Betting on the first basket scorer is an interesting tactic in some ways. It is a bet that often offers some decent odds. A result is a certainty one way or the other. And you won’t be waiting long.
BUT THAT’S ONE OF THE PROBLEMS…
As soon as a player scores, your bet is either won or lost and the whole rest of the game is still to be played. For that reason, here at The Jump Hub office, we like to have a few, low stake bets on which individual team or player will score first, just to kick off the excitement of settling down to watch our favorite sport.
In fact, it is the only situation where any of the team members will tolerate a parlay bet of any kind. Because the stake amounts can be super-low, but the rewards extremely high, there is nothing to really worry about. Pick 4 or 5 games and select the most likely first scorer. Drop a small amount on each in a parlay (accumulator) bet and you’re good to go.
Chances are the bet will fail within the first minute of the games and you focus on the action and your other, more carefully considered bets and any live betting that you plan to do.
BUT THOSE OF YOU WHO REGULARLY INCORPORATE LARGER PARLAY BETS AS PART OF YOUR WIDER NBA BETTING STRATEGY – NEED TO HAVE YOUR HEADS EXAMINED
In basketball, the first scorer is usually determined very rapidly at the start of the game. With a bit of research and knowledge of the game, we can narrow down who we think the first scorer will be quite nicely.
There are only 10 available players to choose from and some of those are not in positions where we would typically expect them to snag the first basket.
That’s not to say that they can’t break the mold and ruin our strategy but typically we’re expecting the offensive players to push up and score right from the beginning.
And that brings us to our first, perhaps most crucial point:
Now your knowledge of players and team dynamics will come into play. If you are a little unfamiliar with the teams or players in question, then some basic research will give you more than enough information to make your choices for the first scorer. More of that later.
The tip-off essentially just comes down to the two tallest players (usually the centers or power forwards) going up against each other in the middle of the court to try and get first possession of the ball. This first possession is crucial and often leads to the first points on the board.
SO, HOW DO YOU PICK WHICH PLAYER YOU THINK WILL WIN THE TIP-OFF?
Well, it really is quite easy to find the information you need to make a well-educated guess here. If one guy is 2.05m tall and averages 10+ rebounds per game, the chances are that he’s going to snaffle the ball if he tips off against a 1.9m opponent with an average of 6 rebounds. It usually won’t be quite so black and white as that but for illustrative purposes, it will do for now.
So, find out who usually tips off for each team and decide who you think will come out on top in that first exchange. Now then.
It is highly unlikely that the guy who goes up to claim the tip-off ball will simply drive to the paint and deposit the ball. In fact, it’s rather unlikely that he will straight-up catch the ball at all. He’s much more likely to touch it back to a teammate who will then start the offense. There’s every chance that the first guy then makes a move toward the rim and gets the ball back but we’re now in the realms of “anything could happen” so we have to reign it in a little.
WE’RE NEVER DEALING WITH ABSOLUTES IN ANY KIND OF SPORTS BETTING
We must be able to assess and consider anything that can genuinely tell us something useful but recognize when we have passed the point of deduction into pure speculation. There are still any number of things that can affect where the basketball ends up in the first few seconds of a game. We deal with concrete statistics where possible. There is a time and a place for “gut instinct” but those times and places should be few and far between.
Here is a fact that helps guide us when predicting where the first baskets are going to come from:
THE TEAM THAT WINS THE TIP-OFF SCORES THE FIRST POINTS IN THE GAME AROUND 65% OF THE TIME
This being the case, it certainly seems prudent to study the team you have decided will claim the first possession. Figure out how they generally go about organizing their offense from there. Team dynamics and tactics alter depending on what players are rotated on and off the court. But right from the word “go”, we can be pretty sure that they have a typical style of advancing. We just need to find out what it is.
THERE IS NO FINER RESOURCE THAN BASKETBALLREFERENCE.COM WHEN IT COMES TO COMPARING AND ANALYZING STATS
We cannot recommend highly enough that you dig around that site. Take your time and learn how to access all the information that it has to offer. Our articles on all the recent action, including – ‘NBA Playoffs Betting Review’ – would have been nightmarishly difficult to complete without the stats and play-by-play descriptions of each game.
