Types of NBA Playoffs Odds
Besides the unique NBA Playoffs betting opportunities that can be found, you can also wager on each game of the series. Choose the market that works best for you, and that you are most comfortable with. To help you in that regard, we’ve prepared an explanation of the main betting market types available at every online sportsbook.
How to read NBA Playoff betting odds on moneylines
If you are just interested in picking the outright winner of an NBA Playoff game, the moneyline is for you, although the price can be pretty steep and sometimes not worthy of a wager in big mismatched games. Betting the moneyline for a game is possibly the most simple way to wager on sports. Bettors just choose a team to win and if they pick the winning side, the sportsbook will pay the amount due. It’s really that simple.
For example, picture a potential series between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Miami Heat that is currently at 3-1 to the Bucks. Milwaukee will be favored to win, but with the Heat being home next game they have an advantage. Therefore, it would be more beneficial to bet on Miami.
How to read NBA Playoff betting odds on point spread
The point spread, or just the spread, is always going to be the first starting point for basketball bettors. It's a number that can be used as a gauge for what wagerers can expect to see and reflects the point difference between the teams in the end result. The favorite to win the game could have a spread of -8.5, which means they must win by nine or more points to cover the spread. The underdog would be set at +8.5, which means they must lose by less than nine points or win the game outright.
Spreads are most commonly set anywhere between 0.5 and 12.5 points in the NBA, all depending on the level of competition between the two teams, injuries, or other factors affecting the teams.
How to read NBA Playoff betting odds on totals
If you want to learn how to bet on the NBA Playoffs, you need to familiarize yourself with Over/Under bets. These are normally concerned with the total number of points that will be scored in a game by both teams. In an over/under market, a sportsbook will set the bar with that number and bettors wager that the actual number in the game will be either higher or lower than the prediction.
Let’s take a look at an example. Say a sportsbook sets the over/under for the score at 206.5 (combined total of points from both teams). If the combined score of that game was 206, anyone who had bet on "under" won.
It’s important to note that most sportsbooks will offer the same odds for both sides of an Over/Under bet, meaning that it will take a $110 bet to win $100. It is also worth mentioning that NBA Playoff games are usually more low-scoring than regular season ones. It’s because of the greater emphasis on the defense and because during the series opponents tend to know their games in much bigger detail which makes scoring harder.
NBA Playoffs Betting: Futures
A future bet is one that is placed on something that will happen at the conclusion of a longer-term event. In this case, it is predicting what will happen at the conclusion of the NBA Playoffs, whether it’s a series or in general. The two most common NBA Playoff bets in the futures market are:
- Which team will win the NBA Finals?
- Which team will win the Eastern/Western Conference?
Both of these future bets are available throughout the regular season right until the conclusion of the events in question.
Live NBA Playoffs Betting
NBA In-Play Betting has become extremely popular, especially during big events such as the NBA Finals. Sportsbooks will offer live bets for each game, and all of the betting types that we mentioned above will be offered.
Live betting is done quickly, which won't give you much time to conduct any research. However, it does give you a chance to hedge your wagers or make up for losses that you have incurred previously in each game. You can bet on things such as:
- Who will make the next basket?
- Who will make the next dunk?
- Which player will make the next foul?
- Who will win the quarter?
Basketball is one of those sports in which everything is happening very quickly and can change with the blink of an eye. This makes NBA in-play betting a very entertaining add-on to watching the playoffs. It's definitely a favorite here at How To Bet.
NBA Finals Betting
Later on in the year, particularly in the later rounds of the NBA playoffs and NBA Finals betting, moneyline bets can be the better option with point spreads in the single possession range (-1, -2, -3, etc). Going the moneyline route does allow the bettor a bit more margin of error relative to the few extra cents they'll have to lay.
That said, an Over/Under market works a little bit differently in the finals. In this case, the focus is on the total number of games that an NBA Finals series will go to.
NBA Playoff Prop Bets
Prop betting became popular with the Super Bowl, but now many sports are embracing it. Sportsbooks will offer plenty of NBA Playoff prop bets, and these are on things other than the final score or winner of a game.
Here are a few examples:
- The color of Gatorade dumped on the winning coach.
- How many technical fouls will be given?
- Who will make the most three-point field goals?
- How long will the National Anthem be (any game)?
As you can see, there is a lighter side to be found in NBA Playoffs betting markets. Laying down one or two modest, fun wagers alongside your more serious ones can increase your enjoyment of the series as a whole.
