The National Basketball Association (NBA) has always been a staple of the sports betting community. As a part of one of the big four sports, bettors have been working to develop systems to best the basketball betting industry for decades. Some have succeeded and enjoyed the spoils, while some have fallen. Our guess is that most of those who have fallen did so due to a lack of effort, a lack of information, or just no knack for the sport.
In today’s world, things are different. All of the resources and tools that you need to train yourself to be an expert NBA sports bettor are readily available. Where are they readily available and how do you find them? Well, good news. You’ve already stumbled upon the gold mine of information on how to master the world of NBA betting.
In the sections below, you’re going to find A TON of information to help you succeed and crush NBA betting. You’ll find free expert picks, information on where to place your bets, betting strategies specific to the NBA, and a full breakdown of all the different types of bets you have at your disposal. With this information, you’ll have everything you need to get the job done and start raking in the dough.
Best NBA Betting Sites
If you’re loving some of our expert picks or have a few hot tips of your own, you’re probably itching to get your bet in before the lines move. To help you out, our team has compiled a list of the absolute best and most trusted online sportsbooks offering action on the NBA. It’s important that we note that none of these sites can pay for a better review or recommendation from us. We take our reviews seriously and our integrity even more seriously. If we allowed sites to barter or pay their way onto our lists, we’d be serving you up advertisements and not recommendations.
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Our Expert Picks
For those of you that are smart, you know that this is probably the most valuable section of this entire guide. We’ve decided to give you free access to our expert team of NBA bettors and all of their game picks. You’ll get to see exactly who they’re betting on, what odds they’re taking the bets at, and any other information they deem pertinent. Not only that, but these picks will be written in a blog-style format which means you’ll get a full breakdown of why they are choosing the teams and bets they are. This will allow you to get inside the minds of the experts and start to learn and be able to mimic their winning habits.
So, how do you sign up for these picks? Do we need a credit card? NOPE! All of this is completely free and doesn’t require you to sign up for anything. We know that normally this level of information is charged for, but we’re fans of shaking up the game. Click the link below, and you’ll be whisked away to see all of the real-time picks our expert bettors are currently making or planning to make on upcoming games. Bookmark that page, as the picks are updated daily throughout the NBA season and post-season.
NBA Betting Strategy
For those of you who are looking to better your bettor abilities when it comes to the NBA, this is where you want to be. We’ve picked the brains of all of our experts and compiled the tips and strategies they say work the best for beating the books betting on the NBA. While just reading these strategies is not going to make you an expert, it will put you on the right road to becoming one.
Our recommendation is to take these strategies, understand why they work, and integrate them into your personal betting strategy. If you couple all of that with some good solid research and some hard work, you’ll be on the right road to profit. NBA betting isn’t easy, but it’s certainly beatable. With the tools we’re providing you here, you should know exactly what you need to do to get to the next level.
The Most Popular NBA Bets
Within the world of betting on the NBA, there are a lot more betting options available to you than just being able to pick a winner. Most people who are new to sports betting think that your only option is to pick who is going to win or else you can’t make a bet. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Thanks to online sportsbooks and innovations within the betting industry, you now have a ton of different options to choose from. These options will help you to leverage all of your predictions, whether they have a direct outcome on the winner of the game or not.
To help get you started, we’ve broken down the most popular and the need to know NBA bet types below. Make sure you take the time to read through each of these and figure out how they might play a role in your betting strategy. Remember, you are not required to use all of these bets. Many professional NBA sports bettors will only use one or two bet types and still crush the books. They prefer to keep things simple and work with what works for them. We suggest you do the same.
Spread betting in the NBA is the most popular type of bet made. A spread bet is a type of wager designed to “level the playing field” to allow you to bet on either team regardless of whether or not they are expected to win the game. The team that outperforms how the odds predict them to is the team that wins.
Here’s an analogy. Remember when you played basketball growing up with your older brother or the older kid from down the street? It wasn’t fair if you played straight up, so they would spot you a few points to try and even things out. For example, let’s say you decided that you would play to 10 points. They might spot you 5 points in order to try and make things fairer.
