What Does “Method of First Basket” Mean in Sports Betting?

Companies featured on this page may be our partners that compensate us if you sign up for one through our links. This doesn't affect our ratings or opinions in any way. Learn more here. Must be 21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

In basketball, a “method of first basket” bet refers to how the first basket of the game will be scored—such as a dunk, free throw, layup, or three-pointer—as well as who will score it.

For example, if the Denver Nuggets are playing the Miami Heat, options for the “method of first basket” bet for Nikola Jokic and Jimmy Butler may include:

  • Nikoka Jokic Other | +650
  • Nikola Jokic Layup | +1400
  • Jimmy Butler Other | +1600
  • Jimmy Butler Layup | +2000
  • Jimmy Butler Free Throw | +3600
  • Nikola Jokic Free Throw | +3800
  • Nikola Jokic Three-Pointer | +4700
  • Jimmy Butler Dunk | +8500
  • Jimmy Butler Three-Pointer | +11000
  • Nikola Jokic Dunk | +12000

While it's possible to use statistics to figure out which options have favorable odds, it's often hard to predict with so many options for each game. Method of first basket markets typically include dunk, layup, free throw, three-pointer, and “other” all 10 starters, resulting in around 50 total choices.

All of the best NBA betting sites offer this sports betting market. Some even let you do method of first basket bets for a specific team. So, in the example above, you could bet the method of first basket for the Nuggets and Heat individually.

I like to view method of first basket bets as a “for fun” bet and don't recommend trying to make money off them. These markets tend to have more vig/juice than traditional types of sports bets and it's hard to get them right with so many options for each game.

Still, the method of first basket market makes for an exhilarating start to a game—a big part of why they are so popular.

*Special offers from our partners. May vary by state. Must be 21+. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER

Our Partners

Sign-Up Bonus

Next Steps

Bet $5, Get $200 in Bonus Bets

States: AZ, CO, CT, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MA MD, MI, NJ, OH, NY, PA, TN, WV, WY, VA.

$1,000 First Bet on Caesars

States: AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, MD, MA, MI, NJ, NY, NV, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY

Up to $1,500 Back in Bonus Bets

States: AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV, WY

10x $100 Second Chance Bets

States: CO, IA, IL, IN, KS, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, PA, VA, WV

Dave Rathmanner

Dave Rathmanner is the Founder & CEO of Odds Assist. After struggling to find helpful sports betting resources and honest reviews when he first started betting, he decided to create the site he always wished he had. Dave has been betting on sports since NJ legalized it in 2018 and regularly analyzes sportsbooks to find the best options for bettors. Aside from creating new content for OA readers, Dave is also passionate about researching betting markets, creating models, and developing profitable betting strategies.