There are also more serious prop bets. Player props are particularly popular when wagering on the NBA Playoffs. More casual NBA fans will perhaps only tune in to watch the more well known players and they may not be familiar with teams and their rosters enough to wager money on them. Instead, they will opt to place bets around the players that they know. For example:
- LeBron James to get 29.5 + points
- Stephen Curry to make more than 7 3-point field goals
- Giannis Antetokounmpo to make more than 4 blocks
- Kevin Durant to make more than ten jump-shots
Parlay NBA Playoff Bets
Parlay betting is one of the most popular types in the postseason because you can build high NBA Playoff odds with outcomes that seem more likely. You can build same-game parlays or parlay separate games. The most simple form is to bet on the moneyline for a selection of games.
The process of doing this is very simple. Just add all of your bets to your slip, enter your stake and select the parlay option.
NBA Playoff Bracket Betting
Bracket Betting is a popular feature when the NBA Playoffs come. This is a chance for bettors to try their luck with the whole Play-In and Playoff bracket which is near impossible. You have to pick the winner in each series to succeed but the main goal with this bet is having fun.
NBA Playoffs Betting Online
Sports betting continues to grow in the United States, and online basketball betting is becoming increasingly available. If you understand how to make NBA Playoff bets in general, then you already know how to do it online. The markets and principles involved are exactly the same.
In order to be able to bet on the NBA Playoffs online, you will have to be in a state where online sports betting is legal. If you are, you can enjoy the convenience of making a bet from the comfort of your couch. DraftKings, FanDuel, and PointsBet are just three of the top online sportsbooks that will give you the opportunity to place wagers during the NBA Playoffs.
Other Things to Know About NBA Playoff Betting
Settlement in the NBA Playoffs betting is based solely on results and statistics provided by the league's governing body and the official data supplier.
If a game is suspended and subsequently not fully completed within 24 hours of the original scheduled start time, all NBA Playoffs odds wagers will be void. (Unless the outcome of a specific market/selection has already been predetermined.)
Keep in mind that overtime counts for all NBA Playoff betting markets (unless stated otherwise).
NBA Playoffs Betting Tips and Strategies
If you are planning to try your luck and, most of all, knowledge on postseason betting, here are some NBA Playoffs betting tips and strategies that might prove useful:
Home Court Advantage Counts
Before betting on any given NBA Playoffs game, always look at where it is being played. Home teams have an advantage as they are accustomed with the court and have the backing of the large majority of supporters. In soccer the fans are known as the '12th man' and in basketball they can very much be the sixth.
Bet on Home Teams Down 0-2 in the Series
Following up from the upper paragraph, this is one of the most profitable angles in the NBA Playoffs because any team that’s lost the first two games on the road simply can’t afford to lose. The sense of urgency is driving the home team on, as do the fans. They know fully well that in the whole NBA Playoffs history no team has overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a seven-game series, so the win is a must. Therefore, it’s worth betting on the home team in such a situation, especially in the first quarter and first half.
A Clutch Player Can Decide It All
It is very important for basketball teams to be a fluid, well oiled machine, but equally important is teams having that clutch player to drag them through the trenches. We've seen plenty of these over the years. Players like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant and Hakeem Olajuwon spring to mind. Nowadays, the NBA poster-boys are LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nikola Jokic, Luka Doncic and Stephen Curry to name a few. When looking at rosters, if one team has a standout player of this caliber, they could be game changing. Remember to keep that in mind when placing your NBA Playoff bets.
Top Seeds are Top Seeds for a Reason
The top seeded NBA teams are the teams who have performed best in the regular season in their respective conference. These teams are likely to perform well in the playoffs too. When looking at outright betting on who may win the World Championship, always look at and consider the top seeded teams and avoid fifth seeded and below. Despite it being a possibility, the likelier outcome is a high seeded team going further.
Do Plenty of Research
This is a betting strategy that you should employ regardless of what sport you are betting on. You always want to be properly prepared before making any bets, and research is vital. While doing yours, you should be looking for past success in the NBA Playoffs as well as regular-season performance. Having access to advanced data will help you as well. Also, make yourself aware of any injuries to key players who are set to participate, as those could have a huge impact on their team's chances. Look around for proven experts who deliver successful NBA Playoff betting picks time after time. They have their own websites and podcasts, plus most of the best of them won’t even charge you a cent for their service.
Look at Recent Matchups
Even though teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences don’t play each other a ton during the regular season, those games can give you an idea of how the NBA Finals series will play out. Go back a few years, especially if the teams have many of the same players. Recent betting trends can always change, but it is a great place to start.
