Friday is here again, and with it comes more In-Season Tournament games! Another great sports weekend is upon us, including a full slate of NBA action.
Let’s take a look at some of my favorite spots to back for First Baskets on Friday night to get you off to a strong start on your betting weekend.
Friday’s Best NBA First Basket Player Prop Bets
(Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook)
Milwaukee Bucks @ Charlotte Hornets
Giannis Antetokounmpo is trending towards being out for a second straight game, so again, other Bucks will need to step up. Against this Charlotte defense, Milwaukee should have a lot of success scoring. Milwaukee is also typically one of the best teams at scoring the First Basket. It’s a good bet to target the Bucks when looking at the First Basket board for this game.
One name that sticks out is Khris Middleton. Since last year, Charlotte has given up nearly half of their opposing first scores to bigs. Middleton isn’t a traditional big, but with Antetokounmpo out and Andre Jackson Jr. in, he will play a similar role in spacing on offense. Middleton is a threat to score at any level on the court and Charlotte doesn’t really have the defender at his size to slow him down. The matchup dictates that this is one of the best plays for Friday night.
Pick: Khris Middleton (+600)
Philadelphia 76ers @ Atlanta Hawks
Joel Embiid is the reigning MVP, but it’s Tyrese Maxey who has taken most of the headlines on this 76ers team. It can be easy to forget that Embiid is still leading the team in scoring at 31.9 PPG. Last year, Embiid managed to cash more First Basket tickets than any other player in the league. So far in the 2023-24 season, he hasn’t had the same success, but it’s still early.
Atlanta is a very favorable matchup for Embiid. The Hawks have given up nearly half of their opponent’s first scores to bigs. With a statistical matchup so much in his favor, I don’t see Embiid shying away from any early attempts that he receives. Although he hasn’t had the same success this season, Embiid is still one of my favorite matchup plays for a First Basket tonight
Pick: Joel Embiid (+430)
Detroit Pistons @ Cleveland Cavaliers
Last year, when these two teams would play, a huge mismatch stuck out like a sore thumb. Cleveland managed to score the First Basket in all four games against Detroit last year. Cleveland typically wasn’t a team that scored the opening basket, but Detroit was one of the worst teams in the league when it came to the prop, and they’ve continued that trend this season.
When you look at the matchup data, you can’t help but target Donovan Mitchell for the First Basket. Since last year, Detroit has given up a largely disproportionate amount of first-opponent scores to shooting guards. Mitchell is your prototypical shooting guard, especially in this Cavaliers offense. Detroit has had a revolving door of players at the two-guard spot this season due to injuries to almost every guard or wing player on the roster. The one thing that has been consistent was the below-average defense.
Mitchell has a really great matchup here on Friday night. The numbers say backing him is a good bet and he’s on my card as one of my favorite First Basket plays of the night.
Pick: Donovan Mitchell (+340)