The NBA is one of the most popular sports leagues in the world, having a massive international following along with their U.S. fandom. Because of this, American citizens and tourists alike tend to have questions about how to bet on NBA games and what everything means. There is a large selection of NBA betting odds and options available to bettors. This is a breakdown of some of the basics to keep you ready for opening night and sharp until the NBA Finals.
Where Is NBA Betting Legal?
First, being in a state where sports betting is legal is vital for betting on any sport. Most states and Washington, D.C., have some form of legal betting for people to bet on the NBA. The following states have a way to bet legally for either mobile or retail betting:
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Rhode Island
- South Dakota
- Washington, D.C.
- West Virginia
Being physically located in one of these places allows you to bet on the NBA if you meet the age requirements.
Types of NBA Betting
There are a ton of ways to bet on NBA action. The three most common ways are the Moneyline, total (over/under), and point spread. Other ways people place NBA bets are through NBA props, NBA parlays, and NBA Futures. You can choose to bet on the NBA however you want, but you should make sure you know what everything means first.
NBA Moneyline Betting
An NBA Moneyline bet is the easiest to understand. A Moneyline bet is simply a wager on which team you believe is going to win the game. If they win the game, your bet wins. If they lose, unfortunately, so does your bet. If a game is tied after four quarters, the bet won’t be a push, as the NBA doesn’t have ties. The results of the ensuing quarter or quarters of overtime will determine whether your Moneyline bet is a winner or loser.
NBA Over/Under Betting
Also known as the total, the over/under bet is one wagered on the total combined final score between the two teams. Sportsbooks will set a total as an estimated number for the sum of the final score. You wager on whether the actual total will be above or below that mark. For example, if the total is set at 212.5, a final score of 115-110 would be a win for the over. This is because it adds up to 225, which is greater than 212.5. A final score of 100-98 means that the under would win because it’s short of the 212.5 mark at only 198 total points. If a total is set at a whole number, let’s say 220, a final score of 112-108 would be a push because the total would be 220 exactly. Bettors would get a refund on a push.
NBA Against the Spread Betting
Betting against the spread is a way to give underdogs a chance in the betting world. A margin of victory is designated for the game, say 7.5 points, and you bet on if the underdogs will keep the final score closer than that or if the favorites will win by a greater margin. For example, if the Dallas Mavericks were -7.5 against the Toronto Raptors, they would need at least an eight-point victory to win against the spread. A 129-122 win by the Mavericks would be a win against the spread for the Raptors, even though they lost the game. If the Raptors were to win the game outright, they would also be a winning bet against the spread.
NBA Prop Betting
Prop bets are short for proposition bets, which are bets on team and player performance. Their bets are not necessarily dependent on the outcome of the game, which makes it fun for bettors who want to root for certain players or events. Which player will score the first basket, how many threes will a player make, and which team will reach a certain amount of points first are some of the popular NBA prop bet options.
NBA Parlay Betting
With multiple NBA games per day for most of the season, NBA parlay bets are a popular option for NBA bettors. A parlay works by combining single wagers into one single bet. At the price of one bet, you get better odds, with the caveat being that each leg of the parlay must win for the parlay to win. They’re riskier than standalone bets but potentially more rewarding if it works.
NBA Futures Betting
Just like its name suggests, NBA Futures betting is about taking a shot at end-of-season results. Futures will usually open in the preseason and stay open with updated odds all season until the bet’s result is official. Awards, conference winners, and the future NBA Finals champion are among the plethora of Futures bets available to bettors for the NBA.
NBA Odds, Picks, and Predictions
Take a look at all of the NBA odds for the day, month, and season to check out potential bets. These are our expert NBA picks for the day, including full NBA predictions for the season up to the NBA Finals. These are great looks at some professional insight on what to expect throughout the season.