NBA Betting Guide

All You Need to Know about NBA Betting: Types of Bets

Details About the Sport and Season

The NBA is a league where you’ll find the best basketball players worldwide scattered across 30 teams and 15 roster spots available.

In any given competition, the stats that stand out the most in a given box score are points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocks, but there are only a handful of players that can single-handedly impact the flow of an entire game, which earns them the moniker “superstar.”

The “superstar” label has been handed down to players such as Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Stephen Curry, and several others in today’s game.

Many people around the world enjoy these talented players as they start to form an identity surrounding their favorite teams and players. 

That leads to people wanting to place bets on the game, as bragging rights, pride, and a desire to win extra cash serve as motivating factors for people to bet on games.

The NBA has become a much more offensive-driven game in recent years, with analytics having a heavy influence in today’s game, much to the chagrin of many traditionalists.

Those traditionalists prefer a hard-nosed style of basketball that we got to see in the 90s with the “Bad Boy Pistons” going up against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls.

Types of Bets Available During The Season

Point Spreads

Point spreads are a popular format for fans to engage in betting throughout the course of the season, as many fans love to put their knowledge to the test and see if they can win some money based on their predictions.

When you see the favorite with a spread of somewhere between -1 and -5, it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ll be able to stick with the favorite and come out on top.

For example, if the Brooklyn Nets, who sit with one of the better records in the league, were favored to beat the Boston Celtics, a team that isn’t close to their level, by a -3.5 spread, then you should feel pretty safe rolling with the Nets unless you were somehow convinced that the Celtics were going to win that game.

However, if the Nets were favored but extended out to a -12.5 spread, then it may be safer to roll with Celtics as +12.5 underdogs because even if the Nets win, it’d have to be by at least 13 points for Nets -12.5 bettors to win. So Celtics +12.5 bettors would still win even if the Nets won the actual game in that event.

Totals

With scoring numbers up in the NBA from over a decade ago, it can be hard to determine which direction to go in when it comes to these types of bets.

Over/under betting is always interesting, as it can range from anywhere as low as the 190s to the 220s in any given matchup.

Say that a matchup between the Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns, both among the highest-scoring teams in the league, has an over/under at 226.5. That means their final score would have to be greater than that.

Given that the Lakers average nearly 112 points per game and the Sun’s average around the same, they would come up short on that line if you were just to consider the averages. Still, you also have to consider their recent games, past instances they’ve gone head to head, and which players are hot.

More times than not, this is pretty much a guessing game no matter how much you try and prepare your prediction on these.

Prop Bets

Props are over/unders of player statlines, but they can come in many forms.

Sometimes it can be as simple as over/under 25.5 points, 10.5 rebounds, or 7.5 assists, but sometimes it can go up to an aggregate total that encompasses all of those stats, starting in the 30 point range can exceed 50 points.

For example, James Harden is known for being a triple-double machine, so that you may see a line every now and then that sits at 42.5 points + rebounds + assists. One rebound and one assist are equal to one point. 

The best way to determine if Harden hits the over of this statline is to see if he’s getting to the free-throw line at a high rate in recent games and what type of shot attempts he has been going to recently.

Prop bets also exist in the form of how many 3-pointers, blocks, or steals will a specific player put up in a game. The best way to determine that is to look at recent box scores, but this is more of a guess than anything else.

Moneyline NBA betting

The favored team will always have a negative number attached to it, which is the same concept in point spreads.

For example, if you’re betting on a Milwaukee Bucks vs Utah Jazz game, the spreads will likely be close given how good both teams are. Say the Bucks are favored with a -105 line and the Jazz could have a +130 line, that means you’ll have to place a $105 bet on the Bucks to win $100, but if you bet on the Jazz, then you’d win $130 if you bet $100 on them to win if the Jazz were to win.

Future Bets NBA betting

Future bets come in the form of many awards, including the MVP, champion, division and conference winners, team regular-season win totals, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Most Improved Player, and other types of awards.

The best way to determine which direction to go on these awards is to understand the player’s impact on winning a game in conjunction with their statlines, looking at the team’s best players and identifying key role players and how certain players can help cover for particular weaknesses.

