NBA First Basket Expert Prop Pick: Bet Jonas Valanciunas & CJ McCollum in Mavericks vs. Pelicans (March 8)

NBA First Basket Expert Prop Pick: Bet Jonas Valanciunas & CJ McCollum in Mavericks vs. Pelicans (March 8) article feature image

Via Jason Miller/Getty Images. Pictured: Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the New Orleans Pelicans reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse on January 16, 2023 in Cleveland, Ohio.

  • The Pelicans host the Mavericks tonight, and NBA First Basket has found an edge on which player will score first.
  • He's eying a pair of Pelicans, Jonas Valanciunas and CJ McCollum, to score the first basket.
  • Find NBA First Basket's picks and analysis below.

NBA First Basket will break down some of his favorite NBA plays of the day here, and will track all his bets in The Action Network app.

NBA First Basket Prop Pick: Jonas Valanciunas, CJ McCollum

OddsValanciunas (+470) I McCollum (+700)
Time7:30 p.m. ET
Book FanDuel, DraftKings

The New Orleans Pelicans play host to the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday night. Jonas Valanciunas (49% opening tip win rate) will jump against Dwight Powell (29% win rate) for the opening tipoff. Valanciunas has won all three opening tips against Powell over the past two seasons. It seems likely that New Orleans will win the tip tonight.

In three matchups this season, Luka Doncic, Valanciunas and Brandon Ingram have all cashed first baskets.

Dallas allows centers to score the first opposing field goal in 38% of games – the highest rate in the league. Valanciunas has scored the first team field goal for the Pelicans in 29% of games started this season.

Ingram and McCollum are the two primary scorers for New Orleans with Zion Williamson injured. Ingram has been hot lately, taking the first shot in 13 of his 30 starts this season (he has missed half of the season due to injury). He is a valid option tonight as well, but his odds are too low to pair with Valanciunas.  McCollum has taken the first shot in 21% of games started this season.

I'll take Valanciunas and McCollum tonight to score first.

Pick: Jonas Valanciunas First Basket +470 (Risk 0.6 Units | Play to +375)

Pick: CJ McCollum First Field Goal (DraftKings) +700 (Risk 0.4 Units | Play to +550)

Mavericks vs. Pelicans First Basket Prop Data

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