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The NBA is, unsurprisingly, incredibly popular among sports bettors. In terms of viewership and betting attention, it’s second only to the NFL. With 82 action-packed regular-season games and must-see playoff contests, NBA fans are in for excitement whether they bet on the game or not.
The fast-paced nature of the NBA also makes it a perfect match for sports bettors, especially those who are into live betting. With high-scoring games, there’s no shortage of betting potential from the opening tip to the final buzzer. If you want to get your facts straight and learn about basketball betting, below you’ll find all the fundamentals you need to become an informed NBA bettor.
Best NBA betting sites
Check our toplist below to see the best online sportsbooks for NBA betting.
How to bet on the NBA online
The NBA allows you to get in on the action pretty much all year long, with a range of betting options. The most extensive betting is usually right before a game, although the sportsbooks will usually release the initial lines one day in advance.
Once you’ve set up your account via one of the links above, you’ll get access to all of the NBA odds that particular sportsbook has to offer. You find them under either an “NBA” tab or under the general basketball menu. Once you’re within that tab you’ll see various markets including:
- Game lines
- Series lines (during the playoffs)
- Player props
- Player parlays
- Team props
- Player futures
- Team futures
Pregame odds for NBA games depend on a number of factors like momentum, injuries, team matchups, previous encounters, and home-court advantage, to name a few.
If you can’t decide on the line you like before the game, you can still jump in with NBA live betting. This refers to making a bet on a game that is already underway. Be aware, though, that this kind of betting is known for its ever-fluctuating odds.
More than in any other major sport, the NBA features frequent momentum swings. To reflect the changes on the court, online sportsbooks will keep adjusting their odds, providing instantaneous value to those bettors who know what to look for.
If you want to add another simple betting tool to your arsenal, you might consider tackling futures bets. These long-term betting markets can be a great way to lock in some season-long wagers before the regular season kicks off.
With futures, you need to pick a winner for an outcome likely from the end of the season or the playoffs, for instance, division and conference winners, the overall champion, or individual awards such as the MVP.
How to read NBA odds
Pretty much every sportsbook lists NBA lines & odds in a similar way, although there may be minor variations in the appearance. In most cases, it will look similar to this:
|Washington Wizards||+3.5 (-110)||+155||O 210.5 (-110)|
|Detroit Pistons||-3.5 (-110)||-185||U 210.5 (-110)|
Note that some sportsbooks put one team over the other, while others list one squad on the left and the other on the right. Either way, the first team in the game listing is the visitor, and the second is the home team.
Looking at it left to right, you’ll find the point spread, moneyline and over/under, the three core types of bets in every sport. Spreads and moneyline bets work in the following manner: The favored team has a minus sign in front of its odds. Conversely, the underdog is the team with the plus sign.
The odds discrepancy on the moneyline and the range of the spread indicate the power balance between the two teams. When there is a huge difference between the two, the sportsbooks are predicting a blowout. Basically, the wider the range, the more unevenly matched sportsbooks perceive the teams to be.
Main types of NBA bets
One of the main reasons why the NBA has such a great pull for casual bettors and seasoned pros alike is the astonishing number of bets that you can place on every game. Here is a brief rundown of the three most popular NBA bets, which are universally available for each game:
- Moneyline bets: Also referred to as a straight-up bet, the moneyline is a bet that requires you to pick the winning side. Points differential or other game results are irrelevant to this bet. As long as your team wins the game outright, you’ll get your payday. Here’s an example:
- Washington Wizards -230
- Orlando Magic +175
If you decide to bet on the Wizards, who are listed as a favorite here, you will need to stake $230 to win $100 (plus get your stake back). On the other hand, a $100 bet on the Magic will provide a potential payout of $175 (plus your $100 back).
- Point spreads: The point spread is by far the most popular form of betting in the US. The spread acts as an equalizer, balancing the scales between the two sides. A -3.5 spread means that the favorite must win by at least four points to cover the spread. If you bet on the underdog, it has to either lose by one to three points or win the game outright for you to cash in on your bet.
- Over/unders: Commonly known as totals, these wagers allow you to bet on whether the combined total points in a given game will be above or below the threshold that the sportsbook has set.
Other popular basketball bets
On top of the three main bets, you’ll also find a variety of other wagers you can make use of if you want. Two in particular, futures and props, rank high in popularity. Below is a full breakdown of each:
Futures are bets on events that have yet to occur and generally depend on an outcome from a season or playoff series, not a single game. In the context of basketball betting, here are some examples of NBA futures:
- Division winner
- Conference winner
- NBA Finals champion
- Team win totals
- Individual player awards like Defensive Player of the Year, Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player, or statistical leaders
Juicy odds are the hallmark of futures betting. Since these are long-shot bets that are tricky to predict, they offer big payoffs. For instance, if you put a few bucks on Bradley Beal to win the scoring title before the season starts, you could win big if that bet comes through.
