NBA playoffs first basket best bets on Friday: One big Holiday

Bucks point guard Jrue Holiday
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Ricky Dimon


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Since graduating from Davidson (The College That Stephen Curry Built), I have been writing about sports -- just about any and all you can think of! -- and coaching tennis in Atlanta, GA. Beyond the four major sports, I am an avid tennis fan and cover the ATP Tour on a daily basis. If I'm not busy writing, you can generally find me on a tennis court or traveling the world wherever a sporting event takes me. For Ricky Dimon media enquiries, please email

Wednesday’s proceedings on the NBA hardwood were a bit surprising and that sets the stage for what should be an interesting Friday. Boston blew a big fourth-quarter lead at home against Milwaukee and now has to go on the road in hopes of staving off elimination. Memphis will be trying to do the same at Golden State, although the Grizzlies have a ton of momentum after dominating Game 5.

But enough about the big picture. Right now it’s time to focus on very specific prop bets: first-basket scorers. So far in this postseason my first-basket plays have been extremely profitable. I nailed 2 plays on the same day during the play-in tournament – Kyrie Irving at +600 and Anthony Edwards at +700 for a 2-leg parlay that paid out at +5500. After that I cashed two consecutive Donovan Mitchell plays, both at +500 (Game 2 and Game 3 of the Utah-Dallas series), before hitting another bullseye with Phoenix’s Mikal Bridges at +1000. On Tuesday I was all over Joel Embiid at +440. Let’s keep the momentum going!

Celtics vs Bucks – Jrue Holiday +500

The Bucks can be expected to have the first possession in their potential close-out game at home against the Celtics. Milwaukee will be putting Brook Lopez in the circle and he was won 4 of 5 opening tips in this series. He is 2-1 against Robert Williams III and 2-0 against Al Horford. Williams is coming off a knee injury that kept him out of his team’s first two playoff games and also missed the last two in this series. He is questionable for this contest. Regardless of the opposition, you have to feel good about Lopez’s chances.

Needless to say, the tipoff is the most important factor that should be looked at when deciding on first-basket bets. Obviously players on whichever team gains possession are going to have by far the best opportunities. If the Bucks do get the ball first, look for Holiday to capitalize. He forked up 24 shots on Wednesday and scored 24 points. It’s also worth noting that he delivered a bucket just 45 seconds into that contest. Moreover, Holiday has attempted at least 20 shots on every occasion in this series and he also shot considerably higher percentages at home than on the road during the regular season. All signs are encouraging for Holiday.

Check out our Celtics vs Bucks preview

Grizzlies vs Warriors – Desmond Bane +550

Warriors-Grizzlies is another case of the tipoff being a key component to first-basket success. Golden State has been sending Jonathan Kuminga to do the tip and he is nothing short of hopeless. The 19-year-old was 0-for-6 during the regular season and he is 0-for-3 in the playoffs. Steven Adams is back in the starting lineup for Memphis and he is the absolute best in the business when it comes to jump balls. Adams won 71 of 92 (77.2 percent) in the regular season, so it’s no surprise that he is a perfect 2-for-2 in the last two outings.

If the Grizzlies corral the ball off the tip, don’t be surprised if Bane becomes the beneficiary. He has been involving himself early in games throughout these playoffs and Wednesday was no exception, as the former TCU standout drained a 3-pointer less than a minute in. Bane finished with a game-high (tied) 21 points after attempting 12 shots in only 24 minutes of work. He was way better on the road (20.1 ppg, 48.1% shooting, 47.6% from three) than at home (16.4 ppg, 44.0% shooting, 39.1% from three), so he won’t be fazed by playing at Golden State.

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If you want to go really big, a Holiday-Bane pays out at +3800!

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