Find line reports, best bets, and subscribe to push notifications in the Betting News section.
Although it's been hit or miss over the last few years, there's no denying the Slam Dunk contest is the headliner of the pre-All-Star Game festivities. The 2020 rendition features four high-flying competitors, including 2008 winner Dwight Howard and 2016 runner-up Aaron Gordon.
Here's how this year's field stacks up:
|Derrick Jones Jr.||7-4|
It's no surprise to see Gordon lead the pack. His performance back in '16 likely wins every other year, but he lost in Toronto thanks to Zach LaVine's presence. This is just a glimpse at what we can expect from the Magic's fifth-year forward:
Whenever you have a participant in the dunk contest doing what Gordon did below in an actual game, how can that person not be the chalk to win the whole thing?
Derrick Jones Jr.'s been nothing more than a glue guy over his five years in the league - he's averaging a career-high 8.7 points per game with the Heat this season. But in the dunk contest, stats don't matter. Jones, an undrafted free agent out of UNLV, has a gaudy vertical leap and possesses this type of stuff in his arsenal:
Speaking of gaudy vertical leaps, Pat Connaughton recorded a 44-inch vertical during the NBA combine in 2015, the second-highest mark in the history of the combine. While fellow Bucks teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo is lauded for his effortless dunks, don't sleep on Connaughton.
It's been more than a decade since Howard donned a Superman cape en route to his dunk contest title. At 34 years of age, Howard's a lot less bouncy than he once was, but if he digs into his bag of tricks a la '08, who knows.
While I'm sure the narrow loss to LaVine four years ago still lingers in the back of Gordon's mind, his path to the 2020 title is just as difficult, with Jones being his biggest threat. Gordon undoubtedly has both the creativity and bounce to put on a show this weekend, but Jones is just as aesthetically pleasing and he displays similar high-flying ability. I'm staying away from the favorite and banking on the Heat forward's freakish athleticism.
Alex Kolodziej is a betting writer for theScore. He's a graduate of Eastern Illinois who has been involved in the sports betting industry for 12 years. He can quote every line from "Rounders" and appreciates franchises that regularly wear alternate jerseys. Find him on Twitter @AJKolodziej.