NBA Playoffs Predictions - First Basket Best Bets For Saturday's Action: Durant delivers for Nets

Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) dunks in the third quarter against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
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Andrew Ortenberg

NBA· 4 months ago

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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 play-in tournament has been fun, but now it’s time to turn our attention to the real action. The actual 2021 NBA playoffs will kick off on Saturday with a great slate of four games. Heat @ Bucks, Mavericks @ Clippers, Celtics @ Nets, and Trail Blazers @ Nuggets.

It’s a lot to unpack, and there are a plethora of wagers to make. We’ve got tons of great content for the playoffs coming, including same game parlays, mega parlays, and everything in between. But right now we’re going to talk about one of my favorite props, ‘first basket’ bets. Let’s dive into my favorite such plays for Saturday:

Heat @ Bucks – Jrue Holiday +700

Mavericks @ Clippers – Marcus Morris Sr. +850

Celtics @ Nets – Kevin Durant +550

Let’s break ’em all down one by one:

Heat @ Bucks – Jrue Holiday +700

The Heat and Bucks played three times this season, with Brook Lopez winning the opening tip over Bam Adebayo twice. Including the playoffs, these teams have met 11 times over the past two seasons. Milwaukee has gained the first possession in seven of those meetings. As such, you’ve got to roll with a member of the Bucks here. Holiday makes the most sense. Holiday is in his first season with the Bucks, and in each of their three games against Miami this year, Holiday took the first shot. Three in a row seems a bit more than coincidence, so getting +700 here has some value.

Mavericks @ Clippers – Marcus Morris Sr. +850

Oddsmakers are treating this tipoff as somewhat of a 50/50 proposition, since both teams’ stars are priced around the same at +550. However, the Clippers have won the tip five of the last six times these teams have played, including in all three meetings this season. Don’t sleep on Ivica Zubac’s jumping ability. In this spot, Morris has value at +850. These teams’ last two meetings were played back to back in mid-March, and they both started the exact same way. Zubac won the tip of Kristaps Porzingis, Morris gained possession, and then Morris made the first basket of the game. Nearly 10/1 is too good to pass up given that recent history.

Celtics @ Nets – Kevin Durant +550

In this Celtics/Nets clash I’ve got to get a little more chalky and go with Kevin Durant. The Nets will want to get him going right away, and I think Steve Nash will draw something up for him on the opening possession. Boston has been having Robert Williams do their tip offs, and it’s unclear if he’s even going to play here. In any case, he’s only 6’8. He’s also dealing with a toe injury, which probably won’t help his tip-off abilities. Durant jumps for the Nets, and he’s more like seven feet. I like Brooklyn’s chances of starting with the ball, and Durant is obviously a very efficient scorer.

Parlay odds: +49300

Just for fun I’ll be sprinkling a buck or two on a parlay of all three of these. It’ll pay out at nearly 500/1 at FanDuel. It’s the playoffs, why not celebrate by going for the jackpot?

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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