NBA First Basket Prop Odds & Picks: 5 Christmas Bets, Including Michael Porter Jr. (December 25)

NBA First Basket Prop Odds & Picks: 5 Christmas Bets, Including Michael Porter Jr. (December 25) article feature image

AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images. Pictured: Michael Porter Jr. (1) of the Denver Nuggets.

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

NBA First Basket Prop Odds & Pick: Julius Randle

OddsRandle (+475)
Time12 p.m. ET
Book Caesars

The first matchup on Christmas day features the Philadelphia 76ers at the New YorkKnicks. Joel Embiid (55% opening-tip win rate) will face off against Mitchell Robinson (71% win rate) for the opening tip. Robinson won two of three tips last season against Embiid.

Embiid and Randle are both hot right now on first baskets, with each player making five first team field goals in their past 10 games.

The 76ers are one of the worst teams in the league defending the power forward position on opening possessions; they have allowed the opposing power forward to score first 33% of the time this season.

I'm only willing to risk 0.5 units on this game as I think the Knicks only have a slight edge on the tip, but I'll take Randle here to start off the slate.

Pick: Randle +475 (down to +375, 0.5 units)

NBA First Basket Prop Odds & Pick: Christian Wood, Tim Hardaway

OddsWood (+650) | Hardaway Jr. (+900)
Time2:30 p.m. ET
Book FanDuel

The Los Angeles Lakers meet the Dallas Mavericks in the second matchup of the day. Thomas Bryant (50% opening-tip win rate) will likely be facing off against Christian Wood (50% opening-tip win rate) for the opening jump. Bryant was injured on Friday and is questionable for Sunday's matchup.

I think Dallas will win the tip in this matchup. The Lakers are one of the worst teams in the league at defending centers on opening possessions. Wood has only started five games this season, but is the second-leading scorer on the Mavericks this season.

I like Wood, or Tim Hardaway Jr. to make the first basket in this one.  I also think Dallas will win this game, so I'll do play these as parlays with the Dallas moneyline.

Pick: Wood/Dallas ML Parlay +850 (down to +700  — 0.6u) | Hardaway/Dallas ML Parlay +1100 (down to +850 — 0.4u)

NBA First Basket Prop Odds & Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Grayson Allen

Odds Antetokounmpo (+430) | Allen (+1300)
Time5 p.m. ET
Book FanDuel

The Milwaukee Bucks are in Boston facing the Celtics in what might be the best game on Christmas day. Brook Lopez ( 77% opening-tip win rate) will jump against Al Horford (50% win rate) for the opening-tip. Lopez won three of four tips last season against Horford, and I would expect him to win the tip in this matchup as well.

Milwaukee has scored first in 59% of its games this season, which is good for the fourth-best rate in the league. Antetokounmpo has scored the Bucks' first basket in five of the past seven games. The Celtics have allowed the opposing power forward or small forward to score first in 55% of their games this season.

I'll take Antetokounmpo to score first and will pair him with Grayson Allen, who could be open for a 3-point shot if the Greek Freak chooses to pass out to the perimeter.

Pick: Antetokounmpo +430 (down to +350, 0.5u)

Pick: Allen +1300 (down to +1000, 0.25u)

NBA First Basket Prop Odds & Pick: Dillon Brooks, Jaren Jackson Jr.

OddsBrooks (+550) | Jackson Jr. (+700)
Time8 p.m. ET
Book DraftKings | FanDuel

The Memphis Grizzlies face Golden State Warriors in the primetime matchup on Sunday. Steven Adams (75% opening-tip win rate) will take on Kevon Looney (52% win rate) at tip-off. Adams won three of four tips against Looney last season.

These two teams faced each other 10 times last season, with Memphis winning the tip-off in eight of the games and scoring first in seven of the games.

The Grizzlies have scored first in 77% of games this season — that is by far the highest rate in the league. Ja Morant has been hot lately, scoring first in five of the past 10 games for Memphis.

The Warriors have allowed the opposing center, power forward or small forward to score first in 85% of games this season. The Warriors defend the point guard position on opening possessions better than any team in the league, allowing the point guard to score first in just 3% of games.

I'll go with Dillon Brooks (has taken first field goal attempt in 39% of games started this season) and pair him with Jaren Jackson Jr. expecting one of those two to get the first basket.

Pick: Brooks +550 (down to +450, 0.5u at DK)

Pick: Jackson Jr. +700 (down to +500 risking 0.5u)

NBA First Basket Prop Odds & Pick: Nikola Jokic, Michael Porter Jr.

OddsJokic (+460) | Porter Jr. (+850)
Time10:30 p.m. ET
Book FanDuel | PointsBet

The final matchup on Christmas night features the Phoenix Suns taking on the Denver Nuggets. Deandre Ayton (68% opening-tip win rate) will face off against Nikola Jokic (30% opening-tip win rate) for the opening-tip. Jokic won both tips last season against Ayton. Joker also won tip-offs at a 60% rate last season, so this season's results are tough to interpret.

Devin Booker has been out for the past three games and remains questionable. Meanwhile, the Nuggets got Michael Porter Jr. back Friday after a long injury layoff. He was heavily involved in first possessions early in the season taking the first shot in 41% of games started this season. He continued that on Friday, taking the first two shots for Denver and making a 3-pointer.

In the two matchups last season that Jokic started, he cashed the first basket.  Jokic has also hit the first team field goal in four of the last seven games. I'll take Jokic and Porter Jr. in this matchup.

Pick: Porter Jr. +850 (down to +650, 0.5u at PB)

Pick: Jokic +460 (down to +375 0.5u)

First Basket Prop Data

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Doug Ziefel
Jul 22, 2024 UTC