. Doncic is the betting favorite in the NBA Skills Challenge.
2019 NBA Skills Challenge Odds
|Player||Odds to Win 2019 NBA Skills Challenge at Bovada (02/06/19)||Odds to Win 2019 NBA Skills Challenge at BetOnline (02/07/19)|
No Dallas player has ever won the NBA Skills Challenge. The newest member of the Mavericks, Kristaps Porzingis, acquired January 31st from the New York Knicks, did win the competition in 2016-17 while with New York.
It Can Come Down to the Luck of the Draw
Players go head-to-head in knockout competitions leading to the final pairing, so much like a tennis tournament, who you draw can impact how far you go.
NBA All-Star Skills Challenge participants pic.twitter.com/GkJJoBXZGi
— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) February 6, 2019
Up against the raw sexiness of the Slam Dunk contest and the silky smoothness of the Three Point competition, the Skills Challenge often plays the role of the ugly stepsister of NBA All-Star Weekend, but don’t let that impact your wagering thoughts. There’s money to be made here.
One element that makes this event so fascinating is that it encompasses players from all walks of NBA life – bigs, small forwards, point guards – you name it, you’ll see them in action.
Wagering Patterns to Be Observed
Much to President Donald Trump’s chagrin, this event has been won in two of the last three years and five times in 16 seasons by foreign players. If only they had to go over a wall as part of the course, things might be different.
He really is a unicorn. 🦄
Kristaps Porzingis wins the 2017 NBA Skills Challenge. pic.twitter.com/5MEaJbZJam
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) February 19, 2017
Last year, Spencer Dinwiddie of the Brooklyn Nets ended a two-year run by foreign players and he was also the first backcourt player to win the event since Patrick Beverley of the Houston Rockets in 2014-15.
What’s the Key to Success?
The Skills Challenge course starts off with the basketball slalom, followed by the layup and the sprint. The next two steps – the pass to the net and the three-point shot – are usually what separate the men from the boys.
Reigning 3-time NBA Rookie of the Month @luka7doncic will display his array of talents in the 2019 All-Star Skills Challenge on Saturday, Feb. 16. The Skills Challenge is part of All-Star Saturday Night, which will air on TNT and ESPN Radio at 8 p.m. ET #BDAFamily #NBAAllStar pic.twitter.com/FHdYyOMD4M
— BDA Sports (@BDA_Sports) February 6, 2019
As much as we like Doncic, the bigs have come up big so frequently in this event we’re leaning that way with our pick to win the NBA Skills Challenge.
A joke from Nikola Vucevic late in this quote: "I did ask the NBA if I could do the Skills Challenge, so I don't know what's going to happen with that. I think that would be fun. Obviously, I'd try the dunk contest but I have a little bit of soreness, so I don't want to do that."
— Josh Robbins (@JoshuaBRobbins) February 1, 2019
Like Porzingis and Karl-Anthony Towns, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic is a seven footer. And his 38.6% success rate at three-point range from above the break is the best of anyone in the NBA Skills Challenge.
Play the longshot. Make yourself some money.
Our 2019 NBA All-Star Weekend Props Coverage: