Even if you aren't a fan of basketball, NBA betting on it can still be fun and exciting for you. The NBA is the top basketball league in the USA and Canada and many people enjoy placing bets on it. To bet on NBA games, all you need to know is the basic rules and have some knowledge about the betting process itself. In this article, we will help you get to know the specifics of how to bet on NBA games.
How to Bet on NBA: Understanding the Odds
The main thing to understand when you want to learn how to bet on NBA games is to understand the odds. Usually, the odds you will see at sportsbooks in the USA are the so-called “American” odds. These have either a (+) or (-) sign before then to designate who is the favorite and who isn't. The numbers after the sign are the odds, which are based on players making a $100 bet. But you don't necessarily have to place a bet of $100, you can place a bet with any stake you are comfortable with.
Some bookies might have the option to present your odds in other formats, like “decimal” or “fractional” odds. But the most common way to present the odds on this side of the pond is the American style we explained. Here are how the other types of odds styles look like:
- Decimal: Toronto @ 2.25
- Fractional: Toronto @ 4/6
Types of Wagers in NBA Betting
Like in other sports, there are certain betting markets you would have to understand before placing bets on them. Placing bets on NBA games can have plenty of markets to select from. Read more about the main options below:
Moneyline Bets: Picking the Winner
The moneyline is the most straightforward wager out there. Your goal is to pick which team you think would win the game. The odds can look like this:
- Raptors -260
- Celtics +220
The teams with the (-) before the odds are usually the favorites, while the teams with (+) in the odds are the underdogs. In general betting on the underdogs is riskier than betting on the favorites, but the odds are also higher. Some people think that the risk is worth it and some don't.
Point Spreads: Evening Out the Odds
The term point spread might be familiar to you especially if you dabbled in NFL betting with two unevenly matched teams. The goal of the point spread is to give the underdog some advantage before the game, while the favorite is put at a disadvantage. The odds can look like this:
- SA Spurs +10 @ -110
- BKN Nets –10 @ -110
In the example we gave you above, the Spurs would either need to win the game or lose by less than ten points for the wager to win. If you are betting on the Nets, they would need to win the game by ten or more points. Sometimes, the points listed in the betting market will have a decimal (.5) next to them, but other times they won't.
Totals: Betting on the Score
Betting on the totals involves predicting the combined total score throughout the game and whether or not it will be over or under a certain point line. It can look something like this – Total Points:
- Over 109.5
- Under 109.5
There can also be different total markets like the points scored only by Team A or only by Team B. Another option is to bet on the total points in the first or second half of the game.
Prop Bets: Alternative Bets That Don't Revolve Around the Game
Prop bets are wagers that don't have anything to do with the game itself. Meaning that whatever the market is, it may not be related to the score in the match or the outcome of it. For example, you may place prop bets on the game or different players. Some of the most popular player props can be “leading scorer of the game,” while the most popular game prop is “first to score X points” or “to go to OT.” Each bookmaker provides its props for the game, so you should check to see if they are available. Keep in mind that this betting market might not be legal in all states with legal sports betting, especially involving college sports.
Futures: Wagering on Events in the Long Run
Placing bets on markets that won't happen for a while are quite popular mainly because of the higher odds. You should keep in mind that here the odds are higher the earlier you placed the wager. For example, if you want to place a bet on the 2022 NBA Finals in January the odds would be way higher than if you placed the same wager in May.
There are multiple futures available, except the winner of the NBA Finals market, like:
- Who will be the MVP?
- Who will win Rookie of the Year?
- Will Team X make the playoffs?
Live (In-Play) NBA Betting
Betting on NBA games live is also a great way to pass the time. It involves placing bets on games that have already started. Different bookmakers call the feature by various names, including in-game betting, live betting, or in-play betting.
Keep in mind that the available betting options in live wagering will be less than the pre-game betting options available. Also, the odds here can change at a much faster rate, so once you decide what you want to bet on make sure to place the bet at a faster than normal pace, because while the odds might be good then, two minutes from then they might change because of a point for any team.
Understanding Parlay Bets
Parlays have become quite popular over the years. They are a combination of two or more wagers into a single bet slip. They are also called “alternatives” in other countries. For example, you can bet on the point spread of Game 1, on the moneyline of Game 2, and the total score of Game 3. The important thing to know about Parlays is that you can't place bets on the markets from the same game. Meaning that you can choose only one market from any single game to add to the parlay bet.
There was an option developed to place a bet on more than one market from the same game, but not all bookmakers offer it. It has a different name on every sportsbook, like FanDuel's “same game parlay” feature or BetMGM's Parlay Builder. The feature allows you to place multiple bets on a single game via one bet slip.
How to Bet on NBA Games Online: Betting Strategies
There are different factors you should consider when placing bets on the NBA, like the head-to-head standings between the teams, injured players, home/away teams, offense/defense stats, and other data. There are different websites you can look at to give you the necessary statistics, but sometimes bookmakers also present some stats when you open the NBA game you want to bet on.
Registering a Sportsbook Account Before Betting on NBA
Whether you want to know how to bet on NBA games online or any other major league, you need a registered account on a sportsbook platform to do it. In the USA, only some states have legalized sports betting, and making sure you are physically in one of them while placing the wager is crucial. Also, the choice of Sportsbook is important because not all bookmakers are legal in every state.
When you choose a legal betting site, your next step is to create an account on it. You can do that by following these generalized steps:
- Open the website or app of the sportsbook and click on the “Register” button.
- Fill out the registration form with your data, which will be verified later.
- Choose if you want to receive promotional offers.
- Enter a promo code if you have one to claim the welcome bonus.
- Accept the terms and conditions of the platform and confirm you are 21 years old or older.
Keep in mind that before using the platform to place bets, you will have to verify your identity and the information you gave during the registration. That can happen by providing the necessary documents to the sportsbook support team or uploading them in the right places on the platform. You won't be able to place bets or deposits without this step.
Frequently Asked Questions about NBA Betting Online
How old do I have to be to place bets?
In the USA, you will have to be either 21 years old or older to register for a sportsbook. Although in some states you might only need to be 18 years old, like New Hampshire, Washington, or Rhode Island.
Can I place NBA bets from my mobile device?
Yes, you can. It doesn't matter if you place them from a computer or via the sportsbook's mobile app.
Can I place bets outside of state lines?
That depends on which state you are in and which sportsbook you are using. Usually, you need to be within state lines and use a sportsbook that is legal there. Betting on NBA is very common when it comes to Iowa sports betting, and you can do so from a licensed operator's site or app.
How can I deposit funds to place NBA bets?
Each sportsbook has different deposit methods available, but credit/debit cards are the most common.