Our Guide On How To Bet on the NBA

If you are looking to place the best NBA bets, you have come to the right place! We have the details on different betting methods for all NBA games, including the NBA finals & playoffs.

By the end of this page, you will know all of the different NBA betting markets, knowing exactly how NBA betting works and how to bet on NBA games. There are three main markets when betting on the NBA; point spread, over / under and moneyline. 

NBA odds are represented in positive or negative numbers. Odds of +200 mean that if your bet wins, you would profit $200 from a $100 bet. Odds of -180 mean that if your bet wins, you would need to place a $180 wager to profit $100.

If a team has the negative sign before their odds, they are the favourite in the contest, with the team having the positive sign before their odds being the underdog.

Know NBA & How Betting Works

The most important NBA betting strategy is to know what you are betting on. If you don’t follow the NBA as much, or only follow particular teams and/or players, it doesn’t make sense to bet on markets where you don’t have any idea about. You might get lucky occasionally, but unless there is some research and reasoning behind your bets, you will end up losing more than winning.

Our experts explain how NBA picks work to ensure you have confidence with our work so that you can become a winner.

Luckily, our NBA experts follow every player, every team and every game, in order to provide you with an in depth betting analysis on every game, along with the top NBA bets today, and every day of the season, playoffs and Finals. 

How Injuries Impact NBA Betting

The NBA is frantic and high paced, with games every night and teams occasionally playing games on back-to-back nights, players are either injured or rested throughout the season. The NBA injury updates use Game-Time Decisions (GTD) as a method of knowing whether a player will play or not, which means that decisions can be, at times, made just minutes before the start of a game.

Our NBA experts keep up to date with all of the injury updates and news, knowing who is in and out and how that will impact results and betting advice, accounting for this in their top NBA betting expert picks and predictions.

You can also check out our social media platforms, Twitter specifically, where we will let you know of any last minute changes to line-ups that could impact our betting picks and predictions.

Knowing if a player is going to be in or out before the sportsbooks and placing bets before they are able to change their odds, means that you will be able to profit more.

For example;

The NBA betting odds for the Bucks v Raptors may be as follows

Milwaukee Bucks-170
Toronto Raptors+150

But 45 minutes before the start of the game, there are tweets saying that Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee’s superstar player, will be rested.

Then 35 minutes before the start of the game, Giannis is officially ruled out and the bookmakers change the odds to

Milwaukee Bucks+120
Toronto Raptors-120

There are two options here;

Firstly, if you think the Raptors will now win -> Bet on the Raptors in that 10 minute window before their odds improve.

MoneylineStake ProfitTotal Payout
Raptors – pre change+150$50$75$125
Raptors – post change-120$50$41.67$91.67

As you can see, there is a $33.33 difference in total payout, when you bet $50 in both scenarios. That is a big difference and being quick on your feet will allow you to capitalize on this!

Secondly, if you think the Bucks will win now -> Bet on the Bucks after the odds have changed, with their odds getting bigger.

MoneylineStake ProfitTotal Payout
Bucks – pre change-170$50$29.41$79.41
Bucks – post change+120$50$60$110

If you hadn’t placed your bet for the Bucks to win before the announcement, and hear it before the odds have changed, you are best to wait, as Giannis out will make the Bucks’ odds worse. As you can see in the example above, by waiting for the odds to change, you can make yourself an extra $30.59, with a $50 bet on both odds.

NBA Spread Betting

A strategy when betting on the NBA, is instead of betting on which team you think will win, is betting on either side of a predetermined margin of victory. The NBA betting line, or spread, is where sportsbooks create a margin of victory they think is most likely to happen, and give even odds for both sides of this margin.

Denver Nuggets-245-5.5 (-110)
Houston Rockets+205+5.5 (-110)

The Nuggets are -245 favourites in this contest, and the sportsbooks have given a margin of -5.5, meaning the Nuggets have to win by 6+ to cover the spread. If you aren’t willing to risk $245 to only profit $100 on the Nuggets moneyline but still think they will win this game easily, you can bet on their -5.5 spread, only having to bet $110 to profit $100.

Alternatively, the Rockets are +205 underdogs, meaning you only have to bet $100 to profit $205. But if you think this is a close contest where the Rockets might win, but want to give yourself some insurance, you can bet on the +5.5 spread. This means if the Rockets win OR the Rockets lose by 5 or less, your bet wins and a $110 bet will profit $100.

