NBA First Basket Prop Pick: Expect Deandre Ayton to Get Involved Early
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Deandre Ayton #22 of the Phoenix Suns.
- The Phoenix Suns host the Portland Trail Blazers Friday night in matchup of two of the best teams in the West.
- With Deandre Ayton expected to return to the lineup, NBA First Basket sees value on two first-scorer props.
- Read on for his betting breakdown and pick below.
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Deandre Ayton | Mikal Bridges
|Ayton (+650) | Bridges (+1100)
|Trail Blazers vs. Suns
|10 p.m. ET
The Phoenix Suns will host the Portland Trail Blazers on Friday night. Jusuf Nurkic (70% opening-tip win rate) will be jumping at center against Deandre Ayton (74% win rate), who returns after a one week absence due to an ankle sprain.
These two faced off against each other three times over the past two seasons, with Ayton winning the tip in two of the three matchups. Nurkic is off to a slow start on opening tip-offs this season, winning just 33% of tips, though he did win the tip against Ayton earlier this season.
The Suns were above average at scoring first last season, converting the first points 58% of the time. They have continued that trend this season, as they are converting the first points 71% of the time. The Trail Blazers scored first at a rate of 49% last season, but have really struggled to score first this season, as they have only done so in one of their six contests.
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This is going to be one of the rare games where I am picking a team and players to score first, despite the tip-off chances being pretty even. The Blazers have been inefficient this season, and being without their star player Damian Lillard (out with calf injury) hasn't helped.
Last season, there was a high probability that either Ayton or Devin Booker would take the first shot for Phoenix, and that trend has continued into this season for the Suns big man. Ayton took the first shot and scored first in the Suns' game against Portland in October of this season. I like the narrative of Ayton coming back after a week off and expect the Suns feed him the ball to start the game.
The Picks: Ayton +650 (0.7 units), play down to +450 | Bridges +1100 risking 0.3 units, play down to +800
Trail Blazers vs. Suns First Basket Data
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