NBA Playoffs predictions - First basket best bets for Saturday: Mitchell to strike first

Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz
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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. For Andrew Ortenberg media enquiries, please email

The NBA playoffs are officially in full swing, and it’s been hard to complain about the action we’ve seen so far. There have been plenty of thrills, and we’ve got another pivotal game on Saturday as the Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz meet for a crucial Game 3. 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, including same game parlays, mega parlays, and picks on the side and total for every single matchup. But right now we’re going to talk about one of my favorite props, first-basket bets. Let’s dive into my favorite play for Saturday.

Clippers at Jazz – Donovan Mitchell +480

Mitchell has been downright dominant in this series. He’s hitting everything, so just blindly you’d have to consider him. But there are also some matchup specifics that favor the young Jazz star. For starters, Rudy Gobert has won the tip in each of the first two games of this series. He won tips against both Marcus Morris in Game 1 and Ivica Zubac in Game 2. So it doesn’t really matter who Ty Lue sends out to mid-court to start the game, the Jazz should be seen as favorites to start with ball.

From there, Mitchell makes the most sense to start firing. Although he hasn’t scored the team’s first bucket in either of the first two games of this series, I’m not too concerned. He took Utah’s first shot in each of their previous two playoff games before this series started. The last time these teams played during the regular season, Mitchell had 35 points, took 27 shots, and took the first shot of the game.

Mitchell has taken at least 29 shots in both Game 1 and Game 2, so don’t worry about his volume. He will want to take matters into his own hands as he looks to establish the Jazz early and take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Los Angeles Clippers vs. Utah Jazz

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