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

May 23, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) looks on in the third quarter against the Miami Heat during game four of the Eastern Conference Finals for the 2023 NBA playoffs at Kaseya Center.
Image Credit: Sam Navarro-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: Thursday, May 25

Celtics C Al Horford (+1400)

Jaylen Brown is normally my go-to first scorer for the Celtics. He’s attempted the first shot in 26.2% of his starts this season, which is an astronomical figure. Bam Adebayo is the only player in this contest at greater than 10%, and he’s still way behind Brown at 15.4%.

However, something is definitely not right with Brown at the moment. He suffered a hand injury earlier in the postseason, and it’s possible that’s still impacting him. It’s also possible that he simply doesn’t want to be in Boston anymore. There have been some reports about his unhappiness, and it would not be surprising to hear more details at the end of the year. For one reason or another, Brown has averaged just 16.8 points per game in this series while shooting just 39.0% from the field and 12.0% from 3-point range.

Horford scored the first bucket in Game 4, and he seems underpriced at +1400 on BetMGM. He’s closer to +1000 across the rest of the industry, and Horford ranks third in this matchup in first shot percentage. He’s also scored first in 11.3% of his starts this season, which compares favorably to Jayson Tatum (12.1%), Brown (11.9%), and Bam Adebayo (11.0%). Those are the three favorites in this contest, so Horford stands out as an excellent value. 

Where to Bet: Al Horford First Basket Scorer | +1400 on BetMGM

Heat PF Kevin Love (+1100)

This feels like a good day to go hunting for a longshot, and the Heat have a few appealing options. For starters, they’re a good bet to win the first possession in this matchup. Robert Williams was recently removed from the starting lineup, leaving Horford to handle the opening tips. While Williams is one of the best opening jumpers in basketball, Horford is one of the worst. It’s not surprising that the Heat have scored first in each of the past two games.

Additionally, the Heat don’t have an alpha first scorer. Adebayo and Jimmy Butler have a combined 17 first scores this season, but the rest of the team gets on the board first with some regularity. We’ve seen that in the past two games, where Love and Max Strus have both scored the first bucket.

Ultimately, I’ll take my chances with Love among the Heat’s role players. Not only does he have a first bucket recently, but his price tag on FanDuel represents a nice value when compared to the rest of the industry. He’s down as low as +850 on DraftKings, so +1100 is a great number. Love has also seen a team-high +5.87% usage bump with Gabe Vincent off the floor, giving him a bit more offensive upside than usual.

Where to Bet: Kevin Love First Basket Scorer | +1100 on FanDuel Sportsbook

More NBA Bets & Props

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