Best NBA First Basket Scorer Picks for Monday, Feb. 12 (Target Donovan Mitchell, JJJ)

Breaking down the best first basket scorer picks in the NBA for the action on Monday, Feb. 12.

 Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45).
Cleveland Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell (45). / Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
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One of the most fun bets to place in the NBA is the "First Basket Scorer" prop, as it adds a ton of intrigue to the opening possessions of the game.

It's not an easy prop to predict, as it comes with a ton of variability between who wins the jump ball, and how the team's opening offensive possessions go.

The best things to look at when handicapping this market are the tip percentage win of the team's big man, the first field goal attempts and first field goal makes. With 10 games in the NBA on Monday, here are a few players to look at for this prop with a chance to cash in on some favorable odds.

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NBA First Basket Scorer Picks and Predictions

  • Donte DiVincenzo First Basket Scorer (+700)
  • Jaren Jackson Jr. First Basket Scorer (+450)
  • Donovan Mitchell First Basket Scorer (+400)

Donte DiVincenzo First Basket Scorer (+700)

Donte DiVincenzo has only scored the first basket of the game one time this season, but he could be undervalued just a bit against the Houston Rockets. 

Jalen Brunson is the obvious choice for the New York Knicks, but DiVincenzo's usage has been crazy since Julius Randle went down. Over his last seven games, he’s averaging 21.6 shots per game – attempting at least 15 in each matchup. 

If Brunson keeps seeing double teams right out of the gate, DiVincenzo could be a sneaky target on Monday. 

Jaren Jackson Jr. First Basket Scorer (+450)

Jaren Jackson Jr. of the Memphis Grizzlies may be the best bet on this entire slate with so many key Grizzlies players (Desmond Bane, Ja Morant, Marcus Smart) still out of the lineup. 

This season, JJJ and the Grizzlies have won 69.8 percent of their jump balls, a great sign for them getting the first possession in this matchup with the New Orleans Pelicans, who have won just 49.1 percent of their opening tips. 

Only Jalen Brunson (36 percent) attempts the first field goal for his team more than JJJ of the team’s playing tonight. JJJ takes the first shot in games 31.3 percent of the time. He’s also made 12 first baskets – tied with Donovan Mitchell for the most by a player this season that also plays tonight. 

I love JJJ to get things going for Memphis tonight. 

Donovan Mitchell First Basket Scorer (+400)

I already mentioned Mitchell, who has 12 first baskets already this season, but that’s not the only reason why I like him. 

Cleveland has won the jump ball 72.5 percent of the time this season, and it takes on the Philadelphia 76ers tonight, who won’t have Joel Embiid and instead have Paul Reed likely jumping against Jarrett Allen. 

While Mitchell only attempts the first shot 16.7 percent of the time this season, he’s still recorded the most first baskets of any Cavs player. Roll with him against this depleted Philly team. 


Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

Find Peter Dewey's NBA betting record here (futures included). You can also follow my daily plays on BetStamp here.