How to Bet on the NBA - Your Expert Guide to NBA Betting - HowToBet
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How To Bet NBA

• Basketball
• NBA
• Sports Betting

Discover How to Bet on the NBA

The National Basketball Association is one of the most popular sports to bet on in the United States and worldwide, and the trend continues to grow. The NBA has worked hard to partner with sports betting companies throughout the world to make sports betting easier for fans wanting to make a bet.

In this Expert Guide to NBA Betting we will explain how to bet on the NBA in a sensible and effective manner. We’ll discuss how NBA betting works and how you can make the most of the opportunities that are available.

Best NBA Betting Sites

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Basketball Events to Bet On

People learning how to bet on the NBA are often surprised by the variety of events that are available. The events themselves are fairly uniform as far as the game itself is concerned. However, each one offers slightly different betting opportunities.

For that reason, we'll start by taking a quick look at four of the most common NBA events to bet on. These are the Regular Season games, the NBA All-Star Game, the NBA Playoffs, and the NBA Finals

NBA Regular Season

The NBA regular season is 82 games long and runs from the end of October to the middle of April. There is usually at least one NBA game scheduled per night, except furing during the All-Star Break. 

Home teams seem to have a home-court advantage when it comes to regular-season games, but that doesn’t always hold true. NBA teams have recently started using 'load management' as a way to rest some of their star players. That can affect regular-season games in various ways. 

'Tanking' is another thing to look out for during the NBA regular season. Some teams gain more by losing regular-season games, and you won't want to bet on those. 

NBA All-Star Game

The NBA All-Star Game takes place in February, and it is a whole weekend full of events.

There is a skills competition, a three-point showdown, and a dunk contest held on Saturday night. All of those events will give you a variety of rather novel betting opportunities.

The actual All-Star game itself offers betting opportunities that are similar to regular-season games. However, you can also place a future bet on who will be the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the game.

It’s just one weekend, but the NBA All-Star weekend provides as much basketball betting action as anyone is ever likely to need. 

NBA Playoffs

When you know how to bet on the NBA in general, you'll also be ready for the NBA Playoffs. Each game of the NBA Playoffs works in the same way as a regular-season game.

The NBA Playoffs feature the top eight teams from each conference. Those teams then battle it out for a chance to reach the NBA Finals.

You can bet on each game, just as you would in the regular season. You can also predict the winner of each series, or bet on how many games each series will go. 

Making a future bet on the eventual NBA Champion is another popular bet. This can be made before or during the NBA Playoffs. 

NBA Finals

There are many different ways to explain how to bet on the NBA Finals. Essentially, however, it works in much the same way as it does for the playoffs. 

The champions of the Eastern and Western Conferences meet up in a best-of-seven series to determine the NBA champion. Betting on each game of the NBA Finals is extremely popular. And so is picking the champion in the correct amount of games. 

NBA Betting Types

Now that you know what you can bet on, you need to know how to do it. There are many different bet types, so we will focus on the seven that are most popular. We'll explain how each bet works and how you win. To illustrate things properly, we will imagine a matchup between the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons. 

How to Bet on the NBA Spreads

Knowing how to bet the NBA spreads is essential for anyone who wants to succeed in NBA betting. That's because NBA spread betting markets are everywhere, and they are equally suitable for both beginners and seasoned pros. 

Chicago Bulls -3.5
Detroit Pistons+3.5
How Spread betting works

In this game, the Chicago Bulls are listed as the favorites, while the Detroit Pistons are the underdogs. We know this because the Bulls figure is preceded by a (-) sign, whilst the Pistons figure is preceded by a (+) sign.

The minus or plus number will be applied to the team's score before your bet is settled. The Chicago Bulls therefore get a -3.5 handicap, whilst the Detroit Pistons get a +3.5 advantage.

If you bet on the Bulls and they win the game by at least four points, your bet will win. However, if you bet on the Pistons, it will win if they dont't lose by more than three points.

Sportsbooks will usually offer the same odds (-110) for these NBA spread bets. 

