There are so many ways to bet an NBA game, but for those bettors who can’t bear to sweat the full 48 minutes, there are other markets that offer more instant satisfaction. One of those bets is the First to 15.
With 14 games on Friday’s massive NBA slate, there are three games in particular that have value in terms of betting First to 15.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Orlando Magic
|First to 15 Odds||76ers: +100 | Magic: -128|
|Time | TV||7 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
The 76ers are shorthanded for this game. They’ll be missing Joel Embiid, James Harden, Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle. But for the season, the Sixers are among the top teams in terms of cashing First to 15 bets (67%).
That conversion rate holds up on the road, too, where the Sixers have hit the been the first team to 15 points in five of their seven road games. They might not have their stars available, but their role players, like De’Anthony Melton, have stepped up to the challenge, especially in the first quarter. In two games without Embiid this week, Melton has average 9.5 points in the first quarter alone.
The Magic will have rookie Paolo Banchero back in the lineup, but overall they have been in the bottom 10 in First to 15, especially at home where they have hit the 15-point mark first just three times in nine games.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Milwaukee Bucks
|First to 15 Odds||Cavaliers: +112 | Bucks: -142|
|Time | TV||8 p.m. ET | NBA League Pass|
There may be some debate about whether the Bucks are the best team in the NBA right now, but there’s no question that they are the top team in the Association when it comes to cashing First to 15 bets. They’ve beaten their opponents to 15 points in 14 of their 17 games so far this season (8-3 at home) and have second-fastest average time (5:26) to 15 points in the NBA.
Their division rival Cavaliers are closer to the middle of the pack and have won the First to 15 in five of their nine road games, but they typically need a full minute more to hit the mark compared to the Bucks.
The Bucks rank third in the NBA in first quarter scoring (31.3) in part because they lead the league in made 3-pointers in the first quarter. The Bucks are -142 (55.44% implied odds) on FanDuel to be the First to 15, but considering their dominance this season, that number seems low.
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Clippers
|First to 15 Odds||Nuggets: -132 | Clippers: +104|
|Time | TV||10:30 p.m. ET | NBA TV|
As great as the Bucks have been in this context, the Nuggets have been right on their heels. The Nuggets have cashed the First to 15 in 14 of their 18 games this season, including six straight games. Their opponent on Friday, the Clippers, are smack dab in the middle, but have cashed the First to 15 in their past three games.
Like the Bucks, the Nuggets score quickly out of the gates, hitting the 15-point mark in 5:36 on average, while the Clippers average 7:37 to hit 15 points. The Nuggets are elite on the road, though, cashing this bet in eight of their 12 games away from home.
The Nuggets are the highest scoring team (31.6) in the NBA in the first quarter and the most efficient, they lead the league in field goal percentage (55.2%) 3-Point percentage (46.7%) and assists (8.7).
FanDuel has the Nuggets listed at -132 (53.71% implied odds) and the Clippers listed at +104, but based on their season long numbers, the Nuggets seem undervalued here.