Introduction to NBA Betting Lines & Odds
Learning how to read NBA betting lines and knowing where to find the best value in terms of NBA odds is the most fundamental requirement for successful NBA betting. This is where our experts here at How To Bet come to help you out by sharing their wealth of knowledge, experience, and technological weapons.
Basketball, especially this league, has been an appealing sport to watch and place bets on. The fast-paced, back and forth action provides many opportunities for bettors. But before you can benefit from any of those, you have to know how to read NBA odds.
There are several different ways in which you can make money from NBA betting lines for events all the way from the opening night to the Finals. There is an entire season to profit from, if you have the right strategy. So read our expert guide and you will know all you need to in order to win your bets.
You’ll see how to take advantage of NBA MVP odds, NBA Lottery odds, NBA Rookie of The Year odds, and many more, including the lines on the main betting markets.
NBA Futures Odds
Betting on NBA Futures odds involves making a prediction about an event that is due to take place at some point beyond the next game.
For example, you might be offered odds to name who will win the next championship or the draft lottery, or who will be selected as the Most Valuable Player (MVP), Defensive Player of The Year (DPOY), Rookie of The Year (ROTY), Most Improved Player (MIP), or Coach of The Year (COTY). You might also see NBA Playoff odds offered in the Futures category, especially early in the season.
These markets are more volatile than many others because the odds will naturally change as the season progresses.
For example, the Lakers might be favorites at the beginning of the season to win the NBA Finals at +300, whereas the Minnesota Timberwolves might be valued at +25 000 with a losing record. However, these odds can significantly change if the Timberwolves get lucky during the season. If they were to make some blockbuster trades and get to the playoffs, that +25 000 would drop dramatically over the course of the season.
Let’s take a closer look at the most popular betting markets involving NBA Futures odds.
NBA MVP Odds
The NBA MVP odds are maybe the most popular amongst all on the futures market. Here your job is to predict who will be named the Most Valuable Player of next season. Oddsmakers determine the likelihood for each name and then you have to pick your favorite according to your personal preferences or detailed analysis.
Always keep in mind a few very important factors before you make your decision on betting on MVP NBA odds. Make sure the chosen player is a fundamental part of a team that is expected to make a deep playoffs run. Check his injury history and durability to lower the chances of him missing the decisive parts of the season. See if he has a knack of entering heavy disputes with his coaches and teammates when the going gets tough and prefer a person with proven leadership skills. Always look for a team player with outstanding individual skills.
If you’re one of those who like to jump in early on the opening lines, here are some of the first NBA MVP odds 2023 on the market.
|Jimmy Butler||+10 000|
|Damian Lillard||+10 000|
|Zion Williamson||+10 000|
*The NBA opening lines for the 2023 MVP were posted by PointsBet on April 21, 2022
NBA Championship Odds
Betting on the NBA Championship odds requires you to pick the next team to win the title. With this market you might get some really attractive NBA opening lines, but at the same time there’s a lot that could change during the course of the season. Player trades, free agent market, head coach changes, injuries and suspensions can all lead to major shake ups in the fight for the title.
Because of that, the advice of How To Bet’s experts is to wager smaller sums at the beginning of the campaign and wait for a couple of months during the season to find more accurate and appealing NBA Championship odds. This approach will increase your probability of winning, albeit maybe on lesser profits.
In case you’d like to try your luck early though, here are some of the first NBA opening lines for the next championship winner.
|Golden State Warriors||+400|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+6000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+12 500|
|Charlotte Hornets||+12 500|
|New York Knicks||+15 000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+25 000|
|Washington Wizards||+50 000|
|Detroit Pistons||+75 000|
|Indiana Pacers||+75 000|
|Orlando Magic||+100 000|
|Sacramento Kings||+100 000|
|Houston Rockets||+100 000|
|Oklahoma Thunder||+100 000|
*The NBA opening lines for the 2023 championship were posted by Caesars on May 30, 2022
NBA Lottery Odds
Wagering on NBA Lottery odds is also among the most frequent in the US market. The fresh talent that may revive sunken teams and change their own destiny never ceases to excite the public and most bettors love to spend a few bucks on this. Who’s winning the lottery this year and which player this lucky franchise is going to pick? You can be sure this spectacle will bring you multiple opportunities to place a wager and win some cash while enjoying it.
