NBA Betting Odds

The National Basketball Association is big business in the United States and has been the source of increased gambling interest over the past few years.

As states continue to legalize sports betting, the NBA sees more and more gambling action from the public.

Throughout the year, online sportsbooks are stacked with NBA betting options, from day-to-day lines on individual games to futures markets that remain open all season long.

From the player that will score the first basket of a December game to Game 7 of the NBA Finals and everything in between, bettors have a seemingly endless number of choices.

In this guide, we will explain how the odds work and discuss strategies you can adopt to improve your chances of success when betting on the NBA.

Typically, online sportsbooks post betting odds for upcoming games about a day in advance.

Then, as the game nears, oddsmakers add dozens of individual markets for each game, and bettors can fill out their bet slips.

Reading the odds and understanding the numbers you’re looking at is essential. In the United States, American odds will be displayed by default.

Each game has a favorite and an underdog. The Favorite has a negative (-) symbol attached, while the underdog comes with a positive (+) sign.

Bettors can calculate how much they stand to win on their own, but a great thing about mobile betting sites is that they do it for you.

Once you have filled in a betting slip for a game and placed your desired wagers, the odds will be automatically calculated based on the amount you choose to bet.

If you want to enjoy live betting on an NBA game, betting lines continue to update as the game progresses.

This allows bettors to put their money on various different wagers until deep into the fourth quarter.

For odds on other professional sports, visit our sports betting odds hub.

Popular NBA Online Bets

When looking at NBA odds at online sportsbooks, there are many different types of bets available.

But the first step needs to be understanding the basic moneyline, spread, and total, as these are the key to grasping more advanced markets such as props and futures.

In this section of the guide, we will run through all of the most popular bet types you may come across:

Moneyline Bets

This might be the simplest type of bet to make.

All that is required is for the bettor to predict who will win the game.

Factors such as recent form, the schedule, or a mounting injury list could determine which team you may wish to wager on.

Moneylines are a great entry point into NBA betting and may suit novice bettors who are just trying to get their feet wet.

Moneyline Example

  • New York Knicks +120
  • Los Angeles Lakers – 115

In our example above, we can see that the visiting Knicks are the underdog (plus odds), and the home team LA Lakers, is the favorite.

If a bettor wanted to bet New York on the moneyline, a $100 wager would return $120 in profit.

Spread Bets

Point spreads are very popular in all sports, including the NBA. Oddsmakers set a spread to make the game even for bettors.

Favorites need to win by more than the point spread, while underdogs can lose by less than the point spread and still win your bet.

Point Spread Example

  • Brooklyn Nets +5
  • Los Angeles Clippers -5

Looking at our Point Spread example above, we can see that the visiting Nets are +5 point underdogs on the road against the Clippers.

This means the Nets can lose the game by 4 points or less OR win the game outright and still win this point spread bet.

Totals Bets

Totals, also known as over/unders, are another option that is easy to understand.

Sportsbooks set a total for an NBA game, and bettors must select whether the game’s final score will be over or under that number.

Totals (O/U) Example

  • Cleveland Cavaliers vs Milwaukee Bucks – O/U +210.5

Our totals example above shows us that the Cavs vs. Bucks game total was set at 210.5 points.

If someone wanted to bet over that total, then both teams would have to finish with a combined score of 211 points or more.

Prop Bets

NBA prop bets are individual wagers based on in-game events other than the moneyline, spread, and total.

These bets can be on a game, player, or team props, but many of the most popular options revolve around player performances.

For example, you can bet on the over or under for an individual player’s point total.

If you put money on LeBron James Over 25.5 points in a game and he scores 26 or more, the bet is a win.

Parlay Bets

Parlays are wagers which have multiple events included on one bet slip.

Because you are making multiple picks at once, the odds are increased, and the payouts are significant, making betting parlays exciting.

But, at the same time, parlays are risky because one wrong pick spoils the entire bet.

Futures Bets

Futures are bets on something long-term and take much longer to settle than the few hours it takes an NBA game to be played.

These can revolve around teams if you want to bet on a division winner or the NBA champion, or they can be based on players if you want to guess who the Most Valuable Player will be.

Most futures are placed before the season starts, but they do carry into the regular season as well.

Futures odds are set in the preseason but will be adjusted constantly throughout the season, based on team and player performance.

Win Totals Bets

Arguably a more sophisticated NBA betting market, the NBA season win totals are beginning to gain more popularity among bettors.

This wager requires picking over or under on a total for how many games a specific team will win in the regular season.

An NBA regular season consists of each team playing 82 games.

A market may well be presented as ‘Milwaukee Bucks to Win Over 51.5 game.’

So if the Bucks win 52 games or more, over bettors will be cashing winning tickets..

Remember, the regular season is a marathon, and teams will suffer dips in performance levels and results.

NBA Betting Tips & Strategy

Betting on basketball is easy to do, but making a profit from betting on the basketball can be difficult. 

That is why it always helps to have a plan for your wagers. But don’t worry, because we have several tips and strategies that you can follow to ensure your success.

A solid strategy will give you more confidence and boost your bankroll.

Of course, a lot of patience is required, and you should always learn from your mistakes and understand what you can do better next time.

By following these three betting tips, you will notice a difference in your betting performance over time and get the desired results.

Shop For The Best Odds

It’s always a bright idea to shop around for the best odds.