Some of us are visual learners, one of the most underutilized tools when it comes to understanding something is the power of video. On YouTube you can find a variety of DFS (Daily Fantasy Sports), betting and sports channels to help you better understand upcoming matchups. Whether you enjoy a more technical, by-the-numbers approach or more of a laid-back comedic style, there are a number of people who have been doing this for years giving out free information so take it!
Always Check the Availability of Key Players
Availability is everything when we’re talking about chances to succeed in this league and NBA Playoff odds can change drastically when a team is unhealthy because of injuries, illnesses and suspensions. Some teams depend on superstars to drag them to the Promised Land, while others function as a well-oiled machine and even one cog missing is capable of derailing it. Always check the latest team news and form guides to make an objective judgment before placing a wager.
Don’t Back Blindly Teams That Have Just Won Game 7
The NBA Playoffs are grueling enough even without having to pass through the Game 7 meat grinder. The physical and, most of all, psychological effort it takes to win in such circumstances is massive and it often impacts the next game. So in the first games of any new series you better back the team that’s had an easier path to this stage. They will be fresher and readier to compete if the going gets tough.
Wait for Mid-Series Adjusted Prices
Patience is a virtue in betting. You can find a much better price if you wait until your favored team loses Game 1 or until mid-series. Keep in mind that the chances for a team to take a 2-0 lead after winning the first game are 63% and 78.6% to win the series, so you have to be really careful with this strategy. Only back a better team that’s played under expectation, has an important player available again, and/or there’s some adjustment to be made by the coach. This is also valid for the Zig-Zag theory if you’re backing Top 3 seeds who have been upset in Game 1.
Go for More Unders
We’ve already mentioned that Unders tend to be more frequent in the NBA playoffs compared to the regular season. This is even more valid late in the series when teams know each other better and the tiredness starts to take over, especially in traditionally ugly contests like Game 7. Also, in the postseason teams are playing at an average of about 2.46 less possessions per game, which is a clear marker of slowing the game. So when you’re shopping for NBA Playoffs betting lines, don’t forget about the Unders.
Place That Bet!
If you are new to the world of sports betting, you are not alone. Whether it is your first or most recent bet, the fact is no one knows how the game will play out so make a decision and stick to it. The NBA Playoffs are an exciting time in sports and this is a unique opportunity in this day and age as a fan to be able to take part in the game.
Use all the tips provided to you in our NBA Playoffs Betting Guide to bring home that big prize!
Favorites and Contenders According to Their NBA Playoffs Betting Odds
Now’s the time to group the favorites and contenders for the 2022 World Championship according to their NBA Playoffs betting odds. We have the absolute pacesetters in Suns, the reigning champion Bucks, the stars-packed teams like the Warriors, Nets, Heat and 76-ers, the rising Celtics, the always dangerous Nuggets, Jazz, Grizzlies, and a bunch of other intriguing teams.
You can also take a peek at the ESPN BPI Playoff Odds. They are popular for a reason, since they estimate the probabilities for each team to make the playoffs and win the NBA title. Now though, let’s look at the top teams in terms of NBA Playoffs odds for a title winner through the eyes of the How To Bet experts.
Phoenix Suns (+270): Being Top 3 team in both defensive (DE 106.8) and offensive efficiency (OE 112.5) speaks volumes of this team’s credentials. They were the best in the regular season, last year they were close to the title, and this time they are even hungrier.
Milwaukee Bucks (+500): The reigning champions had lots of ups and downs in the regular season, but are still joint 3rd in OE (112.5). Now that the playoffs are here, Giannis and his teammates know it’s the time to get serious and a dominant player like the Greek can lead the Bucks all the way again.
Boston Celtics (+850): The leap in this team is fantastic. Even with the bad start of the season, the Celtics are 5th in OE (112.1) and 1st in DE (106.2). After all, 19 of the past 20 NBA champions have ranked in the top 10 in defensive efficiency and Boston leads the way. The problem is that the Celtics' playoff road could include the Nets, Bucks, Heat, and Suns. It’s hard to believe that they’ll win all these matchups.
Brooklyn Nets (+900): You probably know that only one team lower than a No. 4 seed has ever won the NBA championship and no team beyond a No. 6 seed has ever done it, right? If there’s one team to rewrite this chapter in history, it must be these Nets though. Kyrie Irving is now allowed to play home games and Kevin Durant is, well, Kevin Durant. Enough said.
Golden State Warriors (+1000): The team with legendary scorers like Steph Curry and Klay Thompson is 2nd in DE (106.6). This combination is a guarantee of at least a deep NBA Playoffs run for the Warriors.