Here are the NBA Draft Lottery odds to win the first pick in 2022. See the probabilities for success of each of the 14 teams that didn’t make the playoffs. (As you most probably know by now, on Tuesday, May 17, 2022, Orlando Magic won the right to make the first pick in this year’s draft.)
|Team||Record||Winning %||#1 Probability %||Top 4 Probability %|
|Los Angeles Lakers*||33-49||0.402||6.00||26.31|
|LA Clippers (to OKC)||42-40||0.512||1.50||7.12|
*Pick to be conveyed either to New Orleans, or to Memphis via New Orleans.
Rookie of The Year Odds NBA
After being picked in the draft, newcomers to the league compete for being named No.1 in their first season and sportsbooks offer their NBA ROTY odds. Keep in mind that 1st picks don’t win the award quite as often as expected. In 2022 for example, the annual prize was grabbed by Scottie Barnes (4th pick in 2021). When you’re processing the Rookie of The Year NBA odds, first think about the suitability of the player with the tactical needs of his team and then assess his maturity and ability to put in the hard work necessary to prove his worth.
Check some 2022 midseason lines and you’ll see that sometimes even both the clear favorite and the No.1 draft pick can lose the award to a more surprising name.
|Ayo Dosunmu||+10 000|
|Davion Mitchell||+20 000|
|Jalen Suggs||+20 000|
*These NBA ROTY odds were posted by DraftKings on January 25, 2022
NBA Most Improved Player Odds
Betting on NBA Most Improved Player odds isn’t as popular as the abovementioned markets but it still has quite a few fans in the country. In 2022, the award went to Ja Morant who, as you can see in the table below, was the clear favorite and added this prize to his Rookie of The Year in 2020.
|Tyler Herro||+10 000|
*These NBA MIP odds were posted by DraftKings on March 30, 2022
NBA DPOY Odds
The NBA Defensive Player of the Year odds appeal to many and one can see why. Traditionally, there’s more competition on this market in comparison to other NBA awards odds. It is not that big of a surprise considering the fact that all the contenders just love the hustle and bustle in this great game. You can see a clear reflection of this in the closing NBA DPOY odds where we have four favorites and three more deserving contenders, even though the player with the shortest odds (Marcus Smart) won in the end.
|Jaren Jackson Jr.||+1600|
|Evan Mobley||+10 000|
|Draymond Green||+10 000|
|Matisse Thybulle||+20 000|
*These DPOY odds NBA were posted by DraftKings on April 13, 2022
NBA 6th Man of The Year Odds
The NBA 6th Man of The Year odds show you who is the leading candidate for the award and from this stage on your job is to make the correct pick. Follow the contributions of different players on different teams in a reserve role and choose the one who takes the burden off his teammates the most. In 2022, guard Tyler Herro won the prize as expected considering the closing NBA Sixth Man of the Year odds.
|Tyler Herro||-20 000|
|Kelly Oubre Jr.||+5000|
|Montrezl Harrell||+10 000|
|Buddy Hield||+15 000|
|Jordan Clarkson||+15 000|
*These NBA Sixth Man of The Year odds were posted by DraftKings on March 23, 2022
NBA Coach of The Year Odds
Betting on NBA Coach of The Year odds requires from you to predict which of the best coaches in the league this season will win the annual award. More often than not, the coach of the top team in the regular season standings will grab the prize and 2022 was not an exception as Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns succeeded. So our advice is not to jump early on the NBA opening lines for this award and instead just wait for a couple of months.
*These Coach of The Year NBA odds were posted by Betway on February 21, 2022
Odds on NBA Moneylines
This type of wager is one that is widely understood by those betting on the NBA, whether or not they recognize the actual moneylines term. In this market, you are simply deciding which of the two teams will win.
When an event is announced, sportsbooks will determine their NBA odds according to how they think the game will go. They will take a variety of factors into account, including past form, player matchups, injuries, and more. Having determined their NBA betting lines, the sportsbook will then publish its moneyline market for the game.
Here's an example of what it might look like:
|Los Angeles Lakers||-300|
The Los Angeles Lakers are the favorites here, as indicated by the minus sign in front of their odds. For betting, this means you would have to wager $300 in order to receive a profit of $100 if the Lakers win.
