How to Bet on NBA Games

How to Bet on NBA Games

Despite the NBA’s popularity, not everyone knows how to start betting on their favorite team.

The NBA Betting Guide

Some bettors start placing their bets during the offseason, when players are being drafted, or during the free-agency period.

Others wait for the action on the court to start placing their bets during the regular season and playoffs, when the NBA hype is at its greatest and basketball fans are excited to rally behind their team.

You can bet on the NBA in person, through a mobile app, or on sports betting websites in various states.

If you are one of those bettors who wants to bet from the convenience of home, there’s no need to look anywhere else.

Before placing your bets, check out the betting options you can use to make this year’s NBA season more exciting.

Moneyline Bets

If you’re going for a straight-up bet, then moneyline is for you.

It’s very simple. You just have to pick a team that you think will win the game and bet on it.

A bookmaker or sportsbook is the one who takes bets, gives payouts, and calculates the odds.

These odds are the numbers that represent the likelihood of a particular team winning. They are offered by the bookmaker, so you can decide which team to bet on— the favorite or the underdog.

When you look at these odds, notice the numbers with the (-) negative and (+) positive signs.

The team with a (-) sign in their odds means that it is the team favored to win the game, while the team with the (+) sign odds is the underdog or the team predicted as less likely to succeed.

In moneyline betting, the payout for each bet depends on the moneyline odds assigned to that team.

Here’s an example for you to better understand moneyline betting:

Let’s say that Team A has odds of +150, while the odds for Team B is -150.

Looking at these examples, we already know that Team A is the underdog and Team B is the favorite because of the (+) and (-) signs.

If you bet $100 on Team A (underdog) with +150 odds, you can win $150 plus your original bet amount, which is $100. Your total payout will then be $250.

But if you bet on Team B (favorite), you have to bet $150 to win a profit of $100.

Placing a bet on the underdog will give you higher payouts than your original stake compared to betting on the favorite, which gives you a lesser payout.

You can use the following formulas instead:

For the team with (+) odds:

Potential Payout = Your stake x (Odds/100) + your stake

For the team with (-) odds:

Potential Payout = Your stake / (Odds/100) + your stake

Point Spread Bets

Point spread bets focus on the final scores of the team.

With this type of bet, you don’t just choose who you think will win the game. You also bet on the winning or losing team’s projected point difference.

Bookmakers set the point spreads (betting lines) or the estimated score difference for each team.

Once the point spread has been established, the favored team should win by more than the set point spread.

Meanwhile, the underdog should win the game outright or lose by less than the number of points in the spread.

To illustrate this more clearly, let’s say that +7.5 point spread odds were set for the Toronto Raptors and -7.5 for the Boston Celtics.

With this spread, you can see that the Celtics are the favorite, and the Raptors are the underdogs.

Let’s say you bet on the Celtics. If the Celtics win by 8 points, they cover the spread, and you win the bet.

If you bet on the Raptors and lose by 5 points, they still cover the spread, and you win your bet!

Even if the Raptors lose the game, if they lose by 7 points or fewer, they still cover the spread.

You may be wondering why the spread is set with a 0.5 difference. This is called a half-point line.

Half-point lines are set to avoid situations in which the final score equates to the same spread that was set.

In the example above, a spread set at 7.5 means that the underdog still covers the spread with up to a 7-point margin of victory.

An 8-point margin of success will be an against the spread (ATS) victory for the favorite.

Frequently, handicapping is used with point spread betting. Handicaps balance the bets between the favored team and the underdog.

Learn more about point spread bets here.

Over/Under Bets

Like point spread bets, in over/under betting, the bookmaker sets a total number of points from both teams playing the game.

You can bet on whether the total score at the end of the game goes under or over the number set by the bookmaker.

Over/under bets are also called totals bets. This type of NBA betting is discussed more here.

Parlay Bets

In parlay betting, you collectively bet on several different bets.

Look at it this way: as a bettor, you put your money on several individual bets, but you only win when all of your bets win.

Proposition Bets

Prop bets or proposition bets are bets made on events unrelated to the game’s final outcome.

They can be about a specific player’s performance or a situation that may happen during the game.

Basketball fans who follow a particular player may enjoy this type of bet.

During this bet, a player’s total points and their rebounds or assists can be bet on.

Futures Bets

As the name implies, futures bets involve the outcome of future games. They are not limited to a particular game and can span throughout the season.

Futures are done when you want to bet on who will be the next NBA champions or the season’s MVP.

Read more about futures bets here.

Live Betting

Unlike the other betting types, live betting is done during the actual game. This real-time option allows you to place bets on the ongoing basketball action without overthinking the odds.

The key to live betting is to quickly place your bets because of this betting type’s fast-paced nature.

Bets on halftime lines and quarter or first-half lines are often made during live betting. In halftime line betting, the bettor decides which team to bet on after the first half.

Quarter or first-half line bets are made during the first half of the game.

With first-half line betting, you make your bet before the game, and the outcome is decided at the end of a quarter. Whoever leads at the set time wins the bet.

NBA Betting Strategy Guide

Now that you’re familiar with the betting odds and the betting market, let’s move on to strategizing for a successful bet.

