NBA Playoffs predictions - First basket best bets for Tuesday: Irving will be the one

February 15, 2021; Sacramento, California, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles the basketball against Sacramento Kings guard De'Aaron Fox (5) during the first quarter at Golden 1 Center
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Ricky Dimon

NBA· 3 months ago

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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.

We have a trio of Game 5s in the NBA playoffs on Tuesday. Ties will be broken in two series — Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets will try to finish off the Boston Celtics. Boston took Game 3 of that best-of-seven set to trail 2-1, but the home team faced another borderline must-win situation this past weekend and could not get the job done.

Let’s take a look at some intriguing first-basket bets for Tuesday’s postseason action on the professional hardwood.

Note: Anthony Davis suffered a groin strain in the Lakers’ Game 4 loss to the Suns and he is questionable for Tuesday. As such, we don’t know what LA’s starting lineup will be and therefore first-basket odds have not been posted. They won’t be available until Davis’ status is confirmed, which may not happen until an hour or even less before tipoff.

Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets – Kyrie Irving +550

Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets – Aaron Gordon +1000

Let’s break down the two prop plays one by one.

Celtics at Nets – Irving +550

Boston won the tip in Game 4, as Tristan Thompson controlled it to Romeo Langford and then Marcus Smart promptly drained a three-pointer for the first points of the contest. However, Kevin Durant has still taken three of the four jump balls with Thompson during this first-round series. The smart money is on Durant to give Brooklyn the first possession on Tuesday, in which case there is great value on Irving at +550. He made the first basket in Game 1, scored the first points of Game 2 from the free-throw line, missed the first shot attempt of Game 3 and scored his team’s first points of Game 4 (also from the free-throw line). Irving has consistently been involving himself early. With the Nets sensing blood in the water and going for the kill, look for the former No. 1 overall pick to make another quick statement.

Portland Trail Blazers at Denver Nuggets – Aaron Gordon +1000

The tipoffs have progressed in similar fashion in this series between the Nuggets and Trail Blazers. Nikola Jokic gave Denver the opening possession in each of the first three contests before Jusuf Nurkic won it for Portland in Game 4. I’ll take my chances with Jokic to restore order on Tuesday, which would obviously give everyone on his team a better chance of scoring the first bucket. Gordon made the opening basket of Game 1 and in each of the last two games he has missed shots just a little more than one minute into the proceedings. He is clearly trying to make an impact early. At massive +1000 odds, the former Magic forward has enticing value.

Parlay odds: +7050

Why not sprinkle a few bucks on a parlay with both of these bets? It pays out at more than +7000 odds at FanDuel. It’s the playoffs, so it’s time to go big or go home.

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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