NBA First Basket Prop Preview: Data, Insights & Key Stats For The Conference Finals

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As the NBA playoffs head down the home stretch, first-basket prop bets remain a popular market.

When betting on NBA, more specifically a first-basket prop, the objective is to select the player who will score the first basket of the game. Some online sportsbooks, like FanDuel, include free throws, while others — DraftKings and BetMGM — do not. If an online sportsbook excludes free throws, then the prop will appear as first field goal instead of first basket. 

Additionally, branches of the first basket prop include who scores first for each team and the exact method for the first basket. For example, BetMGM and DraftKings offer lines on whether the first field goal will be a two-pointer or three-pointer, and FanDuel offers more specific methods (dunk, layup, other, free throw, three).

NBA first basket scorer odds

Check out the table below for updated first basket and first field goal odds.

First quarter stats to know 

The following chart contains statistical insights from the regular season for the first basket prop. It shows the league ranking of the percentage of all opponents first-quarter attempts allowed based on shot location

For example, the Indiana Pacers allowed 32.7% of their opponents’ first quarter field goal attempts this regular season to come from the restricted area. That was the second-highest rate in the NBA, so they received a “2” in the table. On the other hand, the Boston Celtics surrendered only 24.4% of first quarter attempts in the restricted area, which was the third-lowest mark. Therefore, they received a “28.” Essentially, a lower number in the table means that the team gave up a large rate of first quarter field goal attempts in that area relative to the league. 

As a side note, some of the columns may be hidden on mobile. Scroll horizontally on the table to view all columns. 

Restricted AreaPaint (non-RA)MidrangeCorner 3PTAbove the Break 3PT2PT3PT
Boston Celtics28882781714
Dallas Mavericks201625211615
Indiana Pacers26113030130
Minnesota Timberwolves191272019824

Why is this table important for the first basket prop? For example, the Pacers ranked second in the restricted area column and 30th in both the corner and above-the-break columns. It may subsequently be wise to target Boston players who tend to score at the rim for the first basket prop instead of selecting spot-up shooters. 

Other things to consider include the following: tipoff win percentage, game first field goal attempt percentage, team first field goal attempt percentage, and injuries. 

Pacers vs. Celtics first basket

Tipoff: Myles Turner went 1-0 in the tip against Al Horford this season, although the Celtic likely has a small advantage here. Kristaps Porzingis is expected to return in the middle of the series, and he prevailed 3-1 versus Turner. 

Regular season matchups: Jrue Holiday took Boston’s first shot in two of five games, while Aaron Nesmith accomplished the same feat for Indiana. 

First quarter stats to know: 

Regular season first basket data: Game first field goal attempt percentage indicates how often a player had the first shot of the game during games that player started. For example, if Jaylen Brown secured it in 15 of 50 starts, then he would own a game first FGA stat of 30%. On the other hand, team first field goal attempt percentage is how often players took their respective team’s first shot in their starts. 

Game First FGA%Team First FGA%Starts
Jaylen Brown21.4%31.4%70
Myles Turner16.8%36.3%77
Jrue Holiday15.9%20.2%69
Al Horford15.1%18.1%33
Kristaps Porzingis14%24.5%57
Jayson Tatum9.4%18.9%74
Andrew Nembhard8.5%31.9%47
Pascal Siakam7.3%17%41
Derrick White6.8%8.2%73
Aaron Nesmith6.3%12.7%47
Tyrese Haliburton1.4%7.3%68

Mavericks vs. Timberwolves first basket

Tipoff: Rudy Gobert was 1-0 against Daniel Gafford this season, but it occurred when Gafford was a member of the Wizards. 

Regular season matchups: These teams did not play after the trade deadline, which is when Dallas dramatically changed its roster.

First quarter stats to know: 

Regular season first basket data: 

Game First FGA%Team First FGA%Starts
Kyrie Irving18.9%31%58
Mike Conley11.8%23.6%76
Luka Doncic11.4%28.5%70
Karl-Anthony Towns11.2%29%71
Jaden McDaniels11.2%21.1%62
Anthony Edwards6.4%11.5%78
Derrick Jones Jr.4.5%12.1%66
Rudy Gobert3.9%19.7%76
PJ Washington3.5%14.2%28
Daniel Gafford0%14.2%21
Photo by Associated Press