This is similar to what happens with spread betting. The sportsbooks decide how many points they think that a team will win or lose by, and set that as the line. If you bet on a team and they outperform that line, you win your bet. Let’s take a look at a real-world example from the NBA.
In this game between the Boston Celtics and the Dallas Mavericks, you’re given the option to bet on either team. Going into this game, you know that Mavericks are favored to win. If the sportsbook didn’t adjust something (the line or the payouts), everyone would bet on the Mavericks, and no bets would come in on the Celtics. If the Mavericks were to win, the sportsbook would be out of money and have to shut their doors.
To counteract this, the sportsbook decides by how many points they think the Mavericks will win. In this case, they think the Mavericks should win by 4 ½ points. On the same token, they think the Celtics should lose the game by 4 ½ points. 4 ½ points is known as the line or the spread. If you bet on the Mavericks with a spread bet, they have to win by MORE than 4 ½ points for you to win your bet. If they win by 5 points, you win. If they win by 20 points, you win. If they win by 4 points, you lose.
If you were to bet on the Celtics, they don’t have to win the game for you to win your bet. All they have to do is lose by less than 4 ½ points. If they lose by 4 points, you win. If they lose by 1 point, you win. If they win the game, you win. If they lose by 5 points, you lose.
The sportsbook will sometimes move this line if they need to encourage more bets on one side of the game. Their end goal is to have the same amount of money bet on both sides of the game so that no matter who wins, they make money. For as much as they love to facilitate gambling and betting, they don’t like to leave things to chance for themselves.
Let’s say that a ton of bets pour in on the Mavericks. In order to encourage more bets on the Celtics and even things out, they might move the line to 5 ½. This means that a bet on the Mavericks would now win only if they won by more than 5 ½ points instead of 4 ½. This would discourage more people from betting on the Mavericks, as they would have to perform much better to get you the victory.
The line on the Celtics would also move to 5 ½, which would mean that you would win a bet on them as long as they lost by less than 5 ½ points instead of 4 ½. This means they could lose by a whole additional point and you would still win. If one point doesn’t sound like a lot, you must be brand new to sports betting.
You may be wondering how we determined which of the two teams was the favorite and which was the underdog. You may also be wondering how much you get paid out for a bet on either side of this game. If you look at the odds above (this is a screenshot from an actual online sportsbook), you’ll see that all of that information is given to you. Before the spread number of 4 ½, you’ll see a plus or minus sign. The plus sign indicates the underdog and the minus sign indicates the favorite.
To the right of all of that, you’ll see the payout odds. Notice that both bets payout at the exact same rate of -110. With NBA spread bets, the sportsbook does not change the payout rate, but instead changes the point spread number.
If you’re confused why the numbers are often put in half points, it’s to prevent ties. There are no half points in basketball, so it ensures that there will be a winner and a loser for that bet. Sometimes you will see whole point values which bring on the option for a tie (push), but sportsbooks will opt for the half points when they can.
If you’d prefer to simplify things and only bet on whether a team wins or not, moneyline bets are going to be more of your style. A moneyline bet is a wager on which team wins the game. If the team you bet on wins, you win. If they lose, you lose. As we’ve stated earlier, the sportsbooks must do something to ensure they get as close to an even amount of money on both sides of a bet. With spread bets, they alter the number of points a team must win or lose by.
With moneyline bets, there is no point spread to manipulate. Instead, the sportsbook will alter the payouts you’ll receive for a correct pick. The bigger the favorite, the less you’ll get paid. The bigger the underdog, the more you’ll get paid for a correct wager. This line will fluctuate as the sportsbook needs it to in order to encourage or discourage bets on either side.
Here’s an example of a moneyline bet on a game between the San Antonio Spurs and the Golden State Warriors.
As was the case with NBA spread bets, the plus or minus sign indicates the favorite and the underdog. The Spurs are the underdogs, and the Warriors are the favorites. The number that follows will tell you how big of a favorite or a dog and can be translated to tell you how much money you will make for a correct pick.
If you’d like to learn more about moneyline bets and how to calculate your payouts, check out our moneyline bets guide for all of that information and more.
