NBA Player Props & First Basket Scorer Bets for Friday’s Playoffs: Booker Eyes Early Bucket is an independent sports news and information service. has partnerships with some of the top legal and licensed sportsbook companies in the US. Gaming Today may receive referral compensation from the sportsbook company when you claim a bonus offer or promotion through a link on this site. 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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The NBA has a couple of exciting games on Friday night’s schedule. The Celtics look to keep their foot on the gas and reclaim home-court advantage against the 76ers, after a 30-point victory in Game 2. In the second game of the doubleheader, the Nuggets try to take their second 3-0 lead of the playoffs and essentially punch their ticket to the Western Conference Finals. With so much on the line, check out some of the best player props and first basket scorer bets for these NBA Playoff games.

Betting previews: Celtics vs. 76ers Game 3 predictions, odds, props | Nuggets vs. Suns Game 3 predictions, odds, props

NBA Playoff First Basket Scorers and More Player Props for Friday

The pressure is on for multiple stars tonight, including James Harden, Joel Embiid, Kevin Durant, and Devin Booker. This season’s championship dreams hinge on great performances in these Game 3s.

First Basket Scorer Prop Odds for 76ers vs. Celtics Game 3

With Embiid back in the lineup, the Sixers’ chances of putting the ball through the hoop first get a boost thanks to his opening tip percentage. That’s significant given they have already won the opening tip and scored first in both games. Embiid, in fact, is the favorite to put the ball in the basket first, according to odds posted at the top online sportsbooks.

PlayerDraftKingsFanDuelCaesars (Code 'TODAYFULL')
Joel Embiid+380+360+325
Jaylen Brown+450+600+450
Jason Tatum+550+500+475
James Harden+600+550+700
Tyreese Maxey+650+800+800
Al Horford+950+900+900

Embiid’s opening tip win percentage is 67%, and Al Horford’s is 43%. The Celtics made it clear from the jump ball in the last matchup that they were going to send help in the paint to keep Embiid from dominating. If the Celtics maintain their defensive intensity from the previous contest, it’s going to take a while to get the big man going.

That’s where Harden comes in. To help alleviate the pressure from the MVP, Harden must hit shots. Given he is coming off a poor performance after one of the best of his career, Harden may be looking to get himself going offensively before getting others involved.

In the games Philly strikes first, it’s typically either Harden or Embiid who gets the bucket, but The Beard offers a nicer price.

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Best Player Prop Bets for 76ers vs. Celtics Game 3

Now that Embiid has had a chance to get his game legs under him, the team should be better able to incorporate him into the offense, which seemed forced and stagnant for most of Game 2. As for Boston, if they get more of the same from Jaylen Brown and Jason Tatum, they’ll be extremely difficult to out.

Jaylen Brown to Score the Most Three Pointers (+475 on DraftKings)

Brown has connected on at least three attempts from deep in his last five outings on better than 50% shooting each time. The Celtics couldn’t miss from deep and multiple of his teammates lit it up from beyond the arc. In Game 1, only Tatum connected on more three-point attempts than Brown. Tatum backed up that performance with a seven-point outing in Game 2, thanks to the defense of P.J. Tucker.

That leaves Brown as the lone consistent shooter from deep in this series for Boston. The cherry on top is that Brown is averring six three-point attempts over the last five games.

Jaylen Brown to Lead All Scorers (+255 on DraftKings)

Although Tatum has been the leading scorer for the Cs the bulk of the playoffs, Brown has been far more efficient. He also has the better matchup in the series now that the Sixers have switched Tucker onto Tatum after the 39-point Game 1 performance. Tucker was responsible for defending Brown in Game 1. Although Brown scored 23 points on 8-for-10 shooting, Tucker is the reason he didn’t take even more shots.

Tucker has a defensive rating of 109.1 in the playoffs this year, and whoever he guards in this series is going to struggle. Given how dominant he was against Tatum, Philly is likely to keep him on Tatum and look for alternatives to slow Brown. Whatever they decide, Brown has been red-hot and is now in a great position to cash this wager, given Tatum’s struggles with Tucker.

More hoops betting action: Odds to win 2023 NBA Finals | NBA Playoff game betting lines

First Basket Scorer Odds for Nuggets vs. Suns Game 3

The Suns have struck first in both games so far thanks to Booker, and with the series shifting back to Phoenix, the expected environment favors them to keep the streak going.

PlayerDraftKingsFanDuelCaesars (Code 'TODAYFULL')
Devin Booker+450+380+375
Nikola Jokic+450+420+450
Kevin Durant+500+470+425
Deandre Ayton+500+550+525
Jamal Murray +500+650+550
Michael Porter Jr. +900+1100+750

Deandre Ayton’s opening tip win percentage is 71%, a vast difference from Nikola Jokic’s 50% clip. Booker takes the first shot for his team only 15% of the time, but he has upped his level of aggression in the playoffs, despite the 2-0 hole the Suns find themselves in at the moment. He has shot early and often, leading or tying in attempts for his team in his last five outings. Now that the team is headed home with their backs against the wall, it’s not likely he’ll dial it back now.

From the jump ball, look for Booker to continue his level of play to try and keep Phoenix’s title hopes alive.

Best Player Prop Bets for Nuggets vs. Suns Game 3

As explosive as Booker and Durant are, Jokic and Jamal Murray have matched their abilities to this point. That’s problematic for the Suns, especially given their lack of scoring power beyond their starting lineup. To stay competitive, they’ll need explosive performances from both Durant and Booker.

Durant to Score Over 30 Points (-105 on FanDuel)

Good news for Phoenix fans is that Durant has a 3-1 record in Game 3s after trailing 2-0 in a playoff series. The bad news is that he hasn’t had the best performances in most of those games. However, due to being short-handed, he’ll have to shoot the ball a good number of times. He struggled in the last game, but the shots were there.

Durant has scored nearly 30 points in every game so far in the playoffs, and that’s shooting well below the number of attempts he finds himself having to shoot now. As a 56% shooter on the season, racking up points is his specialty, and his coach will surely be asking him to do just that.

Bruce Brown to Score Over 10 Points (+104 on Caesars)

Bruce Brown has scored at least 11 points in five of Denver’s last seven games in the postseason. In the first two games of this series, he chipped in 14- and 9-point performances. He is holding steady at 25 minutes per game in the second round, helping defend Booker in spurts. Although his shots took a dip in the second game due to Jokic’s dominant performance, it’s not likely Monty Williams will allow as many clean looks for the Joker so much on the line for them tonight.

With Jokic and Murray getting the Suns’ undivided attention, Brown should see more shot attempts when he is in the game. Given that the vast majority of his points come from the painted area, he has a good chance to cover this wager if he does see an increase in attempts.

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About the Author
David Fletcher

David Fletcher

David Fletcher is a sports betting writer at Gaming Today. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Stephen F. Austin State University and has nearly a decade of experience covering high school, collegiate, and professional sports in Houston. Fletcher is a big fan of the Astros, Rockets, and, unfortunately, according to him, the Texans. He enjoys bringing his love of sports and writing to the gaming industry, providing insight into quality sports bets.

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