NBA Playoffs Wednesday first basket best bets and parlay: Lopez locks it in

Milwaukee Bucks center Brook Lopez (11) celebrates with guard Wesley Matthews (23) following a basket during the fourth quarter against the Chicago Bulls during game one of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs at Fiserv Forum
Photo of Andrew Ortenberg

Andrew Ortenberg


Show Bio

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
Read more about Andrew Ortenberg

The NBA playoffs continue on Wednesday, 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.

Bulls vs Bucks: Brook Lopez +650

Looking at the first game of the night, Lopez makes a lot of sense. Earlier in this series, Lopez was at +500, and I don’t understand why his odds would go up with his early game prowess and Khris Middleton now being sidelined with an injury.

For starters, the jump ball is one of the most important factors to look at when handicapping a first basket bet. And Lopez is one of the best big men in the league at winning jump balls. He missed most of this regular season due to injury, but last year he won north of 69 percent of his tip-offs.

On the flip side, Bulls center Nikola Vucevic has been in the low 40 percents this season. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Bucks have had the first possession in all four games of this series.

In Milwaukee’s 93-86 win in Game 1, Lopez got things started by taking each of the Bucks’ first two attempts. One of them he made, and on the other he was fouled and sank both free throws. In Game 2, he made two of the team’s first four baskets, and in Game 3 he scored their second bucket.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Chicago Bulls vs Milwaukee Bucks

Nuggets vs Warriors: Nikola Jokic +340

For the nightcap, I’ve got to go with a bit of a chalkier play. Jokic was much better than Warriors center Kevon Looney at jump balls during the regular season, and Denver has started with ball in three of the four games in this series. Working from there, Jokic is the only Nuggets player worth backing.

In Game 4, Jokic took each of the team’s first three attempts, making two of them and getting fouled on another. He also had the first basket of the game in Game 3. Jokic is single-handedly keeping the team afloat, and you better believe they’re going to go right back to him here early with their season on the line.

With this being an elimination game the ball is going to once again be in his hands even more than usual. He’s responded well to the pressure in recent games, scoring 37 points in back-to-back contests entering this one. The reigning MVP is going to keep letting it fly early and often here.

Be sure to check out our full game preview for Denver Nuggets vs Golden State Warriors

If you want to go really big, a Lopez-Jokic parlay pays out at +3200!

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.

By signing up you agree to our terms and privacy policy