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Gambling 101: National Basketball Association Betting

Our Sports Gambling 101 series continues with a breakdown of National Basketball Association betting. How do bettors get in on the action and what are popular NBA wagering options?

The National Basketball Association roots stretch back to the founding of the Basketball Association of America in 1946. Following a hotly contested three-year battle, with the rival National Basketball League, the BAA and NBL merged in 1949 to form the NBA.

There is never a shortage of NBA betting action as team futures and player prop options are available all year. Pregame and live betting is offered during the 82-game regular season and playoffs.

Point Spread NBA Betting Options

Similar to NFL betting odds, NBA full game point spreads range from EVEN to 17 points or more. From the NBA 2020 odds below, Brooklyn is a +5 point home underdog against Orlando who is posted as a +5 point road favorite. Brooklyn backers need the Nets to win outright, or lose by four points or less, to cash winning tickets. Orlando bettors cash in if the Magic win by six points or more. Original bets are refunded if the final margin is exactly four points.

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Odds via FanDuel Sportsbook

Moneyline NBA Betting Options

Players wanting to avoid point spread odds can wager on NBA moneylines. 

Also known as straight up odds, moneyline prices range from +100 to upwards of +/-1000 or more depending on the caliber of the teams. In the odds below, Los Angeles bettors wager $235 to win $100 on the Clippers while Pelicans backers collect $194 on $100 bets. As with most NBA wagering options, home court advantage has a big impact on which team is listed as the match favorite.

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Game Total NBA Betting Options

Posted with the largest numbers of any North American big-four sport, NBA game total odds are usually in the 200 to 240 point range. From the Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks match, OVER bettors need the combined score to be 228 points or more. Players backing the UNDER odds need the total to be 227 points or less. Juice is the same on both sides so winning tickets pay $100 on every $110 bet. Pregame and LIVE total props are posted on each half and all four quarters.


NBA Futures and Prop Betting Options

Available all year, NBA playoff odds are a popular futures betting option. Prices on division and conference winners, plus the NBA Finals champion, fluctuate during the regular season and as the playoff rounds play out. Popular player props include regular season MVP, Rookie of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. Props on the NBA Sixth Man award and Most Improved Player are also available. These were the top favorites to win the 2019-20 NBA championship.


Shop Around for Best Priced NBA Odds

Common across all sports betting markets, not all bookmakers post identical prices. For that reason, it’s wise to fund accounts at two or more top rated sportsbooks. Shopping for the best prices is part of a proper bankroll management system and comparing odds is quick and easy. Our NBA Finals odds illustrate that as the Bucks, Clippers and Heat have added value at DraftKings. The Lakers, Rockets and Celtics are posted with better NBA title prices at FanDuel.

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook

NBA Betting Bottom Line

Following a proper research plan is a major key to betting success and our NBA feature page offers valuable information. Checking home and away records, plus the current form of both sides, are solid starting points. Recent history between the teams involved, plus injuries, match venue and recent travel, should also be reviewed. Since teams have five main starters, who play the most minutes, comparing “star power” is important when wagering on basketball.