NBA Friday first basket best bets and parlay: Valanciunas has the value

New Orleans Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas (17) dribbles the ball around Minnesota Timberwolves center Naz Reid (11) in the fourth quarter at Target Center.
Photo of Andrew Ortenberg

Andrew Ortenberg


Show Bio

I'm an NFL handicapper 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. For Andrew Ortenberg media enquiries, please email
Read more about Andrew Ortenberg

The NBA is approaching the home stretch, and we have another full slate on Friday. There is a big card with 11 games on the docket, including a couple of highly anticipated showdowns. What better way to celebrate the weekend than with some first-basket bets? Let’s dive into them, using odds from FanDuel Sportsbook.

Timberwolves vs Nuggets: Patrick Beverley +1600

Getting Beverley at 16/1 is just too good to pass up. It’s pretty rare to see a game where there are guys in the starting lineup with these high of odds. But that’s because everybody is focused on the stars in this game like Nikola Jokic, Anthony Edwards, and Karl-Anthony Towns. Beverley has quietly been shooting it very well the past couple months. He has shot over 37 percent from beyond the arc in March, and he was over 40 percent in February.

In March he averaged 9.8 points per game in only 22.9 minutes per night. That’s a per 36 minutes average of 15.4 points. He often gets an open look or two right at the beginning of games, and in Minnesota’s most recent contest against the Raptors Beverley sunk a three 13 seconds in for the game’s first basket. The last time he played Denver, Beverley put up 11 points in only 15 minutes.

Check out our full game preview for Timberwolves vs Nuggets

Pelicans vs Lakers: Jonas Valanciunas +600

After going with such a big longshot for our first play, I’m going with a chalkier selection here. Looking toward the nightcap of the slate in Los Angeles, I like Valanciunas a lot. It’s still unclear whether or not Anthony Davis or LeBron James are going to play for the Lakers, so I think we’ve got to look toward taking a Pelican to score first. From there, Jonas V makes the most sense. He has been having a career high scoring year, averaging more than 18 per game.

The New Orleans big man has been particularly hot recently, scoring at least 16 in nine straight games. He hasn’t been as active early on the past few games, but for long stretches of this season he’s been dominant in the first quarter. Just a few games ago against the Bulls he took the team’s first shot, missed, and then made its first basket less than a minute later. He has also scored 19 points in each of his two games against the Lakers this season.

If you want to go really big, a Beverley-Valanciunas parlay pays out at +11800!

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.

By signing up you agree to our terms and privacy policy