For example, Kevin Durant has a legitimate shot at winning the MVP this season because he’s averaging nearly 30 points per game while leading the Nets to one of the best records in the league.

If you’re looking to bet on Rookie of the Year, then the best course of action is to understand what type of role that player will play in their first season on their new team. 

For example, Cade Cunningham, the first pick in the 2021 draft to the Pistons, will likely play a huge role in his first season, given the lack of talent on the roster and how low they are in the standings.

Another angle is to approach how a specific player is performing on a team winning basketball games. A good example of that is Evan Mobley’s impact with the Cleveland Cavaliers thus far. The upside Cunningham has in this league may be higher. Still, for this season, Mobley has a legitimate argument to win the award, as he’s putting up comparable numbers while being a part of a winning environment.

Win totals are also interesting, as they’re usually in an over/under format. An excellent example of a team with modest expectations is the Minnesota Timberwolves, whose line was projected at 35.5 wins.

Through their first 40 games, they went 20-20, so they stand a great shot at hitting the over of that line, as Karl-Anthony Towns has performed like an MVP candidate when healthy, and D’Angelo Russell is looking like his All-Star self again. Anthony Edwards has also taken a step up in his second season in the league. Projections don’t always account for these types of things.

Meanwhile, the Nets have a higher win total to reach their over, as they must win 57 games. Things are volatile during an NBA season, with injuries and other factors coming into play, so despite the Nets having the talent to win that many games, it doesn’t always play out to be a sure thing.

Most Improved Player usually is best determined by which player many people expect to take a huge leap into the next season.

Ja Morant is favored to win that award, as he went from a rising star to a superstar in the span of a year, as he also has his Memphis Grizzlies in the thick of the playoff race out in the Western Conference.

How to Bet on NBA betting

A lot goes into betting on the player and team performances in the NBA. In today’s day and age, players like to prioritize rest days to keep their bodies fresh for the playoffs and for career longevity.

With that being said, many players may elect to sit on either the front end or back end of a back-to-back set, as playing two games in two nights can have a significant toll on one’s body. That’s why it’s important for bettors to understand those trends ahead of time, as many sportsbooks won’t pick up on that early or won’t even have that reflected in their updated odds in time for bettors to place their bets.

Before you know it, the Nets could throw out a lineup of guys you’ve never heard of before instead of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving, but if you placed a bet with those three playing in mind, you may end up getting screwed over. 

In instances where the Nets have the Detroit Pistons on the front end of a back-to-back, but then the Milwaukee Bucks on the back end, then it’d be a pretty safe bet to assume that Big Three will not be playing against the Pistons.

If you want to place a season-long bet, such as the champion, the best way to determine that is to look at every roster and identify the best players on those teams.

For example, the Nets “Big Three” will catch the eyeballs of many, as KD is a perennial MVP candidate and a two-time champion at this point of his career. 

Irving is a proven winner who has shown he can get it done in the Finals. Harden is a former MVP himself and has proven he can be effective in his new role on the Nets.

With that being said, the Nets are heavily favored to win the championship as things currently stand.

However, if you believe that a different team will win it all, you are free to place a bet on them along with the odds that are provided for that team.

Once you feel comfortable enough with your betting decision, the best thing to do is find a scores and matchup page that has the lines for the games being played or odds for future awards listed. You identify trends that you feel sportsbooks may not take into account and the knowledge of the sport you may already have and make an educated guess from there.

You can also use an odds comparison tool to find what makes the most sense to you and then go with the one you feel is right.

Signing up for a sportsbook is also a necessary step for you to place your bets, as you’re more than likely to find a legal book in your area. You can sign up for an account and deposit money from your bank account.

Once you have determined which odds you want to roll with and how much money you wish to wager, go ahead and place your bet.

Once you see your bet is placed, sit back and enjoy some great basketball. You may catch yourself rooting for a specific outcome rather than enjoying the game itself, but at the end of the day, gambling is supposed to be fun, and a means to win some money based on your smart predictions, unless you’re the type to make a few too many bold predictions. Want to learn more about NBA betting? Follow us on Twitter and happy gambling!