NBA First Basket Betting Preview For NBA Finals: Stats & Expert Analysis

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The 2024 NBA Finals between the Dallas Mavericks and Boston Celtics is finally here, and first-basket prop bets remain a popular market.

When betting on NBA games, more specifically a first-basket prop, the goal is to choose the player who will go on to score the first basket of the game. One crucial difference between online sportsbooks is the matter of free throws. Online sportsbooks like FanDuel, for instance, count free throws as part of the bet and list the prop as a first basket. On the other hand, the prop will appear as a first field goal bet should free throws not count — DraftKings and BetMGM fall into this category.

Variants of the first basket prop include who will score first for each team and the exact method of the first basket. For example, DraftKings and BetMGM offer lines on whether the first field goal will be a two-pointer or three-pointer, while FanDuel offers more granular 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.

Mavericks vs. Celtics first basket preview

Tipoff: Kristaps Porzingis and Daniel Gafford did not face each other in the tipoff this season. Porzingis is one of the best jumpers in the NBA, while Gafford struggled mightily all year. Therefore, the Celtics’ big man has a considerable advantage here. It’s worth noting that Porzingis is coming off a calf injury, which may hinder his tipoff prowess.

Regular season matchups: In the sole game between these two teams after the trade deadline, Luka Doncic secured the first shot of the game and scored on a layup. On the other side, Jaylen Brown had Boston’s first shot, and Porzingis converted the Celtics’ first basket on a 3-pointer.

First quarter stats to know:

Regular season first basket data: The following stats only include games from the regular season. Game first field goal attempt percentage represents how often a player had the first shot of the game in games that player started. For example, Kyrie Irving secured it in 11 of 58 starts, which translates to a game first FGA stat of 18.9%. On the other hand, team first field goal attempt percentage shows 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
Kyrie Irving18.9%31%58
Jrue Holiday15.9%20.2%69
Al Horford15.1%18.1%33
Kristaps Porzingis14%24.5%57
Luka Doncic11.4%28.5%70
Dereck Lively II9.5%23.8%42
Jayson Tatum9.4%18.9%74
Derrick White6.8%8.2%73
Derrick Jones Jr.4.5%12.1%66
P.J. Washington3.5%14.2%28
Daniel Gafford0%14.2%21

Playoff first basket data: The following stats only include games from the 2024 postseason.

Game First FGA%Team First FGA%Starts
Jaylen Brown28.5%35.7%14
Jrue Holiday28.5%28.5%14
Luka Doncic23.5%41.1%17
Jayson Tatum14.2%28.5%14
Kyrie Irving11.7%11.7%17
Daniel Gafford5.8%17.6%17
P.J. Washington0%23.5%17
Al Horford0%10%10
Derrick Jones Jr.0%5.8%17
Kristaps Porzingis0%0%4
Derrick White0%0%14
Photo by Associated Press