NBA Playoffs Monday first basket best bets and parlay: Bane at the beginning

Memphis Grizzlies forward Brandon Clarke (15) and guard Desmond Bane (22) celebrates after the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves during game one of the three round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Target Center
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Andrew Ortenberg


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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.

The NBA playoffs continue on Monday, and we’ve got two great games to look forward to. What better way to celebrate the marquee matchups, and postseason basketball in general, than with some first-basket bets? Let’s dive into them, using odds from FanDuel Sportsbook.

Celtics vs Bucks: Brook Lopez +750

Looking at the first game of the night, the Celtics look to even up their series with the Bucks at 2-2. One of the most important factors when handicapping first basket bets is determining who is going to start with ball. And Brook Lopez is one of the best big men in the league at winning jump balls.

He’s already won 2-of-3 in this series, and I’m taking him to score the first bucket as well. Lopez isn’t a huge volume scorer by any means, but he often gets a look or two right at the beginning of games and oddsmakers are underestimating his offense. In the most recent game of this series on Saturday, Lopez scored Milwaukee’s first 4 points.

First he threw down a dunk off a feed from Giannis Antetokounmpo, and then he knocked down a couple of free throws only a minute later. Lopez also took the team’s second shot of the night in Game 1 of this series.

Khris Middleton’s continued absence has opened up a bunch of shots for everybody else, and the Celtics are going to continue focusing the entirety of their defensive attention on slowing down Giannis.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Boston Celtics vs Milwaukee Bucks

Grizzlies vs Warriors: Desmond Bane +750

Looking at Monday’s nightcap now, I’m banking on Desmond Bane stepping up big time for Memphis. For starters, it looks like Ja Morant is going to miss this game with a knee injury, which is obviously massive. Morant’s volume has been off the charts in this series, and he took 31 shots from the floor in each of the first two games.

That’s a whole lot of shots to redistribute, and I don’t think oddsmakers are properly accounting for his potential absence with these lines. Even when Morant has been on the court, Bane has still been prolific early in games. He hasn’t been his sharpest in this series, but now is the time to buy low.

Remember, Bane was scorching hot entering this series, scoring at least 23 points in each of his final four games against Minnesota in the first round. He shot 46 percent from beyond the arc on over 9 attempts per game in the first round, and the Grizzlies are going to make getting him going a priority here.

If they’re going to pull this upset without Morant, they’re going to need Bane to get cooking again. He slumped in the first couple of games against Golden State, but started to snap out of it the other night by knocking down four 3-pointers.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Memphis Grizzlies vs Golden State Warriors

If you want to go really big, a Lopez-Bane parlay pays out at +7125!

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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