How to Bet on NBA Over/Under

An NBA Over/Under bet is sometimes referred to as a 'total' bet. With this type of bet, you are focusing on the total number of points scored in an NBA game. 

The winner or loser of the matchup does not matter as long as you pick the correct Over or Under outcome. Here is an example:

Chicago Bulls vs. Detroit Pistons

Over221.5 Points-110
Under221.5 Points-110
NBA Over/Under Example

Here you need to decide if the total number of points scored will be over or under 221.5. If you bet Over then there needs to be 222 or more points scored for your bet to win. If you bet Under then there needs to be 221 or fewer points scored for your bet to win,

It’s important to note that most sportsbooks will offer the same odds for each side of this bet. In this case, it would take a $110 wager to win $100, no matter which way you bet. 

How to Bet on NBA Moneyline

If you’ve ever heard people say, 'What’s the NBA betting line for today?' then they are talking about NBA moneylines. This market is not as popular as the spread or totals markets, but it is easier to understand. 

All that is required for a moneyline bet is for you to predict the winner of a certain game. The sportsbooks will adjust the lines and odds for each team according to their own view of the game.

Chicago Bulls-145
Detroit Pistons+135
NBA Moneyline Example

The Bulls are the favorite in this matchup. For that reason, the payout won’t be as great if they win the game ($100 profit for a $145 bet). Detroit is the underdog. This will give you a much bigger return if they can pull off the upset ($135 profit for a $100 bet). 

How to Bet on NBA Futures

An NBA Futures bet is not made on any specific game. Instead, you bet on the outcome of a much broader event. The most common NBA Futures bet is on which team will win the NBA Championship. 

Sportsbooks will set odds for each team, and the odds will continue to be adjusted as the season plays out. There are also futures bets available on player awards, and the same concept applies. 

How to Bet on the NBA In-Play

Live betting, or in-play betting, allows you to place bets whilst the game is being played. It is something that has become extremely popular in the United States, especially with the growth of mobile betting. Live betting makes the action even more exciting because you are betting in real-time as you watch. 

If you know how NBA betting works in general then you already know the principles of live betting. The three main betting types will all be offered. However, you will have to make your decisions in a much shorter amount of time. 

How to Bet on NBA Quarters

NBA quarter betting involves betting on the outcome of a particular quarter, and can be done in two ways. It can be done pre-game, or it can be done as a form of live betting. Sportsbooks will usually offer Over/Under and against the spread bets when it comes to NBA quarter betting. 

A first-quarter bet would obviously have to be made pre-game. Bets on the other quarters can be made as the game plays out. 

How to Bet on NBA Player Props

Player props aren’t offered by every sportsbook, and they aren’t offered on every game. Prop betting usually focuses on an individual statistic for a particular player. The bet is usually presented like an Over/Under bet. 

For example:

Kevin DurantOver 29.5 PointsUnder 29.5 Points
NBA Player Prop Bet Example

Here you would have to decide whether or not Durant will score at least 30 points in the game, or if he will be held to 29 points or less. 

Where to Bet on the NBA

There are two main options for betting on the NBA. The first option is through an online bookmaker or sportsbook, such as the three that we have outlined below. The other option is to take a trip to a land-based venue and bet on the NBA while sitting in a casino or sports betting lounge. 

Best NBA Sportsbooks

All of the betting options that we previously mentioned will be offered at the best NBA sportsbooks. Our recommended sportsbooks are as follows: 

Fanduel

Fan Duel among DraftKings is one the companies that emerged as a leader in Daily Fantasy Sports. But they now offer traditional sportsbooks in many states throughout the country. 

PointsBet

PointsBet is one of the newest sportsbooks to hit the market in the United States. It is also expanding at a rapid rate. This sportsbook is based in Australia, but they have had little trouble making a name in the US. They offer unique NBA betting opportunities, such as their own Points betting innovation. 

DraftKings

The famous DraftKings company emerged as a leader in Daily Fantasy Sports. But they now offer traditional sportsbooks in many states throughout the country. 

