How To Bet on NBA?
The NBA is one of the greatest sports leagues in the world, and it is also a favorite among bettors. Getting to watch the best basketball players in the world while having a chance to wager on these games is naturally a huge draw. Bookmakers offer a variety of betting markets for the NBA season, and there are plenty of good odds available as well. Both new and experienced bettors are guaranteed to find valuable wagers.
If you want to get into NBA betting but don’t know how to get started, then we are here to offer a helping hand. Take a look at our guide on how to bet on the NBA and learn everything you need, from the betting markets available to how NBA betting lines work, how to read NBA odds, and the best NBA betting trends.
History of the NBA
The NBA was created in 1949 following the merger of the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and the National Basketball League (NBL), rebranding as the National Basketball Association (or simply NBA). The newly-established league had some rough early years, frequently losing franchises, dropping from 17 in 1949 to eight in 1955. But the NBA did manage to survive the shaky start, and the number of franchises started to grow again in 1961. The Charlotte Bobcats were the most recent expansion team to join the NBA, in 2004, taking the number of franchises to 30.
Over its history, the NBA has had a number of dynasties, dominating teams that piled up one championship after the other. The most famous NBA dynasty was, without question, Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls. From 1990 to 1998, the Bulls won an impressive six NBA championships. The Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Los Angeles Lakers’ dynasty reached eight finals between 1979 and 1989, winning five titles. More recently, the Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal Lakers won three titles in a four-year span from 2000 and 2004. And right now, the Golden State Warriors continue to build on theirs, having reached the finals six times since 2014 while capturing four titles.
The NBA regular season begins mid-October, with the 30 teams split into two conferences, East and West. These conferences are further split into three divisions each: Atlantic, Central and Southeast for the Eastern conference, and Northwest, Pacific and Southwest for the Western conference. Each team plays a total of 82 games, including 16 within the division.
Division champions automatically secure the top 3 seeds of their respective conference for the playoffs, with the remaining seeds being determined by each team’s overall record. A total of ten teams qualify for the postseason in each conference. Since the 2020-21 season, the 7th through 10th-placed teams of each conference take part in a play-in round to determine the two remaining playoff spots. Playoff series are played in a best of seven format. The bracket does not get reseeded at the end of every round. The Eastern and Western conference champions face off in the NBA Finals to determine the champion.
NBA Betting Explained
As you can see, there is always a lot going on in the NBA season. From division titles to the NBA championship and individual awards, bettors have a lot of options to wager on. Let’s take a look at some of the NBA betting markets available, and the best NBA betting trends.
- Moneyline: the most popular and also the simplest betting market. A moneyline bet simply means wagering on which team will win the match.
- Over/Under: the bookmaker gives a betting line, and the bettor must wager on whether the combined score of both teams goes over or under that NBA betting line.
- Point Spread: both teams are awarded a handicap, which is negative for the favorite and positive for the underdog. The favorite needs to win by a margin larger than its handicap in order to cover the spread. The underdog covers the spread if it loses by a smaller margin than its handicap, or if it wins the match.
- Future Bets: wagering on a future event related to the season. Popular NBA betting trends for futures include wagering on the champion, the regular season MVP, the division champions and the conference champions.
- Parlay Bet: a bet which combines multiple individual bets, or legs, into one. Their odds are then multiplied, creating a better payout for an increased risk. You can only win a parlay bet if each individual leg wins. However, even if a single leg loses, then the entire parlay also loses.
- Prop Bets: one of the most popular NBA betting trends right now. Props, or proposition bets, aren’t necessarily related to the match score. Here are some examples: how many points will LeBron James score? How many 3-pointers will Stephen Curry hit? How many assists will Chris Paul get? Will a player score a double-double?
NBA Betting Tips
- Keep up with the latest NBA betting trends to spot the best betting markets available. You can always spot a good bet by exploring props, over/under, aside from the usual moneyline bets.
- Compare the odds and NBA betting lines between different bookmakers. Although it’s unusual for sportsbooks to deviate significantly from one another, there are some small differences in odds and lines that can result in better bets and payouts
- Follow injury and roster updates. Some teams choose to rest their players when there are back-to-back games, and injuries also play an important part during the season. Knowing that beforehand can help you find good odds before the lines shift.
NBA Betting Examples
- The Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics are listed as the early favorites to take the 2022-23 NBA titles. As the defending champions, it only makes sense for the Warriors to be the favorites for a repeat. And after losing the 2021-22 Finals in six games, the Celtics remain as the top team in the Eastern conference. Both the Warriors and the Celtics are listed at +600 to win the title, paying $600 for every $100 bet.
- Miami Heat at Golden State Warriors NBA betting lines and odds, week 2 of the 2022-23 season: the Warriors were the favorites at -250, meaning that you would need to bet $250 to win back $100 in profit. The Heat were listed at +200, which means that a $100 bet would win $200. The point spread for the game was -6.5 for the Warriors at -105 and +6.5 for the Heat at -115. If the Warriors win by 7 or more, they cover the spread, and you would need to bet $105 for a $100 profit. Heat covers the spread if it loses by 6 or less or if it wins the game. You would need to bet $115 to win $100.
- Here are the NBA betting lines and odds for some props from the same game: Bam Adebayo scoring a double-double, with yes at +140 and no at -200. Kevon Looney had an over/under of 5.5 points, paying +105 for the over and -140 for the under.
Pros vs Cons of NBA Betting
- As one of the biggest sports leagues in the world, the NBA also draws a lot of attention to betting. Sportsbooks offer a variety of betting lines and competitive odds for NBA games.
- The season is quite long, going from October to July. There is plenty of time to increase your bankroll.
- Games happen every day, and for some bettors, they can be hard to keep up with. Staying on top of everything, from injuries to trade rumors and everything in-between, demands a lot of time.
- Even top teams have their ups and downs. When you take that to 82 games, these oscillations in performance become even more evident. Predicting when a team is going to have an off night isn’t exactly easy.
If you like basketball betting, then NBA betting is an absolute must. Having a chance to wager on the best players in the world on a daily basis is great, and it gets even better thanks to the many betting markets, NBA betting lines, and competitive odds available. It’s a long season though, so be prepared for nights in which your bets do not go according to plan. To open up your wagering horizons more, you can look up our section How to bet on College Basketball.