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NBA All-Star Weekend: Skills Challenge Odds and Picks

The 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend is here. JohnnyCovers breaks down one of the more underrated events, the Taco Bell Skills Challenge. He explains the new format and gives his best bet. 
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NBA All-Star Weekend: Skills Challenge Odds and Picks

The 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend is officially upon us, with this year’s festivities going off in Cleveland, Ohio. Before the game itself tips off on Sunday night, the Slam Dunk, Three-Point, and Skills Contest are scheduled to go off on Saturday evening; none of which should disappoint. 

Let’s take a look at one of the more underrated events, the skills contest, and break down its new format and teams involved. 

Three unique teams will face off in the skills competition this year in a brand new format, as Team Rookies -125 (Scottie Barnes, Cade Cunningham, and Josh Giddey), Team Cavs +200 (Darius Garland, Jarrett Allen, and Evan Mobley), and Team Antetokounmpo +320 (Giannis, Kostas, and Thanasis) will go at it in a variety of events. After the initial round, the top two will advance to a final round event. 

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NBA All-Star Weekend Taco Bell Skills Challenge

First up, is the shoot-around, where players will shoot from five different spots from 10 feet away from all the way to the three-point line. The only caveat is the players can't shoot the same shot twice, and the winning team will earn 100 points

Next up, players have 30 seconds to pass the basketball into moving targets, with different values assigned to each difficulty. Like the first round, the winning team will win 100 points. 

The third round features a relay course that each player must complete. The course involves dribbling, passing, field goal, and three-pointer against a defender, as well as sprinting down the court for a layup. 200 points will be assigned to the winner. 

Lastly, the two top teams will face off to see who can make a half-court shot first, with the winner taking the trophy. 

As far as handicapping this event, I first am ruling out the Antetokounmpo brothers who, outside of Giannis, don’t play in the NBA and instead play professionally in Greece. With that, just Team Rookies and Team Cavs remain and on a stage like this and in front of their home fans, I have to go to the Cavaliers. 

Having not played since Tuesday, all three Cavaliers come into this one well-rested and have the chemistry needed for these types of events already built-in. With Garland averaging 8 assists per game, he should be able to cover all their passing needs in this competition. As for Allen and Mobley, a 67% and 50% FG%, respectively, should rank among the highest on a Cavaliers team who heading into the break finds itself sitting tied for the #3 spot in the Eastern Conference. 

Skills Challenge Pick

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Johnny has been covering the sports betting markets and handicapping games for the better part of the past decade. Along the way, he has written for publications such as All-In Magazine, Blitz Predict, FantasyPros, Betting Pros, Sportsbook Review, and most recently, OddsChecker. In addition to giving out picks on Twitter, Johnny is the host of the podcast The Daily Sports Bet -- a 10 minute or less listen with actionable insights and no fluff or BS. Starting the podcast in June, he closed out 2021 up 26 units with a winning percentage of 55%.


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