NBA Player Props & First Basket Scorers, Feb. 16: Giannis, Ayton Look for Early Buckets is an independent sports news and information service. has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. When you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site, Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company. Although the relationships we have with sportsbook companies may influence the order in which we place companies on the site, all reviews, recommendations, and opinions are wholly our own. They are the recommendations from our authors and contributors who are avid sports fans themselves.

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Thursday’s three-game pro basketball slate features two primetime contests on TNT. As exciting as these matchups are, we’re focusing on the best NBA player props and first-basket props that bettors may want to consider taking

Among those prop bets are plays on Giannis Antetokounmpo scoring the first basket of the game against the Chicago Bulls, and Ivica Zubac cleaning the glass against the Phoenix Suns.

Clippers vs. Suns Betting Lines: Point Spread, Moneyline, Total

Thursday’s nightcap is an all-Western Conference clash between the Los Angeles Clippers (between -105 and -110) and Suns (between -110 and -115). Both teams boast winning records and star players, so bettors should have fun with this one.

Below are the betting lines from top sports betting apps for Clippers vs. Suns.

Player Props for NBA Thursday

Giannis Antetokounmpo First Basket (+350, DraftKings)

In order to get the first bucket of the game, your team must have the ball, and the best way to do that is by winning the tip-off.

The Milwaukee Bucks have the highest tip-off winning percentage at 72%, while the Bulls have the fourth-lowest tip-off winning percentage at 36%. The Bucks have a huge edge here, and once they have the ball, they’ll look to get their best player in Antetokounmpo the ball to put points on the board.

We have Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo (34) circled on our list of NBA player props and 1st basket props for this Thursday. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

The Greek Freak is the most prolific scorer on the floor tonight, averaging 32.5 points and 21.4 shots per game. He should have no problem getting to the paint tonight, as Chicago is 23rd in the NBA in defending finishes at the rim.

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DeAndre Ayton First Basket Scorer (+400, FanDuel)

Piggybacking off the previous play, the Phoenix Suns have a huge advantage at winning the tipoff over the Clippers tonight, and the Suns player with the most “first basket” betting value is DeAndre Ayton. Phoenix’s starting center shoots 29% of the team’s first shot attempts and makes 29% of the team’s first field goals.

This play is contingent on Ayton winning the opening tip, but considering Phoenix wins 66% of tip-offs (fifth-highest in NBA), we feel good about the Suns getting the ball first and then going to Ayton for the first bucket.

More on NBA: NBA MVP Odds

Ivica Zubac Over 9.5 Rebounds (+105, DraftKings)

Ivica Zubac has been on a tear on the glass recently. He’s logged double-digit rebounds in five of his last seven games, averaging exactly 10 boards in the process.

That tear came to an end in his last outing when he logged just two rebounds against the Warriors. Nonetheless, he’s been playing well overall over the past two weeks and now gets matched up against a center in DeAndre Ayton who doesn’t space the floor. That’ll allow Zubac to get cozy in the paint and maintain excellent rebounding position.

Zach LaVine Under 2.5 Three Pointers (-114, BetRivers)

We’re starting to realize that three-point props are some of the best prop bets on the market, because some of these lines and prices don’t add up.

That’s especially the case for Zach LaVine, whose three-point prop line is a point too high for his price. The Bulls shooting guard is having a relatively down year as a shooter. His three-point percentage and makes are the lowest they’ve been in a few years. Looking at his recent form, he’s gone Under 2.5 threes in each of his last five games.

And if you thought it couldn’t get worse for LaVine Thursday night, the Bucks allow the eighth-fewest treys to shooting guards and hold opponents to 34.6% shooting from downtown (fourth-lowest three-point percentage).

Also read: NBA Finals odds

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About the Author
Cyrus Eshaghoff

Cyrus Eshaghoff

Cyrus Eshaghoff is a New York-based sports betting writer at Gaming Today who covers the UFC, NFL, and NBA. Whether it's heated debates or uncovering statistical insights, he loves discussing (and writing about) sports.

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