NBA First Basket Scorer Odds, Picks & Predictions: Saturday (3/18)

Mar 18, 2023 - 12:31 PM

Joel Embiid cashed for us again at +270 for another positive night on Friday. Saturday provides another jam-packed day of NBA hoops. There are plenty of opportunities for First Basket plays so lets take a look at a few of my favorites.

Also, take a look at our other best bets for Saturday:

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Saturday’s Best First Basket Scorer Bets

Season to Date: 9-25-3, +3.70 units

Philadelphia 76ers at Indiana Pacers

There’s no reason to fix what isn’t broken. Philadelphia is playing at Indiana on the second night of a back-to-back so Embiid may get a rest day. However, if Embiid is in the lineup he’s a must-play again for First Basket.

Indiana is one of the worst teams in the league at scoring First Baskets. They’ve only cashed this prop in about one-third of their games. This points to Philadelphia players and, as I highlighted ad nauseam, also points to Embiid.

Indiana, much like other teams that struggle to prevent First Baskets, have defensive holes in the paint. The Pacers give up more first field goals to centers than any other position. I’m going to the well once more this weekend and taking Joel Embiid.

Pick: 0.25u on Joel Embiid (+260)

Sacramento Kings at Washington Wizards

The Wizards will also be on a back-to-back when they host the Kings on Saturday, but they should have a huge opening tip advantage over Sacramento and Domantas Sabonis no matter what. Sacramento is such a strong offense but the opening tip success has made Washington players very attractive in the First Basket market all season. 

There are two Wizards I’m targeting here in case one sits this game out. Kristaps Porzingis and Bradley Beal both fit the characteristics I like to target in these spots: players who have had success in this market and favorable opponent matchups. 

These two have combined to score the first Wizard field goal in over half of the teams’ games. A big reason for this is they shoot well over half of the teams’ first three field goal attempts when they start. More opportunities typically lead to more success.

From a matchup standpoint, center and shooting guard are the positions Sacramento gives up the most first field goals against. It’s a simple numbers play. These two have two of the shortest odds in this game but it’s well worth it still to take a play on both.

Pick: 0.25u on Kristaps Porzingis (+310) & 0.25u on Bradley Beal (+480)

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