A strategy with NBA spread betting, is being able to pick your own spread. Sportsbooks will allow you to change the spread , giving teams more or less of a margin to cover, with the odds changing with it.

If you think the Nuggets will dominate the Rockets, or hear of a Rockets’ player who will miss the game, you could change the spread to Nuggets -10.5 and get +177 odds ($177 profit from $100 bet), instead of the -110 odds for -5.5.

If you think the Rockets might make it a close contest, but think that the +5.5 spread isn’t enough points insurance, you can change the spread to Rockets +10.5 and get -244 odds ($244 bet for $100 profit). While your risk is greater than the normal spread, your points insurance is greater, as the Rockets need to either win or less by 10 or less for your bet to win!

Multiple Sportsbook Accounts For NBA Betting

It is important to know what sportsbooks are available in your state, and you can find out more about that at our mobile betting information page. If you are able to utilize multiple sportsbooks, you have to. Different sportsbooks provide different promotions and bonuses that you can capitalize on. 

It is also important to shop different sportsbooks to see which one has the best odds, totals and spreads. Sportsbooks aren’t in sync with each other, so you might be able to get a more favourable spread or better moneyline odds on one over the others, so it is important to know the differences.

NBA MVP Betting

Like most other future markets, you get the most value the earlier you put on the bet. It is important to follow all of the offseason moves so that you know what players are going to have more opportunities to shine, or which teams are more well-rounded, knowing who will emerge as a potential MVP the following season.

Here is an example from the 2019-20 season;

Opening OddsEnd of Season Odds
Giannis Antetokounmpo+285-3300
James Harden+625+6600
LeBron James+700+600
Anthony Davis+900N/A
Luka Doncic+4150N/A

As you can see, with Giannis and LeBron, their odds have improved from where they were at the start of the season, going from +285 to -3300 and +700 to +600 respectively. If you were to place a bet on Giannis to win 2020 MVP at the start of the season, a $100 bet would profit you $285 if he won, compared to now, you would have to bet $3,300 to be able to profit just $100.

A betting strategy in NBA MVP betting, is to bet on the favourite early, then lock in money late. How you can do this is at the start of the season placing a $100 bet on Giannis, which will profit you $285, for a total payout for $385.

Now that the three finalists have been announced for the MVP race, you can use other sportsbooks to place small bets on the other two finalists and lock in profit.

OddsStakeBet Profit Bet ReturnProfit after all 3 bets
Giannis+285 (Opening odds)$100$285$385$385 – $100 – $50 – $5 = $230
LeBron+600 (Closing odds)$40$300$350$350 – $100 – $50 – $5 = $195
Harden+6600 (Closing odds)$5$330$335$335 – $100 – $50 – $5 = $180

This method works best when there is still value in a couple of the options, and as you can see, your minimum profit from this scenario is $180, with a max profit of $230, which is only $55 less than what your profit was from the initial bet.

Risking an extra $55 to increase your floor from $100 loss to $180 profit is a no brainer. Feel free to reach out to us via our social media platforms for specific strategies or help covering all bases with the future bets you have placed!

How To Bet on NBA FAQs

How to bet on NBA games? 

There are many different ways to bet on NBA games. The most common are:

  •     Against the Spread
  •     Total over/under
  •     Moneyline
  •     Parlay
  •     Player/Team Props

Our NBA experts break down and explain how each of these betting types work on our NBA betting strategies page, and provide you with the best free NBA picks and predictions here.

How to bet on NBA Finals?

There are two different ways to bet on the NBA Finals, in advance or as they happen.

If you are interested in betting on the NBA Finals futures markets, check out our NBA Playoffs and Finals page, where we discuss everything playoffs, look at who might play in the Finals, break down the NBA Championship odds and make our best NBA Finals predictions.

Once the Conference Finals have finished, you can bet on each NBA Finals game individually, like any normal NBA game. Our NBA experts explain how to bet on NBA games and also give you their best bets on the SportsTips free NBA picks and predictions page, where we breakdown every game, every day.

How does NBA betting work?

NBA betting works just like any other sport, with different markets and odds provided by bookmakers for you to bet on. Our NBA experts have broken down the most common NBA betting markets and explained how NBA betting strategies work. If you would like a more detailed description on how to read NBA odds, among other betting tips and tricks for any sport, check out our betting guides.

How to bet on NBA playoffs?