Look for the bookmaker that provides competitive odds so that you can get value for money.

Of course, having multiple sportsbook accounts helps you compare lines and be ready to take advantage of the best one.

It’s be shown previously that shopping around for your Best Odds can increase your overall profit by 25% over the course of an NBA betting season.

Look For Reverse Line Movement

This is one strategy that all novice bettors would be wise to adopt.

Reverse line movement occurs when the public is on one side of a game, but the odds shift toward the other side.

It tells us that the professional bettors could be fading the public, and you may want to also.

Research Stats Before Games

Before putting your money on anything, do some statistical research.

It’s important to know what the team you’re looking at does well compared to what the opponent does well. This research can go a long way toward determining your pick.

Start Small & Get More Adventurous

The temptation with all the NBA gambling options is that you may wish to bet on everything.

However, it is best to start small initially, with the amount you bet and the number of bets you place.

Going too fast, in the beginning, can lead to a quickly diminishing bankroll, so betting on a daily sport like the NBA requires patience, limits, and discipline. It all begins with starting slow.

Bet With Your Head, Not Your Heart

Sometimes, it is easy to be swayed and follow what your heart says.

When it comes to NBA betting, the best advice is to go with what your head is telling you.

This can be achieved by reading various tips, and expert advice and staying tuned to the latest NBA betting developments.

Most of us love to bet on our favorite team. It’s totally acceptable to always blindly bet on your favorite team to win, because who wants to cheer against a team you want to see win.

However, if being profitable when betting is your goal, you need to take emotion out of your bets and go with your head, not your heart.

Understand The Rules

Of course, understanding the rules is essential to success in sports betting, especially in basketball, where the NBA rules differ from the college game.

If you’re betting totals, it helps to know that quarters are 12 minutes and the shot clock is 24 seconds long.

Each player is also allowed six fouls rather than five in the NCAA game.

Because of the difference in rules, the NBA is a significantly more high-scoring league than college basketball.

Advanced NBA Betting Systems

If earning profits was easy, every bettor would be able to do it.

Bettors would be wise to give themselves every opportunity to gain an edge, which is where betting systems come into play.

Bounce Back System

The Bounce Back system entails being able to spot when a team is playing at home after turning out a bad performance in their previous game.

Typically, bettors will back teams with a solid field goal percentage and a great home record. This system can be helpful for totals in addition to individual teams.

Betting Against A Blowout Win

The Blowout System acts in the opposite way to the Bounce Back System.

Oddsmakers and bettors get excited when a side wins by 15 points or more. The belief is that winning consecutive games in blowout fashion can be very difficult.

However, a team that wins by 15 points or more might see their odds shift the next game, making them a significant favorite.

Betting on the underdogs to cover the spread is how this system works.

Back-To-Back System

The NBA schedule can be demanding.

The back-to-back betting system relies on predicting how a side will fare when playing on a second consecutive date. Teams with back-to-backs tend to tire in the second game.

Sportsbooks obviously will try to factor this into the spread, but the rigors of NBA travel and physical demands of playing back-to-back nights can be tough.

Zig-Zag Theory

Drawing upon elements of the Bounce-Back and Blowout Systems, the Zig-Zag Theory provides a handicapping strategy that can be used in the NBA playoffs.

Here, a team that lost the previous game is more likely to bounce back and cover the spread in the next matchup.

The Tunnel System

The tunnel system is a betting method that uses varying odds from sportsbooks to build a middle ground.

For example, a bettor may take an Over 224.5 at one sportsbook and spot the total at 227 on another site.

If they take Under 227, the bettor has built a tunnel where the total can land to win both bets. Thus, the bettor is guaranteed to win one of the two wagers.

Betting On NBA Playoffs Online

After the drama of the regular season, the NBA playoffs come into full swing.

Here, the brackets are decided based on a team’s performances throughout the regular season.

Games are a best-of-seven-elimination format. The drama increases every step on the road to the NBA Finals.

All NBA playoff games have sportsbook odds covering every angle of the affair. Bettors can choose between various moneylines, spreads, totals, and props.

There are even futures bets based on the result of the series, how many games it will go, and the exact result.

Betting On The NBA Finals

Arguably one of the grandest sports spectacles in the United States, the NBA Finals are a must-watch for any bettor or basketball fan.

The NBA Finals consist of a best-of-seven-game format where the first to win four games gets the title.

Betting sites offer the same myriad of choices that exist for the regular season and the playoffs, plus more.

There are never more player props available than during the NBA Finals, and there is undoubtedly something for every kind of bettor out there.

In fact, props are perfect for this time of the season when oddsmakers and sharps are all over the standard moneyline, spread, and total.

Always Shop Around

When it comes to betting on NBA basketball, the single greatest edge a bettor has over the sportsbooks is their ability to shop around for the Best Odds.

There is value in Shopping Around for every bet you make, but for those interested in sprinkling some money on a few teams with some NBA futures bets, if you aren’t shopping around, you risk leaving a lot of money on the table.

Let’s use the Phoenix Suns as an example. During the offseason this year, Phoenix could be found at +1000 to win the NBA Championship or as low as +643 to win it all.

For a $100 bettor, that is a difference in profit of almost $400 in profit, just from a single bet.

$400 in profit for one bet or a difference of 40% ROI on a single bet is more than enough reason to shop around for your Best Odds.