Due to the impacts of COVID-19 around the world, sports leagues and sports betting platforms are coming up with creative ways to entertain us and allow us to cash in. This coming Sunday, April 12th, the NBA is putting on a H-O-R-S-E Challenge
The initial details have included a combination of current and former NBA stars, with the addition of a WNBA legned Tamika Catchings and WNBA All-star Allie Quigley. Online Sportsbooks like BetOnline, have released the initial odds leading up to the event.
The format will go like this, Chris Paul will square off with the WNBA all-star Allie Quigley with Trae Young facing off with former NBA Final MVP Chauncey "Mr. Big Shot" Billups. With COVID-19 still looming around the world, seems finalizing the 2019-2020 season seems to be slipping away.
Below we'll share the structure of the event , the schedule, matchups, and the betting odds for the full event and each round.
Event Setup & Viewing Schedule
The NBA H-O-R-S-E Challenge will begin this Sunday, April 12th, starting at 7PM EST and it will be aired on ESPN. There will be a total of eight NBA, WNBA and former players with four matchups kicking off on the first day.
Each of the players will be separated into two groups of four, with the winners of the first two games in each group meeting in the semifinals. The semifinals and championship round will air on ESPN on Thursday, April 16th, starting at 9PM EST.
Below is the first day viewing schedule:
Players will start off with a coin toss to decide who starts off each matchup. The more tenured player will be the one allowed to make the call of heads or tails. Each player will have to call out their shot before they make their attempt. Examples would be calling out a reverse layup or a bankshot.
Zach LaVine is seemingly is the only player with the added advantage of being able to dunk the ball really well. So dunking is not allowed for this event and the first player who unsuccessfully spells out H-O-R-S-E is eliminated.
Odds By Each Matchup
BetOnline has released betting odds for each of the matchups in the first round which kicks off Trae Young and Chauncey Billups. Mike Conley, Jr. comes in as the largest favorite over Tamika Catchings (-500 for MIke vs. +300 for Tamika)
What Exactly is H-O-R-S-E?
Have you ever play the game "Simon Says?" During Simon Says, the leader tells you to do something. HORSE is like Simon Says, but with a basketball. In HORSE, you use your imagination to create crazy shots.
to begin the game, pick a player to go first. That player gets to do anything they want before shooting. If they want to spin around 5 times and then hop up and down before shooting. They own and make the rules for their shot attempt.
If they hit their shot, the players have to do the exact same thing. But if they miss, the next player gets to make up their own wacky shot for the other to try. Any player that can't make the first person's shot gets the letter H. Everyone keeps playing the game and making up crazy shots until someone misses enough times to spell out the word HORSE. They player who does not spell HORSE is the winner.
How to Handicap This Event?
First, you don't have to look at your wagers for this event like a normal or regulated NBA game. There's not shot clock, no motivation from crowd noise or a defender each player has to deal with. So you need to focus on the skillset of each player.
The WNBA Hall of Famer Tamika Catchings is a 41.5% overall field goal shooter and a 35.5% three-point shooter. Not sure how much she has stayed in the gym post-retirement, but how well she shoots could be impacted.
She'll be squaring off against Mike Conley, Jr. who is a 44% field goal shoot overall and a 37.5% three-point shooter. This should be a piece of your handicapping but don't rely on it fully.
Players like Chauncey Billups, Paul Pierce, and Trae Young are shooters. They are my leading favorites to win this event. The other big factor to all of this is how consistent the former players have staying in the gym working out and shooting.
Adding the stats to back it up, I have a gut instinct that Chauncey Billups is my pick to win the overall event. I like Trae Young, Tamika Catchings, Zach LaVine, and Chris Paul to all advance to the next round.
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