NBA First Basket Scorer Odds, Picks & Predictions: Monday (1/16)

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Robert Williams III (+650)

Whenever betting on Boston, I almost always go to Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, but tonight, I’m changing it up a bit, and for the right reason.

Williams has been a tip-off machine, winning at a 75 percent clip. Combine that with Mason Plumlee’s 40 percent tip win rate, and it looks likely that the Celtics will earn the first possession of the game. With Boston’s top-ranked offense, I’m confident in their ability to capitalize, it’s just a matter of who.

This season, a third of the first made baskets for the Celtics have come from the center position. As a cherry on top, Charlotte has allowed the opponent’s center to score the first basket at a 30 percent clip. Williams is the right choice, and I love the value offered.  

Julius Randle (+500)

This may not be the most exciting play, but sometimes the best plays are straightforward. Randle has been the go-to guy early on for the Knicks all season, with 40 percent of their first buckets coming from the power forward position. 

Mitchell Robinson has been solid for the Knicks in tips as well, winning at a 69 percent clip this season, with New York capitalizing on scoring first over half of the time. With New York’s top-10 ranked defense, I like the insurance that if the Knicks fail to win the opening tip, it’s nowhere near a guarantee that Toronto will be able to lock up the first basket either.           

Darius Garland (+700)

To round out today’s plays, I’m fading Donovan Mitchell (+390) and going with the next best option – Darius Garland. 

Jarrett Allen holds a tip-win rate of 64 percent. While Cleveland’s 42 percent first-score conversion rate isn’t that great, it’s still better than Indiana’s 35 percent conversion rate. And Cleveland doesn’t have to go up against the top-ranked defense in the league.

The Cavs have gone to one of their two guards on nearly half of their first baskets this season. While it is awfully tempting to go with Mitchell, Garland at +700 is far more valuable.   

View the best player prop bets for tonight’s slate with our NBA Prop Bet Cheat Sheet>>

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