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NBA First Basket Picks For Tuesday | Apr. 9


Thomas Snodgrass

Updated: Apr 9, 2024

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After yesterday’s North American solar eclipse, the moon blocked out the sun for a bit, but it blocked out the entire NBA schedule for Monday.

Now that the NBA is back from its brief hiatus, there are 14 games on the docket for Tuesday, giving bettors about 140 different players to choose from in first baskets bets.

There were no games played on Monday, so for reference, here were the 13 players that scored first baskets on Sunday.

Games (April 7th)First Basket Scorer
HOU vs. DALJalen Green (HOU)
CLE vs. LACEvan Mobley (CLE)
MIA vs. INDJimmy Butler (MIA)
POR vs. BOSAl Horford (BOS)
CHI vs. ORLJalen Suggs (ORL)
NOP vs. PHXJonas Valanciunas (NOP)
WAS vs. TORImmanuel Quickley (TOR)
OKC vs. CHAChet Holmgren (OKC)
NYK vs. MILDamian Lillard (MIL)
PHI vs. SASKelly Oubre (PHI)
SAC vs. BKNDennis Schroder (BKN)
UTA vs. GSTaylor Hendricks (UTA)
MIN vs. LALD’Angelo Russell (LAL)

Tonight, the Portland Trail Blazers host the New Orleans Pelicans, and this contest features two of the hottest first basket scorers in the NBA of late, with New Orleans’ center Jonas Valanciunas and Portland’s small forward Kris Murray.

Valanciunas has scored four first baskets in the last 10 games, and his early shot info over the last five games paints an interesting picture.

BestOdds EDGE shows that Valanciunas has scored three first baskets in the last five games, three different ways.

As for Kris Murray, he’s only averaging 20.3 minutes on the floor per game, but he’s making a big impact in the earliest minutes.

Murray took the 14th shot for the Trail Blazers in his last contest, but BestOdds EDGE tells me that over the last 20 games, Murray holds a first field goal attempt percentage of 25% and his 18% first basket percentage is the highest mark for Portland in that time.

For this interesting first basket showdown, the best odds for Valanciunas to sink the first bucket is +650 on FanDuel and +1100 for Murray, also on FanDuel.

Let’s check out some potentially fortuitous first basket scorers across the 14-game slate, and where each potential first scorers’ best odds can be found.

Josh Giddey – PG, Oklahoma City Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder host the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday night, and that bodes well for the Thunder on the opening tip.

Here’s a look at the opening tip data, courtesy of BestOdds EDGE:

Sabonis has had an impressive season, but not at the jump at midcourt, winning just 28% of his tips.

Also, Holmgren has won 31% more of his jumps and holds the 2-1 edge over Sabonis.

Oklahoma City should come away with the first possession.

Sacramento has allowed 31% of their opposing first baskets to opposing shooting guards, and while they may point in the direction of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder haven’t really employed their highest scorer to shoot early bucket attempts.

The first shot could still come from OKC’s backcourt, maybe not SGA, but point guard Josh Giddey.

Here’s a look at Gilgeous-Alexander and Giddey’s key first basket stats, courtesy of BestOdds EDGE:

Giddey has taken the first shot for his club at a 20% higher rate than Gilgeous-Alexander.

Also, in his last five starts, Gilgeous-Alexander’s earliest shot was the fifth field goal attempt for OKC, signaling a higher usage for SGA later in contests.

Although the first basket percentages are relatively close, I’m expecting Giddey to keep shooting early buckets.

Pick: Giddey – First Field Goal (+750) BetMGM

Paolo Banchero – PF, Orlando Magic

Another potential opening tip mismatch is the head-to-head between the Orlando Magic’s Wendell Carter Jr. and the Houston Rockets’ Jabari Smith.

Carter has won 62% of his opening jumps, while Smith has only won three of his 15 opening tip chances (20%).

In all likelihood, the Magic will gain control of the first possession tonight.

The Rockets have allowed the first basket in 53% of their games, and of all of those first baskets, 32% have been scored by opposing power forwards, the highest such mark in the NBA.

Here’s BestOdds EDGE’s early shot data on Orlando’s power forward Paolo Banchero over the last five games.

Banchero has taken the first shot for the magic only once in the last five games.

Although his recent data shows some quiet early offense from Banchero, his matchup with Houston provides a solid opportunity.

Banchero has still made seven first baskets this season, third-most for Orlando, and there’s a chance that small forward Franz Wagner sits out tonight (ankle), putting more of the offensive focus on Banchero.

Pick: Banchero – First Field Goal (+550) BetMGM

Devin Booker – PG, Phoenix Suns

Zeroing in on another lopsided opening tip matchup between the Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns, the Suns should gather the first possession tonight.

Phoenix’s Jusuf Nurkic has won 68% of his jumps, while Los Angeles’ Ivica Zubac has won an abysmal 29% of his tips.

Nurkic winning 39% more of his opening tips has me believing that Phoenix should take early control and fire up the first shot.

The Clippers have allowed the first basket in 62% of their games, which is tied for the second-most in the NBA.

Here’s a look at the opposing first basket data between the Suns and Clips:

First baskets against Los Angeles have been spread out decently across all five positions on the floor.

One man that has been taking early shots for Phoenix is point guard Devin Booker.

BestOdds EDGE shows that Booker has taken the first shot for the Suns in back-to-back games.

The most common first-basket-threats for Phoenix have been Booker (22% first field goal attempt percentage), Kevin Durant (25% first FGA%), and Nurkic (26% first FGA%), but at +700, Booker provides the most value.

When deciding who’ll score first in a trio of successful first basket scorers, I’d prefer to go for the slightly longer odds. It’s all about that return on investment.

Pick: Booker – First Basket (+700) Unibet


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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