William Hill

William Hill is a bookmaker that is based in London. They are also one of the top sportsbooks approved in the United States. William Hill offers plenty of betting markets for NBA games. 

Betting on the NBA in Vegas

If you have made it this far then you already know how to bet on NBA games in Vegas. Or at an land-based sportsbook., come to that. Betting in Vegas provides extra excitement as you can watch the action on a big screen while making your bets. 

Despite other states providing some new competition in recent months, Las Vegas is still the sports betting capital of the United States. Live betting is also extremely popular in Las Vegas, as sportsbooks will offer lines in real-time. 

Live NBA Odds

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NBA Betting Markets & Teams

Here is a complete list of all 30 teams in the NBA:

Eastern Conference

Atlantic DivisionCentral DivisionSoutheast Division
Boston Celtics
Brooklyn Nets
New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers
Toronto Raptors
Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers
Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers
Milwaukee Bucks
Atlanta Hawks
Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat
Orlando Magic
Washington Wizards
NBA Eastern Conference Teams

Western Conference

Northwest DivisionPacific DivisionSouthwest Division
Denver Nuggets
Minnesota Timberwolves
Oklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trail Blazers
Utah Jazz
Golden State Warriors
LA Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
Phoenix Suns
Sacramento Kings
Dallas Mavericks
Houston Rockets
Memphis Grizzlies
New Orleans Pelicans
San Antonio Spurs
NBA Western Conference Teams

NBA Betting Tips & Strategy

Here are a few NBA Betting tips and strategies that will help you become a successful NBA bettor:

Look at Past Form

Take a look at how each team has fared recently to get a feel for their form or lack thereof. You also want to look for betting trends, specifically looking at the recent games between the two teams.

Rivalries can have a huge impact on NBA betting. Some teams tend to play far better, or far worse, against certain opposing teams.

Check the Injury Report

One of the most important things to look at when doing your research is the injury report for each team. NBA injury reports aren’t usually as detailed as they are in the NFL, but they will still list players that will be out of the game. 

Listen to NBA Betting Podcast

Another thing that you might want to do is subscribe or listen to an NBA betting podcast. These podcasts will feature expert NBA insiders, and can give you great information to help you make your picks. 

How to Bet on the NBA FAQ

What is the best type of NBA bet to make?
+

Beginners are advised to focus on the Moneyline, Spread and Total markets.

Spread bets and totals are the two most popular bets to make on NBA games, but the Moneyline is the easiest to understand. Simply predict which team will win and if you’re right your bet also win.

When is the best time to bet on an NBA Game?
+

Unless you are betting in-play, timing isn’t enormously important.

What matters is that you spend sufficient time researching the game, deciding how you want to bet and then shopping around for the best value.

Should you bet on the NBA Playoffs or the regular season?
+

The short answer here is that you should bet on whatever you want to bet on.

Make sure that you understand how to bet on the NBA Playoffs before you take on that venture, but betting on the NBA regular season is a nice warmup.

There are great opportunities to win money by betting on the NBA no matter which you choose.

What are the best NBA Sportsbooks?
+

DraftKings, PointsBet, and William Hill are the three best NBA sportsbooks that we recommend, but there are several others that could be worth considering.

A great NBA sportsbook will offer plenty of betting opportunities and will offer bonus or promotion opportunities as well.

Is online or in-person NBA betting the best?
+

If you have the opportunity to enter a retail sportsbook, like one in Vegas, then it would be best to bet in-person. These sportsbooks provide a unique experience that every NBA bettor should take advantage of.

If you live in a state where online sports betting is legal then betting from the couch is a pretty good option as well.

How do you bet on the NBA Draft?
+

The best NBA sportsbooks will offer some NBA Draft lines, and this works much in the same way as live betting. Sportsbooks will set lines for which players will get picked in which slots, or what teams will select certain players.

You can also make a future bet as to which player will go No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft.

Photo by Tim Hart on Unsplash

About this author

Jude Sutcliffe author profile

Lover of all sport, particularly Premier League football and the NBA. Use statistics and figures to calculate the best ways to make money in the world of sports betting. Published journalist in the UK. 

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