Miami Heat are the underdogs, as indicated by the plus sign in front of their odds. This means that if you place a $100 wager, you would make a profit of $280 if they manage to defy their underdog status.
Sometimes you might not see a minus sign in a moneyline bet. For instance, if both teams are evenly matched in a series such as the Finals, then the NBA Finals odds might have both teams as positive numbers.
NBA Points Spread Odds
NBA points spread is another popular betting opportunity that you will find at sportsbooks. The oddsmakers will consider the matchup and try to put a handicap on the better team, making the odds interesting for both sides.
Using the same example teams as earlier, let us look at a possible NBA points spread now:
Bearing in mind the fact that the Los Angeles Lakers are the projected favorites, the odds here say just that. A handicap of -5.5 points has been set, so if you wager on the Lakers they must win the game by at least six or more points for your bet to pay.
Miami Heat are the underdogs, and have been quoted at +5.5 to give them an advantage. This means that if you wager on the team, your bet will win if they win the game outright or even if they lose the game by no more than 5 points.
The .5 is usually added so that there are no 'pushes' or ties. Instead, you either win or lose, according to your prediction and the outcome of the game.
NBA Odds on Totals
One of the simpler bets to understand is the totals. This market is focused on the total number of points that will be scored in the game by both teams combined, regardless of who the winner is.
The sportsbook will set its own predicted total for the game, and your task is to predict whether it will be Over or Under the figure quoted in these NBA betting lines.
For example, if the total quoted is 214.5, and you were to bet Over, both teams would need to score a combined total of 215 points or more for the wager to win.
If you were to bet Under, both teams would need to score a combined total of 214 points or less for the wager to win.
Because you need to bet Over or Under the quoted total, this market is also referred to as the Over/Under.
NBA Odds on Prop Bets
Prop bets are usually less serious in nature than others, and can be a good way to inject some lightheartedness into your betting. They don't concern the outcome of the game, but are usually focused on independent related events, and are often quite humorous.
Some example prop bets that you might see are:
- Which player will have the most rebounds
- Which team will win the tip-off
- First team to 20 points
- First bucket
- Will there be overtime
- Who will win the 3rd quarter
As you can see, there are some reasoning skills you could use here to make a prediction for these markets. However, that isn't always the case, and in those cases you'll just have to trust your gut.
Because prop bets tend to be more humorous than any of the others that we've mentioned, they shouldn't be taken too seriously. Keep stakes to a modest level to avoid disappointment!
NBA Odds on Parlays and Same Game Parlays
In addition to these single bets, almost all of the top online sportsbooks offer the appealing opportunity to multiply your NBA odds with parlay bets and Same Game Parlays. The parlay bet combines two or more selections into one larger wager where all the individual legs must win for you to be successful. Parlays and Same Game Parlays, where you can put multiple bets from one game into your slip, are a great way to increase your payout.
NBA Opening Lines
NBA opening lines are the first set of odds posted by sportsbooks for a game or an event and it’s a great idea to look at them right away. These will move from the time they are posted until the end of the event in question. You can see which NBA betting lines have changed (and how) when you compare the opening ones against the current odds. Check out our NBA Live Odds widget so that you save precious time. More on that a little later…
NBA Live Odds
The ability to follow NBA live odds can make you lots of money because the sportsbooks algorithms are still not quite as sophisticated for in-game wagering in comparison to pregame betting. The operators will provide you with up-to-the-second NBA betting lines on every game and covering almost every market. Then it’s your job to hunt for the precise moment to strike and extract the maximum value possible. This is the main strength of wagering on NBA live odds.
NBA Line Movement
Following the NBA line movement is a fundamental skill in the world of sports betting. It helps you detect the latest developments surrounding the game or event you’ve chosen for placing your wager(s). Any injury, suspension, coach or weather change for example can be a factor for adjusting the NBA odds.
The special How To Bet odds widget is there to help you out in that regard though. There you’ll find the latest NBA line movement and the best updated odds among all major US online sportsbooks. So if you’re wondering where to bet on NBA games, check this widget out and take advantage of it.
Don’t forget to benefit from the most attractive bonus & promo offers from online sportsbooks as well. You’ll see them right after our NBA odds comparison widget.