Best NBA First Basket Scorer Picks for Monday, March 18 (Target Desmond Bane, Jalen Brunson)

Breaking down the best first basket scorer picks in the NBA for the action on Monday, March 18.

Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane.
Memphis Grizzlies guard Desmond Bane. / Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
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An eight-game NBA slate on Monday gives bettors plenty of chances to wager on a first-basket scorer, and I've narrowed down a few players that I think are worth a sprinkle in this market on March 18.

Betting on first-basket scorers can be tricky since there is a ton of variability in the first few possessions of a game, but using previous games, a player's first shot percentage, and jump ball win percentage are ways to give ourselves a bit of an edge in this market.

Plus, the odds are usually pretty favorable, making one cashed bet a solid return. Here's who to target on Monday night:

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NBA First Basket Scorer Picks and Predictions

  • Desmond Bane First Basket Scorer (+475)
  • Bam Adebayo First Basket Scorer (+480)
  • Jalen Brunson First Basket Scorer (+490)

Desmond Bane First Basket Scorer (+475)

Desmond Bane returned to action for the Memphis Grizzlies against the Oklahoma City Thunder after a lengthy absence, and he promptly poured in the first bucket of the game. 

Bane has taken the first shot in 21.6 percent of his games this season, and while that’s still behind teammate Jaren Jackson Jr., JJJ has played most of this season without Bane and Ja Morant in action. 

I think Bane assumes the role as the No. 1 option in the team’s offense going forward, and we know the Grizz are elite at winning the jump ball (67.6 percent of the time). Their opponent tonight – the Sacramento Kings – wins the jump just 30.3 percent of the time this season. 

That sets up well for Bane to score first. 

Bam Adebayo First Basket Scorer (+480)

Coming off his game-winning 3-pointer against the Detroit Pistons on Sunday, Bam Adebayo could be in a good spot to score first tonight against the Philadelphia 76ers. 

Bam and the Heat win the tip in 59.7 percent of their games, and the All-Star center is often taking the first shot of the game because of that, attempting it in 22.8 percent of his games. 

That’s led to 12 first baskets for Bam on the season, and with Jimmy Butler missing yesterday’s game, Adebayo may be forced to carry the offense again on Monday. 

Jalen Brunson First Basket Scorer (+490)

Why not bet on the guy who has put together back-to-back 40-point outings to lead a struggling offense to two wins in a row?

Jalen Brunson is taking the first shot in New York Knicks games 30.6 percent of the time – the second-highest mark of any player in action tonight (only JJJ has taken it more). 

Brunson has scored the first bucket 12 times, and he has a favorable matchup tonight, as the Golden State Warriors win the jump ball just 37.9 percent of the time this season. 

If New York gets the rock first, it’s hard to see the team letting anyone else but the red-hot Brunson get the scoring started.


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.