When it comes to sports betting, you have to be critical. After all, you’re risking hard-earned money on these teams.

1. Know your NBA history

Historical data will tell you whether a particular team has already won a championship and which matchups they are struggling with.

Watching past NBA games and paying attention to the grudge matches can also help you create your betting strategies.

These grudge matches are often exciting due to the rivalry between two teams or specific players.

When learning more about the team’s history, don’t forget to research each player’s injury reports.

You wouldn’t want to be in a situation in which you bet on a player or a game without knowing that the star player is injured.

You can lose real money just because you didn’t check the injury updates.

To avoid these situations, take advantage of these facts as you strategize your betting plans.

2. Consider the NBA schedule

Tracking the NBA games’ schedule tells you when the team could be potentially exhausted from having back-to-back or two consecutive games.

Fatigue can affect team play and even the bookmaker’s odds.

It is also important to note when the home team plays on its own court.

A home-court advantage means that the team won’t travel to other cities to play.

This could imply that teams playing on their home court have less fatigue and are more well-rested than players traveling to play in the opposing team’s city.

3. Find the story behind the numbers

You have to understand why a bookmaker assigned those odds to that team.

Watch and learn how the coach strategizes each team’s move and analyze the team’s pace factor or how fast they can score in a game.

You can’t just bet on Lebron James because he is on the list of the NBA’s best players. Careful discernment of his play and his team’s game plan can give you a betting edge.

By looking at the numbers, you can make the odds work for you.

If you bet on the second half of the game, it is easier for you to put your money on a team that you feel will win just by looking at the first-half scores.

4. Fade the Public

Look at this strategy as simply betting against popular opinion.

Fading the public means that you are willing to take a risk by betting on the underdog instead of betting on the favorite.

5. Read the bookmaker

There are instances when NBA betting sites shade the betting lines to get equal betting action. They can also inflate the odds to encourage more bettors to put their money on a particular team.

Analyzing all the factors that may affect how the bookie perceives the odds may help you identify line shading and plan your bets around this.

6. Make a bankroll management plan

You need to set aside a budget for sports betting.

This way, you can track your finances and responsibly enjoy betting without any adverse effects on your lifestyle.

7. Check for legality issues

Before even placing a bet, make sure that sports betting is legal in your state.

Sports betting has been federally legal since 2018, when the United States Supreme Court lifted the ban.

Some states ban betting on collegiate teams and some minor leagues. But you have to know the specific state rules and regulations to verify sports betting legality in your area.

Check out if sports betting is legal in your state.

The NBA Game Odds and Betting Lines

Aside from the Superbowl, the NBA playoffs and regular seasons are other awaited sports events in America.

Bettors and bookies alike are elated to follow the best NBA teams and watch them score some hoops during this season.

Oddsmakers set the betting lines based on the player’s and team’s performance in the past basketball games and seasons.

These betting lines or gambling odds present betting parameters to guide NBA bettors in their online betting pursuit.

High-scoring teams and the most exciting matchups to look out for are assessed in appointing the game odds and betting lines.

Online sports bettors can look out for the biggest NBA blowouts recorded in past games.

NBA blowouts happen when one team wins by a large margin in the final score.

The biggest blowout in the NBA was in 1991 when the Cleveland Cavaliers toppled Miami Heat with an 80-point margin.

A more recent NBA blowout to note is the 2018 Charlotte Hornet’s 61-point win over the Memphis Grizzlies.

Besides updating yourself on blowouts, you should also pay attention to each team’s championship wins.

The teams with the most championship wins in NBA history are the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers with 17 titles.

They’re followed by the Chicago Bulls and Golden State Warriors with 6 titles and San Antonio Spurs with 5 titles.

The runners-up, with 3 championship wins, are the Detroit Pistons, Philadelphia 76ers, and Miami Heat.

On the other end of the spectrum are the NBA teams with the least number of championships. These include the Houston Rockets and New York Knicks, with 2 titles each.

The following teams have won one championship title: the Atlanta Hawks, Indiana Pacers, Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Toronto Raptors, Oklahoma City Thunders, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trailblazers, and Washington Wizards.

Six franchises haven’t gotten to the NBA finals yet.

These teams are the LA Clippers, Minnesota Timberwolves, Denver Nuggets, New Orleans Pelicans, Charlotte Hornets, and Memphis Grizzlies.

The Utah Jazz have made appearances in the NBA finals in 1997 and 1998 but have not made it to the championships.

These statistics are crucial to consider before betting. Knowing these facts will give you a basis for placing your bet and calculating your wins.

Place Your NBA Bets With Us

After knowing the types of bets, odds, and strategies that can guide you in online sports betting, you should also make sure that you bet online securely.

Some bettors without access to legal sportsbooks may opt to start betting via offshore sites.

Offshore basketball betting is illegal. But for some bettors, it is still considered an option.

The U.S. government doesn’t regulate these offshore sports betting sites, so there is no way to verify whether they are being regulated at all.

Not only do you double the risks when you bet on these sites, but withdrawing from them can be expensive, too.

Some offshore gambling sites have rules on withdrawing your wins only via bank wires, checks, and cryptocurrency (bitcoin). They also have withdrawal fees and minimum set amounts and charges.