NBA Finals predictions - First basket best bet for Bucks vs. Suns Game 4: Back to Jrue

Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday (21) shoots against Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) during the first half in game one of the 2021 NBA Finals at Phoenix Suns Arena
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The NBA finals are back, and the Milwaukee Bucks are riding high after their Game 3 win over the Phoenix Suns. Milwaukee can now even the series at 2-2 on Wednesday with a win in Game 4. Will Devin Booker bounce back from his dreadful shooting night, or will Giannis Antetokounmpo keep it rolling?

Here at Pickswise we have tons of great content for the finals, including same game parlays and picks on the side and total for every matchup. But right now we’re going to talk about one of my favorite props: first-basket bets. Let’s dive into my best such bet for Wednesday, where we’re counting on Jrue Holiday. We also have a long-shot play at the end.

First basket best bet: Jrue Holiday +600

It’s not really a question as to who is going to take the first shot. The Bucks and Suns have now played five times this season, and Milwaukee has started with the ball each time. For whatever reason, Brook Lopez is aggressively going all-out for these jump balls. Deandre Ayton is content to let him have them.

As such, I think we’ve got to look at a Bucks player first. Of those, Holiday makes the most sense. I’ve had some success betting him recently, including when I cashed while picking him in Game 6 of their series against the Hawks. I also picked him in Game 2 of this series, and I was correct about him taking the first shot although unfortunately he missed it.

I picked Khris Middleton in Game 3, and again I was correct about him taking the first shot. Again, he unfortunately missed it. Holiday ended up scoring the first bucket of Game 3 when he sank a three-pointer.

Holiday was at +550 earlier in this series, and has continued to take a ton of shots early in games, yet his odds have actually gone up to +600. That makes no sense. He had off shooting nights in the first couple of games but was hot in Game 3, and made five shots from beyond the arc.

The team will likely look to keep that positive momentum going. Antetokounmpo is +380, and there’s no way I’d touch that. He doesn’t actually take the team’s first shot all that often, and less than 4/1 with just about anybody is a no-go for me.

Holiday shooting early has been a consistent theme in the playoffs. In Game 6 of that Hawks series, he hit the first field goal, and in Game 5 he took three of the Bucks’ first four shots. He also took the team’s first shot, and later made the team’s first basket, in Game 4 of that Atlanta series. In Game 3 he again made the team’s first bucket, and in Game 2 he took the first shot.

You get the picture. That was five games in a row against Atlanta where Holiday was consistently getting the first shot or first basket. He’s kept it going in the finals so far.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Phoenix Suns vs. Milwaukee Bucks

First basket longshot: Jae Crowder +1400

If you’re looking for a play with juicier odds, Crowder makes the most sense. He took the team’s first shot in Game 3, and often gets looks early in the first quarter. There was a stretch in the first couple rounds where he was getting the first shot up every other night. Crowder also made six threes in Game 3 and was one of the team’s lone bright spots, so it makes sense that they’d look to keep feeding him.

Don’t forget to read our same game parlay for Game 4 of Suns vs. Bucks (+1239 odds!)

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