NBA First Basket Scorer Prop Bet Picks & Predictions: Friday (3/31)

Mar 31, 2023 - 11:59 AM

We’ve been really hot the last few weeks with First Baskets. Last Saturday we cashed Devin Booker against the 76ers to improve our results on the season. There are only two weekends left in the regular season but that means we still have two Fridays and Saturdays left to find some more First Basket winning picks. Let’s take a look at Friday’s slate.

Season to Date: 11-31-4, +4.38 units

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Friday’s Best First Basket Player Prop Bets

(Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook)

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Memphis Grizzlies

These two teams face off again after a hard-fought Clipper win on Wednesday night. In that game, Ivica Zubac led off the game with a field goal to secure the First Basket. I’m going to go in a little different direction.

Jaren Jackson Jr. is expected back in the lineup for Friday which swings the odds in Memphis’s favor as he’s one of the better tip-winners in the league. This edge on Memphis has me targeting Dillon Brooks for the First Basket.

The Clippers actually give up opposition first field goals to small forwards in nearly a quarter of their games. This included Wednesday when Brooks scored the first Grizzlies’ basket while taking two of the first three shots for Memphis. The numbers point to Brooks and the empirical data from Wednesday makes me feel even better about this play.

Pick: 0.25u on Dillon Brooks (+750)

Detroit Pistons vs. Houston Rockets

Both of these teams are usually ones I fade when it comes to First Baskets. Detroit has been one of the worst in the league all year and Houston has been one of the worst in the league at winning opening tip-offs. However, in this matchup, there is a recent edge I cannot look past.

Since acquiring James Wiseman and inserting him into the starting lineup, they’ve found themselves one of the sharper edges in winning opening tips. In addition, Wiseman has been a focal point in the offense. 

Given Houston’s trend of giving up First Baskets to opposing centers, Wiseman is a great play for this game. The Rockets have given up first field goals to centers in over a quarter of their games on the year. All of this adds up to a Wiseman play on Friday night.

Pick: 0.25u on James Wiseman (+700)

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves

Two teams that are jockeying for playoff spots square off in a big game Friday night. Minnesota has been a team I’ve liked all season when it comes to First Baskets. This matchup on Friday is no different as I’m targeting two different players.

Rudy Gobert is my first play. He may not be the flashiest scorer on the Timberwolves but he gets the job done for First Baskets, leading Minnesota, tied with Anthony Edwards. Like many teams, Minnesota targets their big man in the post early and the matchup with LA makes this trend likely to continue. The Lakers give up over 45% of their first field goals to opposing centers.

Normally I would ride with one player given a matchup like Gobert, but I can’t ignore Edwards. He’s taken his game to another level since Minnesota traded away D’Angelo Russell. A matchup with Russell could be motivation for another big night. I’m going to just ride the hot hand and sprinkle another quarter unit on Edwards.

Pick: 0.25u on Rudy Gobert (+600)     0.25u on Anthony Edwards (+600)

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