Three-Point Contest best bet: 1 player checks all the winning boxes
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Wagering on the NBA Three-Point Contest has been a boon for long-shot bettors in recent years. Since the field expanded to eight players in 2014, the favorite has won just once (2015), and the average winner has been given roughly +550 odds.

But with so many candidates, it can be daunting to find the big winner. Fear not: We've done all the work for you, analyzing data from the past 10 years to uncover this year's champion.

Below are the odds for each 2020 contestant with a breakdown of the field, past winners, and our favorite bet.

Player Odds
Duncan Robinson +375
Trae Young +400
Davis Bertans +450
Joe Harris +450
Devin Booker +550
Buddy Hield +550
Zach LaVine +1000
Devonte' Graham +1100

Who's in the field?

The flashy headliner this year is All-Star Trae Young, but the betting favorite is sophomore Duncan Robinson, who currently leads the field with a 43.8% mark from three this season. Returning are a pair of past champions in Joe Harris (2019) and Devin Booker (2018), while Buddy Hield is back after reaching the final of the competition a year ago.

Here are regular-season stats for all eight players:

PLAYER 3PT/G 3PT%
Duncan Robinson 3.5 43.8
Davis Bertans 3.5 42.4
Joe Harris 2.4 40.8
Buddy Hield 3.8 38.5
Zach LaVine 3.1 38.5
Devonte' Graham 3.5 37.4
Trae Young 3.5 36.9
Devin Booker 1.9 35.8

While helpful at a glance, basic counting stats rarely foretell a winner. Since 2010, only one champion led the field in 3-pointers per game (2015) and just two led the field in 3-point percentage (2014, 2019). Instead, it helps to find stats that more closely simulate a contest like this one.

Davis Bertans (3.2) and Robinson (3.2) rank first and second in the NBA in made threes taken within two seconds of receiving the ball. On those shots, Robinson ranks second in efficiency (44.3%) among all players with at least five attempts per game; Bertans ranks fourth (43.3%).

Bertans (3.0) and Robinson (2.9) have also made the most catch-and-shoot threes per game in the NBA. Young has the best percentage (47.6%) on those shots, but Robinson (44.4%) and Bertans (43.4%) are close behind.

An interesting note: This year's contest will introduce a new wrinkle, with two 30-foot shots being worth three points apiece. That should benefit Young, right? Not so fast. Bertans has gone a blistering 14-of-20 (70%) from 30 feet and beyond this season. The only other player above 50% is Harris, who's 1-for-1 from that range.

Who looks like a winner?

We tracked the stats and player profiles of every contestant from the past 10 years to see if there were any trends that could guide this year's field. First, here are the previous champions along with the per-game stats from their winning season:

Year Player Odds 3PT/G 3PT%
2019 Joe Harris +600 2.4 47.4
2018 Devin Booker +600 2.7 38.3
2017 Eric Gordon +600 3.3 37.2
2016 Klay Thompson +400 3.5 42.5
2015 Stephen Curry +325 3.6 44.3
2014 Marco Belinelli +800 1.6 43
2013 Kyrie Irving +400 1.8 39.1
2012 Kevin Love +500 1.9 37.2
2011 James Jones +300 1.5 42.9
2010 Paul Pierce +400 1.5 41.4

Let's do some process of elimination, shall we?

First, the killer: Former contest champions have gone 0-for-16 in the past 10 years, and many of those attempts to win again haven't come close. Sorry, Harris and Booker. You've had your fun.

Five of the 10 previous champions were All-Stars on the same weekend, but all 10 of them shot at least 37% from three during the regular season. Maybe Young should stick to the All-Star Game this year.

This has been an award for long shots, but not nobodies - seven of the last eight winners averaged at least 13 points per game, which is bad news for Robinson. He'd also be just the second favorite to win in the past 10 years, which makes him unpalatable at a short price.

Think you can find sneaky value on the hometown favorite at 10-1? Well, a player from the host team has never won in the 33-year history of the Three-Point Contest. The fans could leave disappointed after Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine falls short.

That leaves Bertans, Hield, and Devonte' Graham as viable bets based on past winners. Hield showed promise in last year's contest and Graham is tasty at 11-1, but our pick is ...

Best bet - Bertans (+450)

The Latvian sharpshooter is a perfect fit for Saturday's contest: He's got a quick release, he's deadly on catch-and-shoot threes, and he's unconscious from beyond 30 feet. At 27, he's just one year older than the median winner from 2010-19, and he's in the price range of most recent champions.

The 6-foot-10 forward would be the tallest winner since Dirk Nowitzki (7-feet) in 2006, but that says more about today's game than Bertan's chances. The Washington Wizards sniper checks all the boxes and he's a value, too, being listed as high as 6-1 at some books.

Buy big on Bertans, but also invest in some Graham and Hield stock. Nothing's more fun than rooting for three guys in the 3-point contest. You'll thank me later.

C Jackson Cowart is a betting writer for theScore. He's an award-winning journalist with stops at The Charlotte Observer, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The Times Herald-Record, and BetChicago. He's also a proud graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, and his love of sweet tea is rivaled only by that of a juicy prop bet. Find him on Twitter @CJacksonCowart.

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Three-Point Contest best bet: 1 player checks all the winning boxes
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