Miami Heat (+1000): The Heat are a Top 10 team in both defensive and offensive efficiency (4th in DE with 108.4, 10th in OE with 111.2). This is a marker in NBA Playoffs betting predictions for a franchise that’s ready to attack the summit. Plus, they have the best 3-point shooting percentage in the league, three elite players (Jimmy Butler. Kyle Lowry, and Bam Adebayo), and a superb coach in Erik Spoelstra. Let’s not forget also that they are the No. 1 seed in the East and played in the NBA Finals just two years ago. Not getting the Nets in the first round and the Bucks until the Eastern Conference finals is a nice bonus. This is our favorite for the title and it’s one of the best NBA Playoff bets you could make.
Memphis Grizzlies (+1400): Another team that is present in the Top 10 in both defensive and offensive efficiency ratings (joint 5th in DE with 108.9, 8th in OE with 111.6). Ja Morant took a leap and led the Grizzlies to the 2nd best record in the regular season behind only the Suns, whom they beat twice (2-1). You can’t rule them out, though there’s a feeling that they are a year away from being real contenders.
Philadelphia 76ers (+1600): Any team that has Harden and Embiid deserves attention, but in our opinion the 76ers are, at least for the moment, not up there with the very best in the NBA.
Utah Jazz (+2800): The Jazz had the most efficient offense in the NBA this regular season (114.0) and are also in the Top 10 in DE (110.0), which is not a huge surprise considering the presence of the French Rejection Rudy Gobert.
Denver Nuggets (+3500): Even without Jamal Murray and probably Michael Porter, the Nuggets are joint 6th in OE (111.7). It’s probably too much to ask from NIkola Jokic to take this team to the NBA Finals, but if there’s one player capable of achieving that, it’s the big Serb.
Chicago Bulls (+12 000): Lonzo Ball is out for the remainder of the season, Patrick Williams has just come back from a long-term injury, and Zach LaVine is playing through the pain barrier because of a left knee issue. Otherwise, with DeMar DeRozan in MVP form, the Bulls could’ve surprised a lot of people. Maybe next year…
Atlanta Hawks (+15 000): The Hawks are joint leaders in OE (114.0) led by Trae Young and have many interesting players. Still, it’s hard to imagine a deep run in the 2022 NBA Playoffs.
Understanding the NBA Playoffs
Here are the answers to a few of the most common questions that newcomers usually have about the NBA Playoffs. It’s the first step on the long way to learning how to bet on the NBA playoffs.
How do the NBA Playoffs work?
The top 6 teams of each conference plus two additional teams decided by a play-in tournament (will touch more on that further on) are seeded into a tournament tree. The teams will face each other in the best of seven series', basically the first side to get four wins advances. There will then be two conference finals, followed by the overall NBA final which is between the winner of each conference.
After the 8 teams of each conference are seeded, they will not be re-seeded. As opposed to the NFL postseason which will always see the 'best' team face the 'worst' in subsequent rounds.
How many games must a team win to beat an opponent?
With the new Play-In Tournament completed, the typical best-of-seven series can commence in the NBA postseason. Eight teams from the Eastern and Western Conferences must win four out of a maximum of seven games to advance to the next round of play.
How long do the NBA playoffs last?
This year the NBA Playoffs will start on April 14, and conclude no later than June 19. There are three rounds: First Round, Conference Semifinal and Conference Final. Then come the NBA Finals, where the overall champion of the entire league will be crowned. This exciting time of year presents plenty of betting opportunities to new bettors and fans.
How many teams make the NBA Playoffs?
The NBA postseason is one of the most exciting and lucrative spectacles in sports. But you don’t have to wait until April. There are still ways to bet on the playoffs before they even start.
In each conference, four teams battle in the Play-In Tournament. Their aim is to occupy the number 7 and number 8 seeds in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
The teams that finished seventh and eighth in the regular season will face off in a one-game playoff. The winner advances to take on the number two seed. The losers of the number seven and number eight game face the winners of a game between the number nine and number ten teams. The winner of that last-chance qualifier (lowest seed) advances to the NBA Playoffs to face the number one seed in their conference.
- Timberwolves (7) 109 - 104 Clippers (8)
- Pelicans (9) 113 - 103 Spurs (10)
- Pelicans (9) 105 - 101 Clippers (8)
- Nets (7) 115 - 108 Cavaliers (8)
- Hawks (9) 132 - 103 Hornets (10)
- Hawks (9) 107 - 101 Cavaliers (8)
*Teams in bold are through to the First Round of the 2022 NBA Playoffs.