If you closely follow every movement in the NBA, why not make game days even more exciting and try to profit from your love of basketball? Just as there are plenty of ways to score points in the NBA, you have a range of options when it comes to wagering on basketball. Our NBA betting tips can help you find the style that suits you best.

The moneyline

What is the moneyline?

The moneyline shows how much you would need to wager on the favorites in order to win $100, and how much you’d win if you put $100 on the underdogs. Simply pick one team to win, regardless of the final score.

What does the moneyline look like in the NBA?

If the Celtics are hosting the Lakers and are listed as the favorite, you will see a the teams under the “moneyline” heading as such:

BOSTON -170

LOS ANGELES +200

In all NBA betting, the favorite is always listed with the minus sign (-) and the underdog with the plus sign (+). This is because the payout for the favorite is always going to be less than the amount wagered, while a successful NBA sports bet on an underdog will be more. So, a winning wager of $100 on the Lakers would be worth $200 dollars. But to win $100 on the Celtics, you would need to bet $170. The bigger the perceived underdog, the greater their moneyline. Conversely, a heavily favored team means a much smaller payoff.

How do I know which team to bet on?

The more research you do on an individual game, the more likely you are to win a bet. NBA, where coaches often make last-minute decisions about resting players, whether injured or not. This used to be the hallmark of Gregg Popovich and the San Antonio Spurs, who would regularly rest players with little notice — leaving the viewing public and NBA bettors very frustrated. Especially with teams in back-to-back or third-game-in-four-days situations, it’s imperative to check whether a star player is being given the night off. Look on Twitter for last-second game changes of this nature, and hold out until the last minute before making your NBA bet if you can.

It also pays to understand the matchup in a given game. Does one team excel at fast-breaking, while the opponent struggles to play in pace-up games? Does your team have an All-Star frontcourt, whereas the opponent leads the league in post defense? Is one team playing its third road game in four days? Little things like these can give you a huge advantage.

The point spread

What is the point spread in the NBA?

The point spread is an equalizer which is attached to the NBA betting lines. Two teams are rarely equal, but the spread provides a level of balance which gives bettors good reason to bet on either competitor.

What does the point spread look like?

In order to win a point spread NBA bet on the favorites, the team must win by the point spread. So, if they are listed as -3.5, they must win by four points or more. If you wager on the underdogs listed as +3.5, they must either win the game outright or lose by less than the point spread — four points in this case.

The payout for point spread bets is a uniform -110 for either side. Whoever you’re betting on, you need to put up $110 to win $100.

Over/under

What are over/under NBA bets?

Here, you wager on the total number of points scored by both NBA teams. So, say the over/under total is set at 200 and you bet the over, a final score of 98-109 would see your bet come through, while a wager on the under wouldn’t. 

What do over/under NBA bets look like?

For most games, the over/under is usually about 190 points, though this depends on the teams playing. Two run-and-gun teams will probably see an over/under north of 200 points, while two defensively-minded teams might be closer to 180.

How can I increase my chances of winning an over/under bet on the NBA?

Last-minute information could again have a huge impact on NBA betting, and may possibly lead to a bet being taken off the board entirely. For instance, if LeBron James or Russell Westbrook gets a night off, that will certainly change how many points are scored, and heavily tilt towards betting the under.

Halftime NBA wagers

What are halftime wagers?

Halftime wagers are pretty self-explanatory, and come with their own point spread, over/under and moneylines. The catch is that you are only betting on the second half of the game — consider it a reset if the first half hasn’t gone the way you hoped when you made your original bet. 

What are the main risks of halftime wagers?

Considering that key starters often get replaced during the second half, the moneylines of halftime NBA sports bets are not exactly bettor-friendly. Understand how the game you’re betting on is trending before committing.

Prop bets

What are NBA prop bets?

If you don’t want to wager on the overall outcome of a basketball game, prop bets (short for proposition bets) offer odds on other aspects. In fact, the final score rarely has any effect on a NBA prop bet. These wagers simply add a little spice, especially in the playoffs or the All-Star Game.

What can you bet on?

Examples of on-field prop bets include which team will score first, who will hit the first three pointer, and what the over/under on a particular player’s total points will be. There are all manner of weird and wonderful prop bets off the field for NBA fans too. Past examples include wagering on whether Michael Jordan’s name gets mentioned more than 20 times by the commentators, if there’ll be a brawl during a game, and whether a player will propose to their girlfriend afterwards.

Parlays

What are NBA parlay bets?

For those who want big odds that lead to big payoffs, picks and parlay bets are for you. In this type of NBA wager, you simultaneously bet on multiple outcomes. However, in order to win, you have to get them all correct. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays are the best days of the week to try betting an NBA parlay, as almost every team plays on those three nights, creating the largest field of games to choose from.

How much can parlay bets pay?

A typical three-bet parlay pays 6-to-1, four bets 13-1, and so on. You can see just how quickly the odds and potential winnings can rise. In basketball, you can also combine moneylines with over/unders on a parlay, either on the same game, or by binding the results of multiple fixtures together.