NBA playoffs first basket best bets on Tuesday: Bridges spies early success

Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns
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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
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Game 5s in round one of the NBA playoffs continue on Tuesday. Miami has a chance to finish the job against Atlanta with a 3-1 series lead in hand, while the other two matchups are tie at 2-2 (Memphis-Minnesota and Phoenix-New Orleans).

It’s time to take a look at the 2 best first-basket bets for Sunday’s schedule. 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. Since then I have 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 Sunday. Let’s keep the momentum going!

Heat vs Hawks first basket best bet: Tyler Herro +600

The Heat can be expected to have the first possession in their road date with the Hawks on Sunday. Miami big man Bam Adebayo is one of the best in the business when it comes to jump balls. Adebayo won 45 of 67 tips (67.2 percent) during the regular season. Atlanta will counter with Clint Capela, who returned in Game 4 from a hyperextended knee suffered during a play-in tournament victory at Cleveland. Capela was underwhelming in the jump-ball department even when he was 100 percent healthy (41.2 percent in the regular season). Unsurprisingly, he lost the tip to begin Sunday’s blowout loss. Adebayo has won three of four tipoffs so far this season and he should take it again in Game 5.

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. Assuming the Heat have the ball first, Herro may be the one to take advantage. With both Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry out, the pressure is going to be on Herro to step up in a big way and he will want to make a statement right away.

Check out our Hawks vs Heat preview

Suns vs Pelicans first basket best bet: Mikal Bridges +900

This Suns-Pelicans game is another case of the tipoff being a key component. Deandre Ayton will be lining up for Phoenix and he won 66.7 percent of his jumps this season (44 won, 22 lost). New Orleans center Jonas Valanciunas registers at an unspectacular 52.2 percent (47 of 90). As expected, Ayton has gotten the best of Valanciunas in all four opening tipoffs so far during this series.

If Phoenix corrals the ball off the tip yet again, don’t be surprised if Bridges becomes the beneficiary. With Devin Booker sidelined, Bridges has to be more of a scorer than he is accustomed to being. Unsurprisingly, the Villanova product scored 19 points in the contest in which Booker went down and he added 17 in Booker’s absence during a Game 3 victory. I was all over Bridges a +1000 to be the first-basket scorer in Game 4 and that is exactly what happened. Let’s go right back to the well on Tuesday. I just don’t see any value with anyone else on the Suns. Deandre Ayton is their most reliable scorer with Booker on the shelf but I’m not taking the star center at +380.

Check out all of our NBA previews and picks for Tuesday

If you want to go really big, a Herro-Bridges parlay pays out at +6900!

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