How to Read Basketball 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 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 basketball games. If you’re familiar with football 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.