With the sports betting world looking for some type of action, you have to give the NBA credit for trying something out of the box. Last weekend they held an NBA 2K tournament. This weekend, the NBA is putting together a H.O.R.S.E. challenge.
For those who don't know what H.O.R.S.E. is, it's an old basketball game where players attempt a number of different shots to see who can eliminate who while going through the letters H.O.R.S.E. Every time someone misses a shot the other person made, they get one of those five letters. The first person to have all five letters in H.O.R.S.E. loses.
The competition will include eight basketball players, including four current NBA stars: Trae Young, Mike Conley, Zach LaVine, and Chris Paul. Former NBA players Chauncey Billups and Paul Pierce join former WNBA star Tamika Catchings and current Chicago Sky guard Allie Quigley to fill out the other four spots in the competition. The tournament will start on Sunday night with four matchups.
Group 1 Matchup 1: Trae Young vs. Chauncey Billups
Trae Young comes into this competition as a +300 favorite along with Chris Paul. Young should do very well in this competition. He has the shooting range and ball-handling skills to make things very difficult on his opponents. Chauncey Billups, a.k.a. Mr. Big Shot, comes in with +800 betting odds. Billups was also known for his ability as a shooter, but I think the matchup versus the highly skilled Young will be too much for him to get past.
Group 1 Matchup 1: Tamika Catchings vs. Mike Conley Jr.
This is where I think things can get interesting, Catchings is a retired 10-time WNBA All-Star. In her playing days, she had the ability to score from all over the court, near or far. In 2010, Catchings shot 44% from three. She will be a very tough out for Mike Conley. Conley's first season with the Utah Jazz has not been going as well as expected. He has been dealing with an injury and inconsistent play. Conley has the skills to compete deep into this tournament, but I think Catchings can pull off the upset here.
Group 2 Matchup 1: Zach LaVine vs. Paul Pierce
I think this matchup could go one of two ways. LaVine, who will not be able to dunk, is so athletic around the rim that he could make quick work of the retired Paul Pierce. On the other hand, Pierce is a very crafty hooper. If he gets ahead and puts LaVine in a position to chase him, he could pull off the upset. Ultimately, I think LaVine, who is +350 to win the whole thing, will survive a tough battle from Pierce.
Group 2 Matchup 2: Chris Paul vs. Allie Quigley
Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul is made for a competition like this. Not only is he skilled, but he is very crafty and competitive. Paul is likely in his backyard practicing right now. Paul is also very smart and will have a lot of tricks up his sleeve. Allie Quigley is a three-time WNBA All-Star. She is a player that can get hot from three—she has won the WNBA three-point shootout twice. I think Quigley can push Paul, but he will find a way to advance.
The final round of this competition will be played next Thursday. I'm banking on the matchup being Paul vs. Young after Paul eliminates LaVine. Everyone is going to be rooting for Young to win, but my money will be on the crafty veteran.
The Play: Chris Paul (+300)
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