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NBA First Basket Picks For Monday | Mar. 25

Thomas Snodgrass

Updated: Mar 25, 2024

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There’s a beefy schedule across the NBA on Monday with 11 games on the slate.

So bettors will have a boatload of options for first basket bets, around 110 players to choose from to sink first buckets.

In Sunday’s light schedule, here were the seven players that scored first field goals.

Games (March 24th)First Basket ScorerConsensus Odds
NOP vs. DETJonas Valanciunas (NOP)+500
PHI vs. LACTobias Harris (PHI)+600
CLE vs. MIAEvan Mobley (CLE)+425
OKC vs. MILBrook Lopez (MIL)+900
GS vs. MINNaz Reid (MIN)+675
IND vs. LALAaron Nesmith (IND)+1100

Tobias Harris of the Philadelphia 76ers hit a three pointer to get the game started against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday, and as BestOdds EDGE shows, Harris has become a more frequent early shooter.

With three first basket attempts in the last five games, Harris makes for an intriguing first field goal scorer bet tonight against the Sacramento Kings; with Harris’ best odds of +700 on FanDuel.

Here’s a quick look at the five players on the floor tonight with the highest first field goal attempt percentage for their respective teams:

BestOdds EDGE can give data on which players are taking the earliest shots, and that data should not be ignored, especially when it’s FREE!

There’s no other tool that can tell you that Corey Kispert of the Washington Wizards has taken the first shot attempt in four of the last five games for his team.

Look at that!

Kispert’s odds for the first basket tonight sit at +750 on FanDuel, and with Kispert chucking early three pointers, the best odds for him to score the first basket from beyond the arc is +1600 at DraftKings.

As I previously mentioned, there are over 100 options for first basket bets tonight, so let’s dig through the treasure trove and find out which first basket bets have value while avoiding any fool’s gold.

BestOdds EDGE and BestOdds’ First Basket Stats page will be my ultimate first-basket-betting-assistant, with the most in-depth data and insights on the NBA’s earliest scorers.

And as always, all selections will be paired with the best odds.

Jarrett Allen – C, Cleveland Cavaliers

Cleveland Cavaliers’ center Jarrett Allen has won 73% of his opening tips this season, and that’s the highest mark of any center taking the floor tonight.

Allen’s opponent at midcourt will be Charlotte Hornets’ center Nick Richards, and Richards has won just 52% of his opening jumps.

Over the Hornets’ last 10 games, Richards has won just 44% of his tips (out of nine opening jumps).

With Richards not excelling at winning the opening tip, I’m expecting Allen to win the jump and secure the first possession for the Cavaliers.

I’m also leaning towards Allen making the first bucket for Cleveland.

Charlotte has allowed the first basket in 63% of their games this season, the second-most in the NBA, and of all of those buckets, 27% have been scored by opposing centers, the most of any position on the floor.

As BestOdds EDGE shows, Allen is no stranger to early field goal attempts.

In fact, Allen’s first field goal attempt percentage of 27% is the most of the Cavaliers typical starting five.

Even if Allen doesn’t take the first field goal attempt, he’s aggressive around the rim and could clean up any errant first shot from one of his teammates.

Strong chance that Allen decorates the scoreboard first in this Charlotte-Cleveland matchup.

Pick: Allen – First Basket (+460) FanDuel

Nic Claxton – C, Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets’ center Nic Claxton has been one of the best first basket scorers in the NBA this season.

The top seven first basket scorers have collected 13 or more first buckets, and here’s a look at those scorers, courtesy of BestOdds’ First Basket Stats page.

Claxton is currently tied with Denvers’ Nikola Jokic and Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr. for the most first baskets in the 2023-24 season.

Also, I’d just like to mention that the average height of the top seven scorers is 82.6 inches, which is somewhere between 6-foot-10 and 6-foot-11.

I guess the closer a player is to the hoop itself, the closer they are to scoring the first basket.

Jaylen Brown of the Celtics is an outlier at 6-foot-6.

Anyway, back to Claxton.

Brooklyn will be visiting the Toronto Raptors tonight, and the Raptors’ depth at center has been riddled with injuries.

Toronto will still be without 7-foot big man Jakob Poeltl, and their backup centers, Chris Boucher and Jontay Porter, will also both be out.

Kelly Olynyk will most likely take the opening jump for the Raptors tonight, and considering that Olynyk has won only 33% of his tips while Claxton has won 62% of his, has me expecting the Nets’ offense gaining the first possession.

Claxton is winning that tip!

When it comes to who takes the first shot for Brooklyn, Mikal Bridges holds the teams’ highest percentage of first field goals attempted (32%), but Bridges actual first basket percentage is just 13%, exactly half of Claxton’s 26% first basket percentage.

Will Bridges fire the first shot? Historically, yes.

Will Bridges make the first shot? Historically, no.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of Claxton and Bridges’ key first basket stats from BestOdds EDGE.

Clearly, Bridges’ first basket success is a little too sporadic.

Toronto has allowed 30% of all of their opposing first baskets to centers, so I’m going to back Claxton on a high-conversion bucket in the paint instead of some wild fling from Bridges.

Pick: Claxton – First Basket (+550) FanDuel

Kelly Oubre Jr. – SG, Philadelphia 76ers

The Philadelphia 76ers visit the Sacramento Kings tonight, and when it comes to winning the opening tip, Philly’s center Mo Bamba has done a fine job in the role, winning 67% of his tips.

The sample size is only 12 starts, but Bamba’s 67% is a strong opening tip clip.

It’s the complete opposite for Kings’ center Domantas Sabonis, who is apparently allergic to winning opening jumps.

Sabonis has won just 29% of his 70 opening tips this season, and of all centers taking the floor tonight, only New York Knicks’ center Isaiah Hartenstein has done worse (24% of 34 tips).

Based purely off Sabonis’ opening tip ineptitude, I’m leaning on the Sixers to gain control at the jump.

Despite being terrible on tips, Sacramento still has allowed the first basket in only 50% of their games, and of those first buckets a whopping 31% have come from opposing shooting guards.

That makes for an interesting first basket case for Kelly Oubre Jr.

Oubre has taken the first shot for Philly in 24% of his starts, and his 26% first basket percentage for his respective club is the best on the team; just two points ahead of Tobias Harris.

As BestOdds EDGE tells me, Oubre Jr. has not taken a ton of first shots for the 76ers in recent games.

But, Oubre does have one first shot attempt for Philly in the last five games.

At the top of the article, I mentioned how Harris has become a more frequent early shooter for the Sixers, but I don’t think that will last.

Someone else will need to take that role soon, and based on team first field goal percentages, I expect that man to be Oubre.

Pick: Oubre Jr. – First Basket (+650) FanDuel

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About the author

A fan of both the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers, which is rare! Thomas provides sports betting content with the intent to educate and enter...

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