NBA Finals predictions - First basket best bet for Bucks vs. Suns Game 2: Holiday season

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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Andrew Ortenberg

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I'm an editor here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up.

The NBA finals are officially underway, and the Phoenix Suns dominated the Milwaukee Bucks in Game 1. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s dramatic return to the lineup ultimately didn’t mean much. Will Antetokounmpo and the Bucks come out with a much better effort Thursday night to avoid falling down 2-0?

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 Thursday, where we’re counting on Jrue Holiday. We also have a long-shot play at the end.

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

First basket best bet: Jrue Holiday +550

It appears we have our answer as to who will be starting with the ball in this series. The Suns and Bucks have played three times this season now, and Milwaukee has won the opening tip each time. Brook Lopez tries really hard for these tips, and it appears Deandre Ayton is content to more or less let him have them.

As such, I think we’ve got to look at a Bucks player first here. Of those, Holiday makes the most sense. I’ve had some success betting him recently, including the last time I picked him in Game 6 of their series against the Hawks.

Holiday’s volume might dip a bit with Giannis Antetokounmpo back in the lineup, but he always sees a ton of action early in games. 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.

Holiday had an off shooting night in Game 1 of the finals, but I wouldn’t read too much into it. If anything he’ll be motivated to come out and get that bad taste out of his mouth with an early bucket here. 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 the Hawks where Holiday was consistently getting the first shot or first basket, so you’ve got to like our chances here.

Be sure to check out our best player props for Game 2 of Bucks vs. Suns, both at plus-money odds!

First basket longshot: Chris Paul +1000

I continue to think oddsmakers are undervaluing Paul on these bets. I recommended him at 10/1 in Game 1 of the finals, and he almost cashed. He took the Suns’ first shot, but just missed an 18-foot mid-range jump shot. In Games 3, 4, and 5 against the Clippers in the Western Conference Finals, Paul took the Suns’ second shot from the floor each time. He’s coming off a dominant performance where he dropped 32 points on Milwaukee, and should look to keep that momentum going here.

We just cashed our Game 1 same game parlay at +1397, so make sure you read our same game parlay for Bucks vs. Suns Game 2 (+1127 odds!)

Pickswise is the home of free NBA picks and predictions. Make sure to also check out our NBA parlays and NBA prop bets tabs for more expert picks.

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