It’s actually fascinating to look at the ebb and flow of a game that way. You can see the periods when one team fails to score for extended periods and when flurries of activity happen. Sure, we watched the games and made notes but these guys are on a level that is mind-blowingly detailed. Seriously, take a look.
Each team will have its “go-to” guys who are the most likely first or second receivers of the basketball after it is claimed by one team or the other. Have a look at which players take the most shots in any given game. Even the most cursory look should give you an idea of which players are most likely to take the first shots.
Remember though – you are not the first person to consider this fact. The defensive team also has a word to say on the matter. Adrenaline and energy are high at the start of any game. Those defenders charged with stopping key players from the opposition performing will surely be fired up and ready to thwart them.
IF YOUR DESIGNATED GO-TO GUY FINDS HIMSELF MATCHED UP AGAINST AN ELITE DEFENDER THEN YOU MIGHT NEED TO CONSIDER SOME LESS-OBVIOUS FIRST-SCORER OPTIONS.
It’s pretty obvious that a first-scorer player prop bet is exciting for two main reasons. As we mentioned, it is settled in the first moments of the first half. There’s no need to sweat it right until the final moments of the game. It’s a rapid result and that appeals to those of us with short attention spans. You either win or you don’t, and you know it right away. If you are an advanced bettor then you might even use the knowledge of the first scorer as a guide that determines the direction of your live betting.
Secondly, the odds of any player being first to score are virtually always between +350 and +1250. For new customers, that means if you put down $100 as your stake, you win back between $350 or $1,250. Not including your original stake.
Pretty tasty right?
That’s more value than you can expect to find in almost any other aspect of NBA prop markets. So, have the sportsbooks missed a trick?
NOT A CHANCE
While it is true that the options for the first scorer in any specific game are limited to 1 of 10 players; picking which one is extremely difficult.
We’ve given you a few tips and tricks to try and narrow down your choices but the fact remains – right from the tip-off, the basketball could be nudged back to the most defensively-oriented player. In a game where there are only 5 men on each team, players are no longer “one-trick-ponies” and almost all of them are also extremely capable of going forwards and scoring.
So, this makes it extremely difficult to predict who will take first blood.
The player with the longest odds has a really decent chance of scoring first. Now that’s great if you threw a few dollars at the notion of him doing so. But it’s not really a sustainable tactic for serious bettors to just guess or pick the player based on the market odds.
That’s where we come back to the idea of the parlay bet. If you are prepared to bet smaller amounts and combine them onto one ticket then a winner will make you some serious dough.
If you are determined to avoid the dreaded parlays (we feel you) then first basket scorer stats and relevant data can help to a point. But there is no tried and true process for consistently predicting any NBA first basket. Hence the tempting odds from the bookmakers.
As we always say when penning articles like this – sports betting can be an exciting, even edifying experience. When done purely for entertainment purposes it can enhance your enjoyment of just about any sport.
BUT IT IS NOT FOR EVERYBODY…
There are those among us who have addictive natures and can find themselves with a gambling problem before they even realize it.
Take your betting seriously and regularly assess your attitude towards it. It can be very difficult to view a situation objectively when you are bang in the middle of it but try to answer certain questions on a regular basis. Be honest with yourself. There’s no sense being in denial and the first step to correcting any issues is in recognising the facts.
Am I only placing wagers with money that I can afford to lose?
Have I been ramping up my betting as time passes?
If I lose a wager, do I feel the need to immediately place another to try and balance things out?
Do I think about gambling more than almost anything else?
Could I stop gambling for a month if I wanted to?
Watch out for the signs. If possible, have a set of rules that you never break no matter what. If you feel that’s excessive or unnecessary for your situation, at least stick to the golden rule:
WHEN THE FUN STOPS, STOP.
Now go out there and enjoy yourselves, you crazy kids. Just keep one foot on the ground, please. We’ve got enough on our plates without having to worry about encouraging you to go overboard and end up in crisis counseling.