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NBA First Basket Prop: Bet Valanciunas & Ingram in Pelicans-Nuggets

NBA First Basket Prop: Bet Valanciunas & Ingram in Pelicans-Nuggets article feature image

Via Christian Petersen/Getty Images. Pictured: Jonas Valanciunas #17 of the New Orleans Pelicans high fives Brandon Ingram #14 during the first half of Game One of the Western Conference First Round NBA Playoffs at Footprint Center on April 17, 2022 in Phoenix, Arizona.

  • The Nuggets host the Pelicans in one of the two NBA games on Thursday night.
  • Jonas Valanciunas and Brandon Ingram have consistently scored first for the Pelicans since the All Star Break, but can they continue this trend tonight?
  • NBA First Basket breaks down the matchup and his favorite first basket bets 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, Brandon Ingram

OddsValanciunas (+500) I Ingram (+650)
Time10 p.m. ET
Book FanDuel

The Denver Nuggets will host the New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday night.  The Nuggets have a three-game lead in the standings for first seed in the Western Conference and are on the front end of back-to-back games. I point this out because Nikola Jokic is questionable and may rest tonight. The Pelicans can’t afford to rest any players as they are in the thick of the playoff race for the play-in tournament.

Jonas Valanciunas (51% opening tip win rate) will be face off against either Nikola Jokic (46% win rate) or Thomas Bryant (76% win rate) for the opening tip-off. Valanciunas has won five of six tip-offs against Jokic over the past two seasons but has not jumped against Bryant for the opening tip-off.  Prior to this season, Bryant’s win rate was 27% on opening tips, so this is quite the dramatic improvement in win rates.

I like New Orleans to score first either way tonight.

In three matchups this season between these teams, Valanciunas has cashed a first basket twice while Jokic has cashed one first basket.

In the 17 games the Pelicans have played since the All Star break, Brandon Ingram has scored the first team basket eight times, Valanciunas has done so seven times, and CJ McCollum has done it twice. Given this heavy concentration, I’ll play both Valanciunas and Ingram tonight.

Pick: Jonas Valanciunas First Basket +500 (Risk 0.5 Units)

Pick: Brandon Ingram First Basket +650 (Risk 0.5 Units)

Pelicans vs. Nuggets First Basket Prop Data

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