The NBA playoffs are the most exciting time of the year in basketball. You can bet on the NBA playoffs in multiple different ways;

  • Individual game betting
  • Series betting
  • Conference Finals Champion

You can bet on each NBA playoffs game like any other NBA game, with our NBA expert’s picks and predictions being provided for every game of the playoffs, including the NBA Finals. You can also bet on who you think will win each NBA Playoffs series. For example, before the playoffs started, the Miami Heat were -340 favourites to beat the Indiana Pacers, +270 underdogs, in their first round match up. 

A common futures market for the NBA playoffs is who will win the East and West Conference Championship. This market is betting on who you think will win their respective Conference Finals, with the current favourites being the Milwaukee Bucks (-130) in the East and the Los Angeles Clippers (+110) in the West. 

For more information on all things NBA Playoffs, check out our NBA Playoffs and Finals page, where we discuss all of the match ups, give our series and conference finals predictions and provide you with all of the up to date news. 

How to bet on an NBA series in the playoffs? 

Much like a game, each NBA Playoffs series will have a favourite and an underdog to win the best of seven games series. The most value of a series is before it starts, or if a favourite loses the first game. 

Betting before a series starts provides value as teams haven’t had an opportunity to play each other and skew the odds. For example, the Miami Heat opened as -340 favourites in their first round series against the Indiana Pacers, despite the Pacers being the higher seed. After winning the first game, the Heat’s odds became -700, losing all value they had. 

There is also value if there is an upset in game 1 of the series, but you think the favourite will bounce back and win the series. For example, the one-seed Los Angeles Lakers opened their first round series against the Portland Trail Blazers as -455 favourites, but they surprisingly lost the first game which caused their odds to come in to -240. 

They then won game 2 convincingly with their odds changing again to -800, losing all value that they had after their game 1 loss. For more information on all things NBA Playoffs, check out our NBA Playoffs and Finals page, where we discuss all of the match ups, give our series and conference finals predictions and provide you with all of the up to date news and best series tips. 

How to bet on NBA win totals?

Before the start of the NBA season, bookmakers will provide a regular season win’s total line for every team and you can bet whether you think a particular team will win above or below that wins line. 

At SportsTips, our NBA experts review and analyse all of the off-season moves, including draft picks, trades and free agency signings to provide a season preview for every team, including their projected wins total, allowing you to master your NBA win totals bet. 

How to bet on the NBA All Star Game?

You can bet on the NBA All Star Game like any other NBA game, with moneyline, spread, over/under and player/team prop markets. Much like every other NBA game, our NBA experts pick and predict the best bets for the NBA All Star Game every year, including All Star Game MVP. 

You can also bet on the other competitions of All Star Weekend, including the Rookie & Sophomore game on Friday night and the Skills, Dunk and 3-Point competitions on Saturday night. Our NBA experts will analyse all aspects of All Star Weekend and provide our best picks and predictions for the winners of all competitions. 

How to bet on NBA Finals MVP?

Once the two teams are set for the NBA Finals you can bet on the next game of the series, the winner of the NBA Finals and the Finals MVP. Our NBA experts will analyse the best bets for NBA Finals MVP before the series starts, and update this as each game is played, providing you with the odds and our best pick for Finals MVP. 

For more information on all things NBA Finals, check out our NBA Playoffs and Finals page, where we discuss the two teams in the NBA Finals, analyse player performance from their regular season matchups and provide updated picks and odds for NBA Finals MVP.  

How to bet on the NBA Draft?

The main NBA Draft betting market is on who will be selected with the first pick.

After the Minnesota Timberwolves won the NBA Draft Lottery, Georgia guard Anthony Edwards is -110 favourite to be taken with the first pick. This means that you would need to place a $110 bet to profit $100 ($210 total return including your $110 stake). 

Check out our 2020 NBA Draft Analysis article for a breakdown of what teams are picking where, and who they might target with each pick, including who the Minnesota Timberwolves might take with the first pick. 

How to bet on NBA players?

Markets for betting on NBA players are called player props. This is where you can bet on individual players to go over or under a specific number of points, rebounds and/or assists. For example, Damian Lillard might be on a hot streak and coming up a team that isn’t that good defensively against guards, so you might want to bet on his point line being over. 

For a game against the Lakers, his points line could be 33.5 -110, meaning he would have to score 34 or more points for your bet to win, and you would have to place a $110 bet for a $100 profit ($210 total return including your original stake). SportsTips provides you with more specific information on how to bet and our NBA experts pick the best player prop markets across the NBA action on our NBA picks and predictions page.