The greatest athletes in the world compete in the National Basketball Association. Basketball is the ultimate team game. And, like any other sport, everyone loves to bet on the NBA. A sport without gambling just wouldn’t be as much fun.
Each team plays 82 games during the regular season, which means fans have a plethora of opportunities to get action before the playoffs. Once the playoffs begin in April, the heavy betting kicks off. But the regular season is long. Some fans argue it’s too long.
We disagree with that, however. You can never have enough basketball. The season starts in October and runs until April. There are two conferences – Eastern and Western. The top eight teams from each conference, based on record, make the playoffs.
There are four playoff rounds and the entire tournament lasts about two months. Each round uses a best-of-seven format. Once a team wins four games in the series, they advance to the next round. In mid-June, a world champion is crowned and then everyone begins to focus on the next season.
Step-By-Step Guide on How to Bet on NBA Games
Ready to take the plunge and wager on the great game of professional basketball? Great! But before you do that, check out this step-by-step guide to learn how to bet on basketball and then read our expert tips below.
Step #1: Learn the Game of Basketball
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to know every player on every roster to win at basketball betting. But you do need a solid understanding of the game, the teams, the star players, the top role players, and coaching philosophies. Otherwise, you probably won’t have much success
Step #2: Find the Perfect Sports Betting Sites
Our rule of thumb is to use at least two sports betting apps, if not three. We recommend you do this because then you’ll have access to the most favorable lines on any game. The sites we prefer, for reasons we’ll describe later in this guide, are Bet365, Betway, and 888 Sports or if you’re betting on the NBA in the United States, FanDuel and DraftKings.
Step #3: Handicap Games on Your Own
Ignore the point spread and totals at first. Do your own handicapping of each game. Come up with your own point spread based on how you project the game to progress. Then open your sports betting app and check out the lines. If you find games that don’t match up with how you have them handicapped, those are games you should bet.
What to Look for in an NBA Betting Site
Before selecting a betting site, you need to know what to look for. There are hundreds of places to gamble online and most of them are unsafe or just not worth your time. The most important thing you should seek is a NBA betting site that is safe and secure. You’re trusting these people with your money so if an online sportsbook site has a horrible reputation, that isn’t the place you want to play.
Next, the site(s) you choose should offer a wide-range of betting options. That includes point spread, moneyline, parlays, teasers, totals, futures, etc. And don’t forget the in-game betting. That is where you can make some really good money. Not every NBA online sportsbook allows in-game betting and those are the ones you should avoid.
Another factor to consider is the deposit options available. Some online gambling sites limit the ways you can fund your betting account. There are certain sites that only accept cryptocurrency, which obviously won’t work for someone who isn’t a crypto investor. We prefer sites that accept standard payment methods such as bank wire and Visa/MasterCard credit and debit cards. We also like to use eCheck and other internet payment processors.
What are the Best NBA Betting Sites?
Now that we’ve told you what we look for in an online sportsbook, we’re ready to disclose the specific betting sites we use. They are as follows:
- 888 Sports
If you’re looking for a US accepted NBA betting site, we suggest FanDuel and DraftKings.
The reason we are partial towards these sites is because they meet the criteria we listed above, and then some. On top of offering every betting option imaginable and providing a safe and secure platform, they take care of their customers, especially us loyal customers.
Customer service truly does matter in this industry and we greatly appreciate their commitment to taking care of us. If we ever have a question or an issue with the site, they don’t ignore us or fail to solve our problem. We always receive a quick response to our emails and they pay out winners quickly.
How to Read NBA Betting Lines and Odds
You now know where to bet on the NBA. But now it’s time to start getting into the betting advice so that you can actually win some money. Most people lose at sports betting. The reason for that is they simply don’t know what the heck they’re doing. We have some good news for you. After reading through this NBA basketball betting guide, you’ll have a good understanding of what it takes to win.
The first part of our betting tips portion of this guide is to discuss the betting lines and odds on NBA games. If you’re familiar with NFL betting, you’ll be happy to know there a lot of similarities.
Before every game, the oddsmakers set the lines based on how they feel the game will play out. The line then adjusts based on the amount wagered on each side. The goal of every sportsbook is to get even money on each side because that guarantees a house victory regardless of the outcome of the game.
The way that works is what’s called “juice” is placed on the point spread. Gamblers don’t get an even-money proposition on the point spread. Instead, the line is typically -110 on both sides. What that means is if you bet $11 on the point spread you’ll earn a $10 profit if your team covers.
How does the house always win if it gets even money on both sides? Simple. If $1,100,000 is bet on the favorite and $1,100,000 is bet on the underdog, the house will pay the winning side $1 million while collecting $1,100,000 from the losing side for a $100,000 profit.
Basketball Point Spreads: If the point spread was even money on both sides, they wouldn’t collect a dime. So, what is the point spread? It’s a wager on a team to either win by x-amount of points or lose by less than x-amount of points. The favorite is always listed with a – point spread.
For example, if the Los Angeles Lakers were favored by 7.5 points, you’ll see them listed as -7.5 on your betting app. If the Lakers were 7.5-point underdogs, they’d appear as +7.5.
Basketball Moneyline Bet: Another type of wager is the moneyline. Instead of getting or giving up points, you’re simply betting on a basketball team to win the game straight up. The other difference between this type of bet and the point spread is the odds presented to you will be different. Unless the teams are even, you typically won’t find a moneyline at -110 odds or lower.
For games involving one team that has a serious mis-match against another, you might find a line around -340 or even worse. That means you have to wager $340 just to ship a $100 profit. So, in these cases, you have to decide if the risk is worth the small reward. Often times, even though you know the underdog isn’t likely to win, you might be getting better long-term value betting on the underdog to win outright.
