There are only two games on the NBA slate tonight.
We’ve got the 76ers-Bucks matchup, followed by the Suns-Lakers game with a doubleheader on TNT.
While we’re looking for first-basket scorers, there will only be two of them tonight.
Here are my two selections for the first basket market.
Thursday’s Best NBA First Basket Player Prop Bets
(Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook)
Philadelphia 76ers at Milwaukee Bucks
The Philadelphia 76ers won the tip 64% of the time last season. They also attempted the first shot 57% of the time but scored only 43% of first baskets.
Tobias Harris was inconsistent, along with Tyrese Maxey. James Harden rarely took the first shot when he played. However, Joel Embiid added 15 first shots and 15 first baskets and was undoubtedly the most efficient first-basket scorer on the 76ers.
On the other hand, the Bucks only won 49% of tips last year. Milwaukee added 54% of first shots and scored on 49% of first baskets. That’s a higher rate than the 76ers. However, it’s more likely that Philadelphia will end up with the ball to begin the game.
Jrue Holiday scored more of the first basket attempts for the Bucks last year than any other player. He added 13 first shots and 11 first baskets, but he’s now in Boston and the Bucks have Damian Lillard. You’d like to think that the Bucks will want to get Lillard involved early. However, as long as Embiid makes his first shot, it won’t matter.
I’ll side with Embiid for the first basket.
Bet: Joel Embiid (+490)
Phoenix Suns at Los Angeles Lakers
The Suns have a big three: Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. Beal didn’t play in the Phoenix opener against the Warriors and will likely be absent from the lineup tonight.
However, you’d figure Durant and Booker would get the first shot in most games. Instead, Jusur Nurkic added the first basket for the Suns in the season’s first game. The newly acquired center scored 13 first baskets on 16 first shots for the Blazers last year. He’ll be involved in the Phoenix offense early and often.
The recently departed DeAndre Ayton added 14 first shots and 13 first baskets last season with Phoenix and Devin Booker also added 17 first shots and scored on 13 first baskets of his own last year.
Phoenix was good at winning the tip with Ayton last season. However, Nurkic lost his first battle against Kevon Looney in the previous game. He’ll take on Anthony Davis, who also won his opening tip-off against Nikola Jokic on Tuesday.
On top of that, Davis earned the first basket on a made dunk less than 20 seconds into the game. Davis added nine first shots and eight first baskets. That was fewer than LeBron’s 11 first shots and nine first baskets last season.
Both teams should be efficient at winning the tip this season. However, the Suns took the first shot in 69% of games last year and won the tip in 71%. That’s some of the best numbers you’ll see from a first-basket market in the NBA.
It’s unclear if Devin Booker will be a go tonight. Therefore, Kevin Durant seems like the best option in tonight’s game.
Bet: Kevin Durant (+440)
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