Best NBA First Basket Scorer Prop Bets for Today 4/1: Valanciunas delivers again

New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas
Photo of Germantas Kneita

Germantas Kneita


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Like most Lithuanians, I started watching basketball from the age of six. I'm based out in London and played basketball at the University of Lincoln here in the UK. I had always had an interest in the NBA but things really took off in the summer of 2010. That year Linas Kleiza led Lithuania to 3rd place at the World Championships and signed with the Toronto Raptors to replace the departing Chris Bosh. I've been a Raptors fan since that day and I've not missed a game since. I've been handicapping games for more than a decade, specializing in player props.

Nikola Vucevic knocked down the first basket for the Chicago Bulls last night, hitting his +440 first basket scorer prop. It made it 2 straight days with a winning first basket scorer selection for me. Tonight, we are going for 3 in a row. While there are just 2 games to choose from, there are still opportiunities for us to keep this run going. You can see all of our NBA previews here, but for now check out my favorite selections below.

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Clippers vs Pelicans first basket best bet: Jonas Valanciunas (+420)

I tipped Jonas Valanciunas to make the opening bucket in his last game against the Denver Nuggets and he delivered. I see no reason to go away from the New Orleans Pelicans center tonight. He has now knocked down the first shot for his team in 6 of his last 10 games, with 4 being the first in the game overall. Valanciunas will be matched up against Ivica Zubac here, with the 2 being fairly similar in terms of athleticism. The Pelicans center does have a longer wingspan which should make him favorite to win tip. That length advantage should make it easier for him to finish over Zubac too. Look for the Pelicans to reward the Lithuanian for winning tip once more tonight.

Mavericks vs Heat first basket best bet: Kyrie Irving (+900)

Kyrie Irving is one of the premier scorers in the NBA, so it is surprising to find him at these odds to make the games first shot. He attempted 7.5 shots from beyond the arc per game in March and there is a good chance he will get another look early in this game. The Heat are 29th in opponent 3-point attempts per game over the last 10, also ranking 24th in opponent 3-point percentage. Do not be surprised to see him get an open look from beyond the arc to open the game. He is likely to be matched up against Tyler Herro here, not someone known for their defensive ability. If he attacks him in isolation, Irving could be well positioned to create his own look here too. This looks to be a good value selection.

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