Basketball Points Total Bet: The third most common type of NBA bet is the point totals. The odds on the point totals is usually right about the same as the point spread. You might find that one side is even money and the other -110 or -105, but in most cases both sides will be around -110. Point totals – otherwise referred to as the over/under – is a bet on how many points will be scored in the game.
Other Types of Basketball bets: Other types of basketball wagers include parlays and teasers. These are more difficult to win than betting on just one game, but you can make some serious cash if you’re good at it. With a parlay or teaser, you must win multiple wagers in one or you lose.
So, if you take, say, the Lakers -5.5, Cavaliers +2, Celtics/Raptors OVR 202.5 on a parlay, if any of those things don’t go your way, you lose the bet.
A teaser works the same as a parlay except they’re easier to win because you get a few extra points added to a team’s point spread. But they also have less favorable odds, meaning you can’t win as much. Still, teasers are fun wagers and can extremely profitable.
What are the Best Bets on Basketball?
Early season NBA is tougher to bet than later in the season simply because good teams often get off to slow starts. Even the best basketball team in the league can play terrible the first 6 or 7 games. So, you’ll often find some good value betting underdogs the first month of the season.
Later in the year, you can find a lot of steals. Teams that are tanking to get a lottery pick or the #1 draft pick usually get blown out late in the season. And then teams that already have their playoff fate locked up often play down to the competition.
3 Best NBA Betting Tips
If you’re looking for some expert tips on how to bet on NBA games and March Madness, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve compiled our top three betting tips that will help you make more money.
Tip #1: Find Teams Bound to Regress
Some teams get off to a hot start above their true talent level. The NBA has a long season. The best teams end up at the top and the worst teams end up at the bottom. Sure, once in a while, a team comes out of nowhere and surprises everyone.
But in the NBA, the teams with the superstars win and the teams without, don’t. It’s really that simple. Heading into just about any NBA season, you know which teams are going to be competitive and which teams will suck.
So, if you spot a team halftway through the season that is clearly performing above their expectations, you should bet against them daily the rest of the season. Chances are, you’ll end up winning money.
Tip #2: Find Teams Bound to Improve
The opposite of our first tip is to spot the teams that are underperforming and bet on them to cover or win often the rest of the season. Again, it’s a long season. Teams play 82 games. Sometimes, a talented team isn’t interested in early-season games and it shows on their mediocre record.
But most of these teams, once the playoffs near, will turn on the jets. You can only keep a good team down for so long. A team full of proven shooters that have been struggling for a few weeks is bound to eventually turn it around. It may not be tonight or tomorrow night, but it will likely happen before the season ends.
Tip #3: Talent Matters Most
We aren’t trying to say that having good team chemistry isn’t important. It is. But the fact of the matter is talent wins in the NBA. The Chicago Bulls didn’t win six NBA titles in the 1990s just because they played well together on the court. They won because they had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. It’s really that simple.
LeBron James has had many issues with teammates. He and Kyrie Irving, for example, didn’t get along great. But they won a title together in 2016 and LeBron’s teams made it to the NBA Finals eight straight years. Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal didn’t get along for much of their career with the Lakers but they won three straight NBA championships. Why? Because they were just more talented than other teams.
So, when you’re betting NBA futures or individual games, at the end of the day, talent on the roster is the most important factor to consider.
NBA Betting Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who is the greatest NBA bettor of all-time?
If you want to learn how to win huge sums of money betting on the NBA, befriend Haralabos Voulgaris. He may not be the greatest NBA bettor ever, but he’s right up there. Voulgaris, formerly a high-stakes poker player, has made a killing betting on basketball over the years.
However, he is now retired from betting. He works in the Dallas Mavericks organization instead. Voulgaris initially became famous in 2000 when he bet his bankroll of $70,000 on the Los Angeles Lakers to win the NBA title at 6.5-1 odds. The Lakers won the title and he collected $455,000. The rest is history.
Q: Who are the best players in NBA history?
There have been so many incredible superstars over the years in the NBA. Most agree Michael Jordan, who played for the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s and 1980s is the best because he led his team to six NBA titles.
Other legends include Magic Johnson (Los Angeles Lakers), Larry Bird (Boston Celtics), Bill Russell (Celtics), LeBron James (Lakers, Miami Heat, Cleveland Cavaliers), Kobe Bryant (Lakers), and Wilt Chamberlain (multiple teams).
Q: What other betting advice can you give me?
This isn’t exclusive to just NBA online betting, but we strongly suggest you use a proper bankroll management philosophy. Stick with a smart money-management system to your gambling. Bet the same amount of units on each game. Don’t ever let it ride. There’s no such thing as a lock. If you bet it all on one game and things don’t go your way, you’ll be broke.
Q: Can you win betting on the NBA?
Yes! Many people do. Sure, the house has an edge over the average player, but if you do your homework and bet wisely, you’ll have an edge over the house. NBA betting online really isn’t that difficult. Those who win aren’t geniuses. They simply do a lot of research and find spots the oddsmakers missed.
Q: How are the NBA Playoffs teams determined and what is the playoffs format?
Each team plays 82 games during the regular season. There are two conferences – Eastern and Western. The eight teams with the best records in each conference earns a spot in the playoffs, which begins in April.
Records matter when it comes to having an advantage in the playoffs. The team with the worst record faces the team with the best record in the first round. The second worst team plays the second best team. The third worst team plays the third best team. And then the fourth and fifth best teams square off in the first round.
Each series (round) is a best-of-seven format, meaning once a team wins four games, the series is over and the winner advances to the next round. There are three rounds before the NBA Finals in June. The winner from the East meets the champion of the West in one final best-of-seven series, with the winner being crowned champions of the world.