NBA First Basket Scorer Prop Bet Picks & Predictions: Sunday (3/19)

Mar 19, 2023 - 12:19 PM

First baskets are always fun because it’s a big payoff if you hit them. Let’s see who is grabbing the first score on today’s slate.

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Sunday’s Best NBA First Basket Bets

Odds courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook

Denver Nuggets vs. Brooklyn Nets

The Nuggets have won the Northwest, but there are concerning issues. The team has dropped five of their last six and are in jeopardy of losing the top seed. Even Nikola Jokic is feeling the impact and is no longer the favorite to win the MVP.

The Nets are doing enough to hang onto a playoff spot but could end up in the play-in tournament. The team had a rough time immediately after the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving trades, but they’ve played better recently. The new addition, Mikal Bridges, has been great and has become the team’s leading scorer.

Denver’s recent trends have them highly favored to grab the first basket. They have a 70% first-basket rate compared to Brooklyn’s 30% over the last ten games, and the Nuggets’ 1.2 shots to the first FG is half the Nets. Jokic has three first baskets in his previous ten games.

First Basket Pick: Nikola Jokic (+420)

Atlanta Hawks vs. San Antonio Spurs 

Every game for the Hawks is crucial as they sit in the middle of the play-in tournament. They could play well enough and get into the playoffs or miss it entirely. They’ve been inconsistent recently and seem to have a pattern of winning back-to-back and then losing back-to-back, and they’ve been repeating that cycle.

The Spurs have lost a lot this year and could have the best chance of getting the top pick. This is a young team, and they are sixth in average player experience.

The Hawks hold a sizable advantage at 52%-42% in first baskets this season, and Atlanta has grabbed six of their last ten to San Antonio’s three. De’Andre Hunter has two first-game baskets and four first-team in ten games, and the Spurs are allowing the second-most first-baskets to small forwards this year.

First Basket Pick: De’Andre Hunter (+650)

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Houston Rockets

The second half of the season has been a disaster for New Orleans. In January, the Pelicans went on a ten-game skid, never recovered, and are currently in 12th. A big reason is that they’ve never been able to put their entire roster on the court, as they have dealt with injuries all year.

For the Rockets, they never even got it going. They were expected to finish near the bottom, and that’s exactly where they will be.

New Orleans has trouble finishing games but can start them by grabbing 58% of their game’s first baskets. Jonas Valanciunas has been the go-to for first baskets, and the Rockets are allowing the second-most first baskets to centers this year.

First Basket Pick: Jonas Valanciunas (+550)

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