Another appealing aspect of futures is the fact that they last for an extended period. Unlike moneylines, spreads, or totals, futures bets are not settled within one day. This allows you to stay in the game even if your team or player underperforms for a couple of games in a row.
Props, short for proposition bets, are wagers on things that don’t directly impact the outcome of the game or its final score. These wagers generally cover individual player accomplishments, team milestones, or specific situations within a game.
As the name suggests, player props are bets on the statistical performance of players. These include common stat categories like points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, 3-pointers, etc. Alternatively, player props could combine several parameters:
- Will Bradley Beal have a triple-double tonight?
Less common props could prompt bettors to predict which player scores the first basket, who wins the opening tip, and so forth.
Team props deal with the performance metrics or statistical accomplishments of the entire team:
- Which team will reach the 100-point mark first?
You’ll also find some outside-the-box props such as a wager on which team will take the last shot of the first quarter.
Guide to NBA live betting
With NBA live betting, you can watch the action and put some cash on it simultaneously. Most online betting sites have in-game NBA betting, which is just as diverse as what you’ll find ahead of the game. Most of the bets mentioned above are available in the live betting program, with the exception of futures.
That leaves moneylines, point spreads, totals, props, and alternative bets like quarters and halves.
Some sportsbook apps offer live streams or game trackers as well, which can come in handy during your prediction-making process.
Depending on how the game plays out, the sportsbooks will adjust their odds accordingly. So, your timing is vital . Once you spot a line you like, you should act on it quickly.
NBA live betting is taking off with the spread of legal sports betting. Even if you’re miles away from home, you can make on-the-go live bets from your iPhone or Android without missing a beat of the action. You just need to be within a legal sports betting state where your account is registered, which, in this case, would be Maryland.
Best NBA betting app
As far as the best NBA sportsbook apps go, our top pick is the one from FanDuel. The company’s standalone apps for iOS and Android are among the best in the business. Standout features on the FanDuel Sportsbook Maryland app include livestreaming services and betting notifications, both of which will take your on-the-go betting experience to the next level.
NBA playoff betting
Even though any Tuesday night regular-season NBA game can be exhilarating, it’s the postseason when NBA betting really starts to heat up. After all, the stakes are high, and the top players are fighting for the NBA championship.
The 16-team playoffs comprise the eight best-seeded teams from both conferences. All the rounds are played in a best-of-seven format, with the higher-seeded team receiving home-court advantage for the first round, semi-finals, and the conference finals. In the NBA Finals, the home-court advantage goes to the team with the better regular-season record.
Playoffs offer tons of opportunities for wagering. The sportsbooks expand their betting portfolios, adding a couple of distinct options to the mix. In addition to the prevalent pregame and live bets, you can place the following wagers:
- Bet on the straight-up winner of each playoff series
- Choose from team and player props
- Place a wager on which player gets the NBA Finals MVP trophy
The NBA Playoffs provide more parity, fewer chances for upsets, and a more exciting betting atmosphere. Things usually get more physical on the court, especially on defense, and superstars put up even crazier numbers than in the regular season. Those who manage to find their way in this betting landscape are in for a treat.
NBA betting tips & strategies
Every bettor wants a foolproof formula for winning every NBA bet. Obviously, there isn’t one. Even the sharpest bettors lose. That said, there are ways for you to boost your chances at coming out ahead, or at least not losing too badly.
It typically boils down to how well-researched your picks are. Only when you do your homework properly can you find the value in NBA bets. The following NBA betting strategies could help you out:
- Don’t forget to stay on top of injury/scheduling news. A vital part of your NBA betting success is following injury reports and keeping up to date with roster trends and news. Superstars usually take some time off before the All-Star break, which obviously lowers their teams’ chances of winning. Also, when a star player returns after an injury, he may need some time to get back on track. The second night of a back-to-back is also a notorious night for betting the under.
- Go line shopping. This one directly affects your potential payout. With the sports betting market always evolving, you need to make sure that you get the best odds available. Even finding a line that’s different by 0.5 points could make a world of difference in the long run.
How to bet on the NBA online in Maryland
Getting started with NBA betting online is fairly straightforward:
- Choose a sportsbook that you like for placing NBA wagers.
- Click one of the links on this site to head directly to the sportsbook site and sign up for an account from there.
- If you want to start betting on your phone through the app, download it through the sportsbook itself. You can open your account either after you download the app or before.
- Once you fill out the sign-up forms, go to the cashier to deposit funds into your account. Pay attention to any minimum deposit requirements.
- Find the NBA betting lobby and select the game you wish to wager on. Click on a bet you like and enter the amount you wish to stake.
- Confirm your bet and you’re ready to go. If your bet wins, payouts will automatically be credited to your account. You can withdraw your winnings from there.