Best NBA First Basket Scorer Picks for Friday, March 29 (Target Jalen Brunson, Max Strus)

Breaking down the best first basket scorer picks in the NBA for the action on Friday, March 29.

New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson.
New York Knicks guard Jalen Brunson. / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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Friday's NBA action features a MASSIVE slate with 12 games tipping off and plenty of playoff implications on the line as we enter the final stretch of the regular season.

If you don't have time to lock in for every game but still want to wager, why not consider a first-basket scorer prop that'll be decided in the opening minutes?

I have a few players that I'm looking to target in this market, using the latest data on first shot percentage, first baskets scored, and jump ball win percentage as our main guide. Let's break them down:

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NBA First Basket Scorer Picks and Predictions

  • Max Strus First Basket Scorer (+850)
  • Jalen Brunson First Basket Scorer (+500)
  • Kevin Durant First Basket Scorer (+600)

Max Strus First Basket Scorer (+850)

Donovan Mitchell (questionable) may return for the Cleveland Cavaliers tonight, but I think Max Strus is undervalued in this prop.

The Heat sharpshooter is first on the Cavs in first shot percentage this season (19.7 percent), and that’s led to seven first baskets. 

The Cavs spread the ball around early in games, and they’re also in a great spot to get the ball first, winning the jump ball in 72.6 percent of games. 

Jalen Brunson First Basket Scorer (+500)

Jalen Brunson is a usage monster for the New York Knicks, taking the first shot in 28.4 percent of his games this season. 

Not only that but Brunson leads the Knicks with 12 first baskets on the season. 

I’m worried about New York winning the jump ball against the San Antonio Spurs and Victor Wembanyama, but this price is too good to pass up. 

Nikola Jokic, who is second to Brunson in first shot percentage amongst players in action tonight, is +370 to score first. 

Kevin Durant First Basket Scorer (+600)

Kevin Durant has scored 25 or more points in three straight games, carrying the Phoenix Suns to keep them back in the conversation for the No. 6 seed in the West. 

KD is one of the best players to target this season in the first basket market for several reasons:

  • The Suns win the jump ball in 71.2 percent of their games this season
  • Durant takes the first shot in 21.5 percent of the Suns’ games – the most on the team
  • Durant has 10 first baskets – also the most on the team

With Shai Gilgeous-Alexander listed as doubtful for OKC, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Durant and the Suns get on the board first tonight.


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.