How to Bet on NBA – Learning the Basics of Basketball Betting

Welcome to this easy guide for how to bet NBA basketball. Learn about the types of bets and where you can wager.

NBA betting has become ever-increasing over the years and is narrowing the gap to other major sports such as the NFL. Sportsbooks have also changed, making the most of the opportunities that the NBA has to offer, and are now offering more chances for bettors.

Indeed, NBA betting brings a lot to the table for sports bettors wanting to get in on the action. Regardless of whether you are new or experienced, you can find an opportunity that works best for you. Below you will have the chance to see what it takes to bet on the NBA. Many of these betting tips will allow you to make some of the best NBA bets and to have the potential for better returns overall.

How the NBA Season is Constructed

In the past, the NBA has had some of the most strenuous schedules out there. Many players and coaches have complained about how many back-to-back games and events in a row they have had to play.

However, the NBA has done a much better job of minimizing the drawbacks of player fatigue by reducing the number of back-to-back games. This means they have eliminated various stretches such as the infamous four games in five nights. The league still offers the 82-game schedule that carries a serious grind for players and coaches. There are also over 10 back-to-back games for each team.

So when looking at which NBA games to bet on, you should look at a team’s schedule before placing a bet. Various studies have shown that when teams play in the second game of a back-to-back, they win only 44 percent of the time. To put this in simple terms, teams are typically less efficient on both offense and defense in the second game of a back-to-back. This can greatly affect the outcome of the game and the type of bet.

Where to Bet on the NBA

When deciding on what sportsbook to choose for your NBA bets, you will need to keep a few things in mind before jumping on the first one you see. Not all of the sportsbooks out there are equal and some have better opportunities than others. Many offer various odds and spreads on the exact same NBA games. This means you should take your time to shop around. You want to have the best bang for your buck regarding odds.

You also want to check out any bonus offers that the sportsbook might have and the requirements to redeem them. Some may even give you a deposit match, a bonus bet, or a first wager with a loss rebate.

Other sportsbooks might be affiliated with a local casino so you can take advantage of rewards and other bonuses tied to that. Each bettor is different in what they want to prioritize. Try making a list of what is important to you and see if that sportsbook covers all of your needs.

Different Types of NBA Bets

Depending on what your preference is, you have options when it comes to NBA betting. You can pick one method, all of them, or a combination of betting types to maximize your earning potential. In many states, wagers are also permitted on college basketball games. However, there may be restrictions.

Moneyline Wagers

A moneyline bet on the NBA is the most straightforward bet out there, as you have to pick a winner. The moneyline will be shown by a negative or positive number. For example, a team that has negative odds means they are the favorite. With a positive number, this means they are the underdog.

So if a team has -150 on the moneyline, you would need to wager $150 to get a return of $100 in your winnings. For the +130 underdog, a wager of $100 would return you $130 in winnings.

Point Spreads

For a point spread bet, you are placing a wager on whether a team can cover a point spread that is determined by the sportsbook of choice. Using the same rules for the moneyline positive and negative numbers, the favorite has to win by more than the given number of points, while the underdog has to either win outright or lose by less than the spread.


Over/Under bets are another exciting bet to watch unfold. This is a bet for the total number of points that both teams combined will put up. All you need to do is decide if the number will go over or under the number given by the sportsbook.

Prop Bets

Proposition bets are considered the more fun bets to make. These bets are composed of a variety of yes or no choices, like whether or not the Golden State Warriors will turn the ball over in the first five minutes.

Another example would be who wins the opening tip-off. These bets sometimes are hard to account for since they do not have a lot of history to back up the yes or no question.


Parlays involve betting on two or more outcomes on the same ticket. These can be point spreads, moneylines, and totals. Some sportsbooks offer same game parlays.


A futures bet, as the name should imply, is a wager on an event that you bet on for a later date. The most common futures bet is the winner of the NBA Finals. Another example is how many games a certain team will win in the regular season.

Live Betting

Live Betting has become one of the more attractive options out there. This wagering feature allows you to bet on a variety of things while games are currently in progress. These include bets like moneyline, point spreads, and even props.

How to Live Bet on the NBA

As mentioned above, live betting is one of the fastest-growing betting options out there. NBA live betting allows players a way to hedge the moneyline bet that they are in the process of losing. Alternatively, bettors who missed tip-off are able to place wagers through live betting.

You never know what could happen due to the constant change of pace in the NBA. Live betting allows you to make adjustments in real time.

Tips for Betting on the NBA

When placing a bet on the NBA, there are a handful of different factors that should play into your betting decision. An example of one is the pace of the game, which looks at the number of possessions a team will have per 48 minutes of gameplay.

Teams that play at a high-tempo pace might have more turnovers or conditioning issues. This is especially noticeable in back-to-back games. You might also want to check on how teams have performed against each other in the past. Keep in mind that team rosters typically fluctuate each year, so basing a bet solely on that needs a little more homework.

Betting on your favorite team just because you like is a no-no. You need to look at both teams objectively without bias. This way, you can get a feel for how each team will perform and not because you are from the same town as the team itself. You also need to make sure you have your emotions in check. You need to bet with your head here because losing money is a serious problem if you cannot handle your emotions.

National Basketball Association (NBA) Betting FAQs

Can you bet on the NBA Draft?

Different states will have various regulations on whether or not you can place bets on events like this. For some states, you can only bet on the outcomes of events like games. Check with your state or online sportsbook betting rules to find out more information.

Should I always pick the favorite?

You should do the proper research first to make sure you pick the best team available. In most cases, sportsbooks will try and drive up the price for heavy favorite teams or popular ones so they make a little extra.

How do I find the best sportsbook?

Depending on your location, you could have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to a sportsbook. You could try to look up user reviews of a popular sportsbook to see what other customers are saying. You also want to compare and contrast one sportsbook to another to see if you are getting the best experience in customer service and on-the-go betting.

How do I find NBA stats to look up?

A good example of locating the best stats for current NBA players is something like ESPN. There is also the NBA’s home website to locate various schedules and NBA news. Most sportsbooks now will even have basic head-to-head information to get a feel for the game.

How much money should I bet?

The total amount of money you should bet does not have a specific number. You should look at your finances and get a real number for how much money you can play with. Remember, you should always factor in preparing to lose this money so keep this in mind.