How to Bet on NBA Basketball

The 2019-2020 NBA season is more than half-way over. We have roughly 50 games in the books and you may have noticed that online sports betting has become legal in quite a few states, with more and more states following suit.

So, now that it is legal or on the cusp there off, depending on where you are located, how do you bet on NBA basketball?

There are five common ways to bet on NBA games: the Moneyline, the point spread, the total, propositions, and futures. In this article, we’ll quickly go over each.

The Moneyline

This is the most basic way of betting. In short, it’s simply wagering on who wins and who loses. Although it is the most basic form of betting, it can be hard to find value unless there is an underdog with a really good shot at winning. The reason for this is, take the Lakers who have been winning all season, if they are playing a lesser team they may have odds of say, -400. You know the Lakers are going to win, but the odds reflect that so to win $100 dollars, you have to risk $400 or in a lesser amount, risk $40 to win $10. This is why the point spread is so popular.

The Point Spread

Betting against the spread or ATS is probably the most popular form of wagering on sports. Experts in Las Vegas, and SBR’s best sportsbooks, handicap the teams to see how much the favorite team should win by and then assign fairly even odds to each side. So, in that same example of the Lakers being massive favorites, they may assess the matchup so that the Lakers are expected to win by 9.5 points – you may be wondering why there is a half-point. It is to ensure a winning/losing wager. Anyhow, the Lakers are listed at -9.5 (-110) the other team at +9.5 (-110). If the Lakers win by 10 points or more, and you wagered on them, you return a much more profitable, $.91 on the dollar. If you chose the other team, they just have to lose by less than 10 points and you return the same amount.

The Total

You may have heard the term OVER/UNDER. Total betting is similar to the point spread except the handicappers figure out approximately how many combined points will be scored by both teams. Then you choose whether the two teams will combine to score OVER that number or UNDER that number. It looks something like:

Lakers vs. Kings   215.5 (-115)

                                215.5 (-105)

In this case, you can see a slight difference in the payout. This means there is a slightly higher expectation that the OVER will cash – the OVER is always listed on top and the UNDER always below. That said, You usually see an even price like -110/-110 or -105/-105.

Proposition Bets

Propositions or prop bets can be a lot of fun and are usually considered entertainment bets, but if you put some care into picking them, they can be quite profitable.

The most common type of prop bet is player props and team props. Player props are simply are betting OVER/UNDERS on an Individual’s performance. For example, Steph Curry OVER/UNDER 5.5 three-pointers made in the game (-110/-110). Or James Harden OVER/UNDER 29.5 points etc. Team Props would be along the lines of how many free throws are made throughout the course of the game, number of rebounds, steals, blocks, etc. For both categories, you can find player and team props for just about any stat line.

Futures Odds

Futures betting is exactly how it sounds. You are wagering on the future. Most commonly on the division winner, conference winner, or NBA title winner. They tend to have longer odds at the beginning of the season so you can hedge your bets a little bit, sometimes picking a few and still earn a profit if one of them lands. For example, maybe I pick the Bucks, Celtics, and Raptors to win the East.  The Bucks are +300, the Celtics, are +2000, the Raps +2500. If I risk $100 on the Bucks, $100 on the Raps, and $100 on the Celtics, I have a total of $300 in play. If the Bucks win I will get my original $100 returned to me and win $300 but lose $200 on the Raps and Celts, so my net profit is $100. If the Raptors win, I would lose the $200 on the Bucks and Celtics but win $2500 bringing my net gains to $2300!

NBA Betting is simple and straight forward. It’s all about making sure you take the time to only place wagers on teams that have a significant edge against the betting lines and making sure that you have a few different sportsbook accounts open to shop for the best betting lines.