NBA All Star Saturday often steals the show when the league's elite players get together to show off their talents. That could again be the case this year for 2022 NBA All-Star Weekend at Cleveland's Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The 2022 NBA All-Star Game is Sunday at 8 p.m. ET, but Saturday night really puts the skills in the spotlight. The 2022 Taco Bell NBA All-Star Skills Challenge will get things started at 8 p.m ET on 2022 All-Star Saturday, with three three-man teams competing for the title. The teams will go through shooting and passing contests before a team relay that includes five events. The top two teams will take shots from half-court to determine the winner. The Taco Bell Skills Challenge will be followed by the Mtn Dew 3-Point Contest and the AT&T Slam-Dunk Contest.
The team featuring Cavaliers stars Darius Garland, Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen will be the hometown favorites. However, Caesars Sportsbook has listed Team Rookies (Cade Cunningham, Scottie Barnes and Josh Giddey) as the -150 favorite (risk $150 to win $100) in its latest 2022 NBA Skills Challenge odds. Team Cavs is listed at +220, while Team Antetokounmpo -- made up of brothers Giannis, Thanasis and Alex -- is priced at +350. Before locking in any 2022 NBA Skills Challenge picks, be sure to check the NBA All-Star Weekend predictions and betting advice from SportsLine NBA guru Mike Barner.
Barner is one of the most respected voices in the industry, and his work has appeared in Sports Illustrated and on Yahoo, RotoWire and KFFL. He's also been featured on ESPN Radio. He digs deep into the data, examining team trends and projecting game outcomes. If there's anybody who can spot an edge in a matchup or identify a player in position to break out, it's him.
Barner's expertise has been on full display lately. He is on an amazing 85-67-2 run with his last 155 against-the-spread picks, returning $1,125 to $100 players.
Now, Barner has analyzed the NBA Skills Challenge 2022 from all angles and just locked in his coveted picks and All-Star Weekend predictions. You can only see his NBA Skills Challenge picks at SportsLine.
2022 NBA Skills Challenge Predictions
One surprise: Barner is fading Team Rookies, with their price offering little in the way of value and the competition hinging on a half-court shot. The Skills Challenge will test passing, dribbling and shooting, and while the rookies should be the favorites here, they aren't superior players in any areas. The atmosphere of All-Star Weekend and the familiarity the other teams have on their sides also need to be taken into account. The inexperienced rookies haven't seen a boisterous atmosphere like they'll see Saturday, and they could be distracted.
The Antetokounmpos obviously know each other well, and the Cavs players have been together all season, so the rookies are at a disadvantage. Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo both play for the Bucks (Alex is in the G League), so both of the other teams could have had cram sessions together before Saturday. Barnes is a 47-percent shooter, but his strength is shorter shots, while Cunningham is the best 3-point shooter at 32.7. Cunningham and Giddey both average more than 3.5 turnovers per game, so these three are far from polished players.
How to make 2022 NBA Skills Challenge picks
Both of the other teams should have some cohesion, with one a trio of brothers and the other a group of teammates. But Barner has found one critical x-factor that makes one of these teams a must-back Saturday night. See who it is over at SportsLine.
Who wins the NBA Skills Challenge 2022? And which critical x-factor do you need to know about? Visit SportsLine now to get Mike Barner's pick for the NBA Skill Challenge, all from the expert who has crushed his NBA picks, and find out.
2022 NBA Skills Challenge odds, teams
Team Rookies -150
Team Cavs +250
Team Antetokounmpo +400