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A Guide to Betting on the NBA

The National Basketball Association, also known as the NBA, is the most popular basketball league in the world. The NBA is home to many of the most recognizable teams such as the LA Lakers, Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and many more. Players such as Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O'Neal and most recently LeBron James have helped create huge global interest in the league. Whilst there are many other professional basketball leagues in the world, the NBA is arguably the most prestigious, with many players from Asian and European leagues aspiring to be signed by one of its teams.

Basketball Bets

Basketball is a highly exciting sport and provides fans with many opportunities to place bets. There are standard bets which relate to the final result of each game, as well as bets that can bring action to the smallest details of each game. To fully understand what types of bets can be placed on basketball, here is a run through of the main markets:

Moneyline bets

The most popular bet amongst sports bettors is the moneyline bet. The moneyline is a straight bet on which team will win the game, odds will be offered for either team. The favourite will have lower odds than the underdog, though at, the odds are generous enough that betting on the favourite can still bring sizable winnings. Betting on the underdog may hold higher risks, but if they can cause an upset, then they can bring great returns.

Point Spreads

Point spreads can be used either to make betting on the underdog less risky or to make betting on the favourite more profitable. Point spreads are the same as moneylines, where the bet is placed on which team will win, but here the teams are given a point advantage or deficit to increase the odds or reduce the risks. Here is an example

LA Lakers -7.5 Phoenix Suns +7.5

In this scenario the LA Lakers will receive a point deficit of 7.5 points, meaning they will have to win the game by at least 8 points for the bet to win. The Phoenix Suns receive a point advantage of 7.5 points, meaning they will have to win or not lose by more than 7 points for the bet to win. The point deficit will greatly increase the odds on the Lakers, whereas the point advantage will reduce the odds for betting on the Suns, but will reduce the risk of the bet losing. Point spreads can be chosen or set, with many different options for each game.

Over/Under Bets

The over/under bets are two way bets where a criteria is set, such as total points scored during a game or number of fouls, and the bettor can place a bet on whether there will be more or less points scored or fouls conceded during the game. These are quite specific bets, and the odds can be quite generous. Over/under bets can be placed on many different aspects of the game such as how many points will be scored by one team during a game, how many points will be scored by one team during a half, how many points will be scored by both teams altogether, how many field goals will be scored, how many fouls will be conceded, how many rebounds will be scored and so on. As with point spreads, there are a number of different options that can be chosen or set, for the bettors to find the odds they need.

Prop Bets

Prop bets are not directly related to the full time result of a game. These bets can be used to spice up several aspects of each game and can offer huge odds. There are a number of game props such as: which team will score the first point, a team to win the first half, over/under bets on how many points a team will score in a half, over/under bets on how many field goals will be scored in the game and many more.

There are a number of player props, also called player specials, which relate to a specific player's performance. These are a great way to back popular players who are in form or perform well against a certain team. Player props can include bets such as: over/under bets on how many points the player will score, will the player score a field goal, will the player concede a foul, and so on.


Outrights are bets on which team will win the NBA title. While these bets can be placed at any time during the regular season and playoffs, the highest odds will be offered before the tournament starts. This is because once the NBA season begins, there will be teams that take the lead and make title contending performances, thus reducing their odds and making betting on them less profitable. For the best odds, a bet must be placed before the season begins.

Future bets

It is worth looking for future bets that relate to events that happen at the end of the regular season or the playoffs. In the NBA, there are many future bets that can be placed, such as: which team will win the Western/Eastern Conference, which team will win a particular division, whether a team will make the playoffs, whether a player will be named MVP, and more. These bets work the same as outrights, there are higher odds offered at the start of the season.

Parlay Bets

Sports bettors who wish to place bets with higher odds can choose to combine several individual bets to create a parlay bet. These bets are a combination of several bets where the odds of each bet in the parlay are multiplied against each other for far higher odds. For a parlay to pay out, all bets in the parlay must win, making parlays more difficult and risky to place.

Despite this, many sports bettors choose to combine several bets into one betslip to increase their winnings. Bets can be placed on multiple games and on multiple different types of bets. A parlay can comprise multiple bets on one single game, as long as the bet is not contradictory.

When choosing individual bets to place in a parlay, it is always good to place bets on events that will conclude at the same time. It is rare that a parlay will include an outright, as the bet will take a long time to pay out.

Live Betting

Here at, NBA fans can place bets during a game. There are live odds that are updated in real time to reflect the performance of each team during a game. Live bets are a great option for fans who want to place a bet on a game but would rather wait for the first few minutes before they decide to place their money. Once the game has begun, the odds will start changing dynamically, but keen fans may be able to spot early signs in the game that may indicate the final winner. They can place live bets at any point during the game and can take full advantage of the odds available. One good way of ensuring good odds is finding strategic moments when the odds are higher.

How to research NBA bets

While a good understanding of the NBA and a strong hunch can prove to be a successful formula for some fans, doing some research into the upcoming games is always worthwhile to improve NBA sports betting.

There are many factors that may affect games, such as home advantage, player injuries, head to head performance and more. There are certain teams that perform better when they play away, there may be key players missing from a certain team's starting line-up or teams that are on a winning streak and may even beat the favourites in their next game.

It is never easy to predict NBA games, although by researching games and trying out different bets, you may be able to find out which bets work best for you, and hopefully you will be able to pocket some huge winnings.


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