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NBA First Basket Parlay | Feb. 22

Thomas Snodgrass

Updated: Feb 22, 2024


The NBA has made its return from the All-Star break, and what better way to get back into the action than placing a wager on a first basket scorer!

How about a first basket parlay?

With 12 teams putting sneakers on the hardwood tonight, that gives bettors 24 teams and 120 different players to select for a first basket.

For bettors that like taking a swing on NBA first basket bets, be sure to check out BestOdds’ First Basket Stats page.

Some superstar players have odds of +800 or higher, such as Tyrese Haliburton of the Indiana Pacers at +825 to make the first basket at BetMGM.

For the riskier bettor, one could place a wager on the Houston Rockets’ Fred VanVleet to sink the first bucket at +1600 on bet365.

With over 120 players to ponder for first baskets, for the sanity of all first basket parlay bettors everywhere, let’s highlight a trio of players that make for a solid parlay this Thursday.

I’ll be placing this first basket parlay on FanDuel.

Jusuf Nurkic – C, Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns will head east to Dallas to take on the Mavericks on Thursday night.

When it comes to winning the opening tip, the Suns’ Jusuf Nurkic appears to have the upper hand in gaining the first possession for his club.

Over the last 20 games for Phoenix, Nurkic has started 19 games and has won the opening jump 84% of those games.

The Mavs newly acquired center of Daniel Gafford is likely to oppose Nurkic on the opening tip, and in two previous jump balls against the Suns’ center, Gafford has lost both times.

Over the course of the 2023-24 season, Nurkic has won 71% of all of his opening tips, while Gafford has only won 34%.

All signs point to Nurkic winning that opening tip.

For Dallas, they have allowed the first basket in exactly 50% of their last 20 games, and the largest share of first buckets have come from centers.

And with Nurkic attempting the first basket for the Suns in six of the last ten games, I like Nurkic here to get the offense going again.

Also, the Mavericks have allowed the sixth-most points in the NBA to opposing centers.

Dallas’ frontcourt has been subpar this season, and Nurkic can take advantage in the opening seconds of the game.

Pick: Nurkic – First Basket (+650) FanDuel

Jaylen Brown – SF, Boston Celtics

Jaylen Brown has 11 first baskets this season in 50 games played, and as the Boston Celtics’ leader in first baskets, Brown could strike first once again on Thursday.

The Chicago Bulls will host the Celtics, and Chicago has had an issue with gaining the opening possession.

Bulls’ center Nikola Vucevic has won just 35% of opening tips in 48 games played, and he will likely lose again to Boston’s Kristaps Porzingis, as Porzingis has won 79% of his jumps in 40 games.

Also, these two centers went head-to-head just once last season, with Porzingis coming away with the opening tip win.

The Celtics’ 70% tip win percentage is third-best in the NBA, and their first field goal percentage of 64% is second-best in the league.

In the last three games for Chicago, the opponents’ first score has come from a small forward twice, the two small forwards being Franz Wagner of the Orlando Magic and Saddiq Bey of the Atlanta Hawks.

Boston has a high-volume shooter at small forward, and that’s Brown.

Brown has only attempted his teams’ first shot in two of the last seven games, sinking one first basket (Feb. 1st vs. LA Lakers).

After scoring 36 points in the defense-less NBA All-Star game, Brown may have found his shot.

Time for Brown to put that shot on display in the earliest portion of the game.

Pick: Brown – First Basket (+500) FanDuel

D’Angelo Russell – PG, Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers will head north to visit the Golden State Warriors tonight, and with the Warriors sinking just 36% of their first field goal attempts, I like one of the Lakers’ starting five to sink the first bucket.

Also, Golden State has been sending out Draymond Green for the opening tip lately, and it has not been going great.

In fact, Green has won just 25% of opening jumps all season, and in the last 10 games, Green has started all 10 and won just two jumps.

I have a good feeling about Anthony Davis winning tonight’s opening tip.

In Los Angeles’ last 20 games, Davis has started 18 contests and has won the opening tip 61% of the time, and against Green, that number should get a little boost.

The Warriors have allowed the first basket for three consecutive games now, and two of those baskets were scored by opposing point guards, Keyontae George of the Utah Jazz and James Harden of the Los Angeles Clippers.

The last time the Lakers and Warriors went head-to-head on January 27th, Davis won the opening tip, and Taurean Prince attempted the first shot, but Davis came down with the offensive board and finished with an easy dunk.

A very fortuitous shot for Davis.

LeBron James will not be on the floor tonight for the Lakers, so Golden State will most likely have a larger defensive focus on Davis in the frontcourt and may try to box out LA’s big man.

The Lakers’ backcourt could see more shots tonight, which should bode well for D’Angelo Russell.

In that previous matchup with Golden State, Russell was a solid 8-of-19 from the floor and tallied 28 points, including five three-pointers.

Russell has a way of attacking this team offensively, and he could strike first on Thursday night.

Pick: Russell – First Basket (+800) FanDuel

First Basket Parlay Legs – FanDuelOdds
Jusuf Nurkic – Phoenix Suns+650
Jaylen Brown – Boston Celtics+500
D’Angelo Russell – Los Angeles Lakers+800
First Basket Parlay Odds+40400

A $10 wager on this first basket parlay could win $404!

Or a $10 wager could win $$4,040!

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