Betting on the NBA is the absolute best. If you’re a hardcore hoops fan, it really doesn’t get much better than betting on the biggest, fastest, strongest, and most skilled basketball players on the planet. With an extremely strong presence worldwide, the National Basketball Association continues to grow in popularity.
Our NBA betting guide helps you learn how to understand basketball betting. That way, you don’t end up like Charles Barkley when it comes to making your NBA betting predictions.
NBA Betting Odds: Basketball Betting Odds Explained
Before making any NBA bets, it’s imperative basketball bettors understand NBA betting lines. Basketball betting lines are set by oddsmakers at online sportsbooks, and look like something along these lines:
|Los Angeles Lakers||-120|
The minus symbol (-) lets us know right off the hop that the Lakers are the favourites in this particular matchup. And the plus sign (+) is an indication that the Celtics are the underdogs. If you believe the Lake Show is going to win this game, then you would have to wager $120 in order to win $100. However, if you think the C’s can pull off the upset, a $100 wager would win you $120.
The $20 is the juice or the vig, and it’s what the sportsbook collects from each wager. For the record, you don’t have to bet $100. You can wager $5, $10, $20, $50, it’s entirely up to you how much money you want to put down. Some of us don’t have that kind of Michael Jordan money.
A moneyline bet is when you pick a team to win straight up. Picking a winner means you are wagering on that team to win outright. Let’s say the Brooklyn Nets are favored in a matchup over the New York Knicks. You want to bet the moneyline on Kevin Durant and company:
|Los Angeles Lakers||-225|
Kyrie’s Nets, and the flat earth they walk on, would have implied odds of 69.23 percent, while the Atlantic Division dwelling Knickerbockers’ implied odds would be 35.09 percent. A bet on the boys from the Big Apple would definitely be a riskier bet. And not just because of the betting odds, but for other obvious basketball reasons.
As the underdog though, the payout is that much sweeter. Like a New York style cheesecake with extra strawberries. And while a bet on BKN in most cases is the wiser wager, the payout is a little bit boring in comparison.
Point Spread Betting
In NBA betting, like in other sports, there will always be games where teams aren’t evenly matched. But rather than wagering on one team to win, an alternative is provided in the form of a point spread. In point spread betting, the underdog is awarded with an advantage before the game even begins. The favourite meanwhile, is put at a disadvantage prior to tip-off. For example:
|Toronto Raptors||-2.5 (-110)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||+2.5 (-110)|
Philly would need to either win the game outright or lose by two points or less, while the Raps would need to win the game by three points or more. Ultimately, you’re wagering on which team will cover the spread.
If instead, the spread for the same matchup looked like this:
|Toronto Raptors||-2.0 (-110)|
|Philadelphia 76ers||+2.0 (-110)|
A two-point Toronto win or a two-point loss by the brotherly love would result in a “push”, and you would get your money back as though the wager never even happened. Just like Anthony Bennett’s NBA basketball career.
Anytime you see “ATS” associated with this type of wager, it stands for “against the spread”. Fear not. It has absolutely nothing to do with the spread of COVID-19 or any other virus for that matter. Point spread NBA betting is safe and secure, so long as you’re using one of the best NBA betting sites online like Bet365.
Totals: OVER/UNDER Betting
NBA Totals or combined score betting, is when you wager on whether the final score of an NBA game will go OVER or UNDER a set number of points. Let’s say the Memphis Grizzlies (sorry Vancouverites) are hosting John Wall and the Houston Rockets. Yes, you read that right. John Wall is no longer a Washington Wizard. The NBA odds at Bet365 would look like such:
|Option||Number of Points|
By taking the OVER, you believe both teams will combine to score more than 240 points. By taking the UNDER, you believe both teams will combine to score 239 points or less. A PUSH can happen in totals betting too if the shared points hit the precise number set by the oddsmakers.
With OVER/UNDER betting, you can wager on all sorts of statistical categories, like regular season win totals, points, rebounds, assists, blocks, steals, triple doubles, and so on. NBA betting options are endless with OVER/UNDERs.
NBA prop bets are wagers on the occurrence or non-occurrence of certain basketball events that may not directly correlate to the overall outcome of a game. Proposition bets are based on team or player milestones, such as:
- How many dimes will LeBron James dish out?
- How many boards will Giannis Antetokounmpo snag?
- Will the Dallas Mavericks score 30 points in the first quarter against the Atlanta Hawks?
NBA props are a lot of fun. Player props take away the stress of having to wager on a team to win straight up or cover a point spread. If it’s entertainment you want, besides money of course because that kind of goes without saying if you’re betting on basketball, then get your propcorn ready and enjoy the show!
For any fortune tellers, mind readers, psychics or time travelers out there, this type of bet is for you. Just stare into your crystal basketball, and all your NBA wagers will be won. If only futures betting worked that way. NBA futures are bets made weeks or months in advance of basketball events.
- Will the Minnesota Timberwolves make the playoffs?
- Which team will win the Eastern Conference?
- Will the Milwaukee Bucks win the NBA championship?
- Which team will win the Western Conference?
- Who will win Rookie of the Year?
- Who will be the NBA Finals MVP?
NBA future bets are more like long-term wagers. Your money can be tied up for a while depending on when you placed the wager, but it can also be beneficial to jump on the action early before the NBA betting lines move.
An NBA parlay bet lets you bundle up like you’re in the windy city of Chicago. Get those layers on with one bet on top of another. NBA parlays allow you make two or more bets on one ticket. It’s the KG of NBA betting. Get it? The Big Ticket?…
Speaking of Kevin Garnett, if you haven’t seen “Uncut Gems” yet, do yourself a favour and check it out. Adam Sandler is incredible in this high-stakes sports betting film. Dad (or bad) jokes aside, parlays let you take the moneyline from one game, the totals from another, and the point spread from a separate matchup:
Miami Heat Moneyline + Denver Nuggets vs Utah Jazz Totals + Los Angeles Clippers to Cover the Spread
All of your wagers have to hit though or your bet slip is a bust. That’s the thing with those parlays. You have to be perfect across the board or you’re pooched.
Live NBA Betting
No, it’s not what you’re thinking. This is not NBA Live. It’s not NBA2K or NBA Jam either. Live NBA betting is not a video game. It’s making in-game wagers as the basketball event is unfolding in real time.
Live odds, while the game is going on, let you bet on practically each and every play like the next team to score for example. Live betting odds can disappear like (Orlando) magic. Pounce on those live NBA betting lines like you’re diving for a loose ball. They’re there for the taking, and minus the floor burns.
NBA Betting Tips
When handicapping your NBA bets:
- Factor in home court advantage
- Take into consideration winning and losing streaks
- Search for betting trends
- See how NBA teams perform historically ATS or SU
- Analyze offensive and defensive statistics
- Familiarize yourself with officiating crews
- Research how teams fare as favourites and underdogs
- Check the standings
- Comb through team reports for any injuries
- Look at what the consensus and computer are predicting
Ready to Make Your NBA Betting Picks?
NBA betting Canada can be fun when you have a better feel for what you’re doing, and you’re not just out there betting blind all NBA season. Steve Nash would be the first to tell you to study up, do your homework, have fun with it, and bet on NBA games responsibly. Ok, maybe Captain Canada has bigger fish to fry in Biggie’s borough, but you get the point.