NBA First Basket Predictions – Top First Basket Scorer Prop Bets (Updated Daily)

Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo (13) shoots a free throw against the Philadelphia 76ers during the second quarter at Wells Fargo Center.
Image Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Looking for the best NBA first basket predictions today? You’re in luck! In this article, the Props crew will outline their top NBA first basket picks for every day of the basketball season. We mean it, delivering our best bets for every day there’s a game on the calendar. No load management here!

Below are our best NBA first basket predictions today. Be sure to check our NBA player props and NBA best bets today for more top selections for the current NBA slate.

Best NBA First Basket Predictions: Wednesday, Nov. 30

Let’s run through the top NBA first-basket predictions for today’s slate.

Heat C Bam Adebayo (+500)

The Heat will head to Boston to take on the Celtics on Wednesday, and they have released another lengthy injury report in advance of that contest. Jimmy Butler remains sidelined, but Tyler Herro headlines a group of seven questionable players. Massive injury reports are nothing new to the Heat, who have been playing shorthanded for most of the past two weeks.

Adebayo is one player who will definitely be in the lineup, and he’s been doing his best to keep this team afloat. He’s posted a usage rate of at least 31.8% in back-to-back games, and he’s averaged a 29.7% usage rate over his past five contests. The fact that Bam managed to elevate his usage rate despite Herro suiting up in the past two games is extremely encouraging for his prospects moving forward.

Adebayo has also been aggressive looking for his offense early. He has the Heat’s first basket in four of their past 10 games, and he has the first basket of the game in three of them. Miami has been extremely efficient to start games recently, needing just 1.3 field goal attempts before their first made basket over their past 10 outings.

Where to bet: Bam Adebayo – First Basket Scorer | +500 at FanDuel Sportsbook

Lakers SG Lonnie Walker (+1100)

Are the Lakers going to make a run? Plenty of people left them for dead following a 2-10 start to the year, but they’ve rebounded with wins in five of their past seven games. Those wins haven’t come against the highest caliber opponents, but they all count the same in the standings.

The team is expected to have both LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the lineup Wednesday vs. the Blazers, but Walker still carries for sneaky first-basket upside. He’s been one of their most frequent first scorers of late, recording the team’s first basket in three of their past 10 games. Most of those contests came with one of James or Davis sitting, but he’s posted a healthy 20.5% usage rate overall. 

The opening tip between Davis and Jusuf Nurkic seems like a toss-up, but the Lakers have been far more efficient at getting on the board. They’ve needed an average just 1.8 field goal attempts for their first made basket over their past 10 games, but the Blazers have needed 3.2. That makes them the preferred option.

Where to bet: Lonnie Walker – First Basket Scorer | +1100 at FanDuel Sportsbook

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Previous Best NBA First Basket Predictions: Thursday, Oct. 20

Bucks PG Jrue Holiday (+600)

Holiday will have to pick up the slack for the Bucks with Khris Middleton sidelined to start the year. He saw a +4.8% usage bump with Middleton off the court last season, which was the largest increase on the team. That figure increased to +6.3% in 12 full games without Middleton, so he brings some extra scoring upside to the table vs. the 76ers.

Holiday has also been a big factor for the Bucks to start out games. He attempted their first field goal attempt 28% of the team last year, which was easily the top mark on the team. Middleton ranked second in that department, with Giannis Antetokounmpo looking to get his teammates involved early. Ultimately, Holiday scored the first bucket of the game in 14% of his contest last season, which is a solid figure.

The Bucks also have one of the best in the business to handle tip-offs. Brook Lopez won 74% of his tips last year, so the Bucks have an excellent chance to secure the first scoring opportunity. Joel Embiid was no slouch in that department – he won 62% of his opening tips – but I’ll take the value with Holiday.

Where to bet: Jrue Holiday – First Basket Scorer | +600 at FanDuel Sportsbook

Lakers F/C Anthony Davis (+490)

Unlike in the first game, this contest features a massive mismatch on the opening tip. Anthony Davis won 68% of his opening tips last season, while Ivica Zubac won just 36%. That means the Lakers should almost certainly get the first scoring chance of the game.

If that happens, expect the team to go to Davis. The team loves to try to get him involved in the game early, and he scored the first basket in their first game of the year. He attempted the Lakers’ first shot in 39% of his games last season, and he scored the first basket of the game 21% of the time.

It’s worth noting that when I’m betting star players like Davis to score the first bucket, I prefer to do so on FanDuel. The big reason why is that they count a made free throw as the first made basket of the game. Guys like Davis have the ability to get to the free throw line at a higher rate than a role player, so I think that rule benefits them more than others.

Where to bet: Anthony Davis – First Basket Scorer | +490 at FanDuel Sportsbook

Previous Best NBA First Basket Predictions: Wednesday, Oct. 19

Mavericks PG Luka Doncic (+420)

It feels like this could be the year for Doncic. Don’t get me wrong, he’s been pretty good since he stepped on an NBA court, but this could be the year he takes home his first MVP award. With Jalen Brunson now in New York, Doncic will have to carry an even larger burden than he has in years past. That’s a scary proposition for opposing defenses.

Doncic has historically looked to be aggressive right from the opening tip. He had the Mavericks’ first field goal attempt in 33% of their games last season, and he had their first basket around 30% of the time. It wouldn’t surprise me if those numbers were even higher this season. The Mavs are expected to surround him with Tim Hardaway Jr., Reggie Bullock, Dorian Finney-Smith, and JaVale McGee for the opening tip-off, and none of those players should steal much usage from him. I’m all in on Doncic this season, so why not kick things off with the first basket of the season?

Where to bet: Luka Doncic – First Basket Scorer | +420 at FanDuel Sportsbook

Wizards F Kristaps Porzingis (+550)

The original Unicorn will be looking to get his career back on track this season in Washington. He was surprisingly traded to the Wizards last year in a deal where the Mavericks basically just wanted to get him out of town. He was no longer a perfect fit for their roster, but the oft-injured big man still has plenty of talent. He played well in limited opportunities with the Wizards down the stretch, averaging 22.1 points per game while shooting 47.5% from the field and 36.7% from 3-point range.

Porzingis is also notorious for hunting the first basket of the game. He attempted his team’s first field goal attempt more than 50% of the time last season, and he scored the first basket of the game a whopping 29% of the time. That’s an absolutely elite figure.

Part of his success in scoring the first basket of the game comes from his ability to win tip-offs. It should surprise no one that the 7’3” Porzingis is one of the best in the league in that department. He won the opening tip 66% of the time last year, while his opponent – Myles Turner – won just 33% of his opening tips. That gives the Wizards a significant edge in that department this evening.

Where to bet: Kristaps Porzinigs – First Basket Scorer | +550 at FanDuel Sportsbook