All-Star Slam Dunk Contest: Revenge Of The Smith

Thursday, February 14, 2019 6:40 PM UTC

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2019 6:40 PM UTC

Anyone can win the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest, but experience gives Dennis Smith Jr. the inside track for our NBA picks for Saturday's event in Charlotte.

Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record: 12-10 ATS, 0-1 ML (minus-1.15 units), 16-7 Totals

2019 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk ContestCharlotte, Saturday, 8 p.m. ET (TNT)Free NBA Pick: Dennis Smith Jr.Best Line Offered: Bovada

Get up for the downstroke! The 2019 NBA Slam Dunk Contest is Saturday, sometime after 8 p.m. Eastern – it’s the third event of the All-Star Saturday Night lineup, and usually the most interesting of the bunch. Four dunkmeisters will try to impress the panel of five judges, who will rank their efforts on a scale of 6 to 10. Each participant gets two dunks in the first round; the two with the highest combined score will go head-to-head in the final round, and throw it down twice more to see who rules and who drools.

Here are this year’s hopefuls, along with their NBA odds at Bovada as we go to press:

  • Knicks' Dennis Smith Jr. +150
  • Hornets' Miles Bridges +250
  • Hawks' John Collins +250
  • Thunder's Hamidou Diallo +325

Not much separation among the four. But we’re putting the Knicks' Smith in our NBA picks for a couple of reasons. One, he’s been here before; Smith placed third in last year’s event, although he did score a 50 on one of his two dunks. Two, he’s already at the top of the odds list, and the Slam Dunk contest is all about aesthetics, so we’re going with the “wisdom of the crowd” here.

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What’s YOUR favorite Slam Dunk contest?
3x #NBAAllStar #KembaWalker talks about his.

Find out who will be part of this year’s #StateFarmSaturday Night TONIGHT on TNT!

— 2019 NBA All-Star (@NBAAllStar) February 5, 2019

I Could Dunk It With My Nose

So let’s take a closer look at Smith’s dunkage. Man’s got hops:

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Smith clears most of the checkboxes for a slam artiste. Athleticism? Check. Violence? Check. Degree of difficulty? Check – Smith isn’t exactly Spud Webb or Nate Robinson at 6-foot-3, but he’s short enough to make his dunks more visually appealing with his ridiculous vertical. We’ll buy that for a dollar.

But only a dollar. Because this is a judged contest, and not a meritocracy, there’s no point unloading your wallet and/or purse betting on the winner – and we assume there will already be a fairly small maximum bet in place at the sportsbook of your choice. The judges for this event can be fickle, very fickle indeed. Here’s the video evidence from last year:

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Smith only got a 39 for that first dunk, and ended up finishing third behind eventual winner Donovan Mitchell and Larry Nance Jr. Boo! There’s a silver lining, though: Whatever dunks Smith had cooked up for the final round are still available for Saturday’s contest. And he’s probably been stewing all year, too, honing his craft and waiting patiently to extract his revenge. At the same time, maybe Smith will get a little more love from the judges this time around. Bet accordingly, and may the sphere be with you.

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