An over-under bet in basketball is a wager on whether the total score for the game from both teams will be above or below a certain threshold. This is a great bet to utilize when you think that a game will be defense heavy and both teams will be shooting cold, or when you think that it’s going to be a barn burner with both teams shooting lights out.
It does not matter with an over-under bet (sometimes called a totals bet) which team scores the points. The only thing that matters is what the total cumulative score of both teams is. You’re more betting on the flow of the game as opposed to how well an individual team is going to perform.
Here’s an example of the over-under bet from our earlier example game between the Mavericks and the Celtics.
You’ll see on the right-hand side of the teams a number with an “o” or a “u” before it. As you may have already gathered, the “o” stands for over and the “u” stands for under. Even though the over is on the Celtics line and the “u” is on the Mavericks line, it does not matter. They’re written that way for organizational sake and not because either bet is connected to either team. Remember, it only matters that the total score of the game is. One team can score all of the points, and you’ll still win your bet.
In this example, the over under line is set at 196 points. As you can see, whether you bet the over or the under, you’ll get paid the same. If the sportsbook needs to encourage or discourage action, they’ll move the total points number and not the payout odds.
If the final score of the game were Celtics 100, Mavericks 98, you’d win if you bet the over and lose if you bet the under. If the final score were Celtics 200, Mavericks 0, you would win if you bet the over. We’d hope that a game wouldn’t ever be that lopsided, but the point is that it does not matter which team scores the points.
The last types of bets that you should be aware of when betting on the NBA are proposition bets. A prop bet is a wager in which you bet on whether or not something is going to happen in a particular game. For example, will a certain player make more than four 3-pointers in a game? Which team will score first? Which team will win the opening tip-off? Will a certain team shoot over X % from the field? All of these are examples of prop bets that you can make on a particular NBA game.
A lot of people who are new to online betting aren’t aware of prop bets, because a lot of brick-and-mortar sportsbooks just don’t have the resources to allow them. These bets are a great way for you to make some extra money off of predictions that might not have a direct outcome on the winner of the game. For example, let’s say you think that the Warriors are going to shoot lights out from the field, but you think for some reason they aren’t going to get a lot of looks and are going to lose the game. Your only option without prop bets would be to bet on the team they are playing against, but that might not be a great value bet.
With prop bets, though, you could bet that the Warriors are going to shoot above a certain percentage from the field. This betting flexibility allows you to cash in on your prediction without having to worry about who wins the game. As long as they shoot over the percentage you bet, you win.
The prop bets available are going to vary from game to game, and the number of options will increase during the playoffs and into the NBA Championships. The important thing you need to make sure you’re aware of is that not all prop bets are created equally. Some prop bets take a lot of skill to predict, some take some skill to predict, and some take absolutely no skill whatsoever and are just a complete guess.
Why is this important? If you’re only looking for a fun sweat, it does not matter at all. But, if you’re looking to be a winner and making money long-term is important, then this becomes critical. For those of you profit-minded bettors, make sure that you are only betting on the prop bets that require quite a bit of skill. These bets will be the ones that your knowledge, research, and expertise will help you win over the long run.
Predicting how well a particular team is going to shoot the ball is something that you can predict, and if you’re sharp, you can beat consistently.
On the other hand, betting which team is going to score first is a bit of a crapshoot. Sure, you could try and predict who has the better chance of winning the opening toss, but even then it’s going to be a bit of a gamble to predict which team scores first. If you’re betting on this bet, you’ll only be guessing, and therefore have no way to exert an edge over your competition.
The sportsbook is not going to have props conveniently labeled as “skilled NBA props” and “gamble, gamble props,” so it’s up to you to use your common sense to decide which bets you should be getting involved with and which you should be avoiding. Remember, unskilled entertainment prop bets are not bad as long as you know that they can’t be beaten long-term unless through sheer dumb luck.
The Big Picture – NBA Betting
By this point, you should be feeling pretty well versed in all things NBA betting. We’ve walked you through how to use our free expert picks, where to place your bets, the strategies you need that are specific to the NBA, and the different types of bets you have at your disposal. Whether or not you become a successful NBA sports bettor now is up to you. If you study this material, do your research, and put in some hard work, you can be on the road to crushing the books in no time. We wish you the best of luck and are always here if you ever need any additional help.