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How to Bet on NBA Online
As legal sports betting is gaining traction throughout the US, betting on the NBA has become increasingly popular. In Ohio, watching the Cavs has just become even more pulsating, as you can now build wagers on various outcomes before and during their matches.
We’ve put together this complete guide to betting on the NBA to ensure you have all the information you need to bet on basketball and turn a profit. We cover everything from in-season moneylines to futures bets on the playoffs and the NBA finals.
Let’s start with the different types of NBA bets you can place before introducing you to some of our top NBA betting tips to help you find value.
Introducing the Different Types of NBA Betting
Betting on the Moneyline is the easiest way to get started with Free NBA betting as it allows you to pick which team you think will win an upcoming game. In the moneyline, one team will be given as the favorite, while the other will be the underdog. Let’s take a look at an example:
Cleveland Cavaliers (-130) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (+120)
Here, the Cavs are the favorites to win the matchup. In an NBA moneyline, the favorite is always shown with a (-), while the underdog is represented with a (+). But what do the numbers mean?
If you agree with the sportsbook and think the Cavs will win, you need to bet $130 to return $100 worth of profit. If you like the upset and think Oklahoma are in with a shout, a $100 bet will return $120 if they win.
When the numbers in a moneyline are tight, the teams are relatively evenly matched. But if you see a match in which the numbers are way apart, the sportsbook is pretty confident of one outcome over another.
Another thing to note - although the numbers are given as three digits, you don’t have to bet $100 each time. For instance, a $10 bet on Oklahoma would return $12, and so on.
If you’re a sports fan, you have almost certainly heard a buddy say something like: ‘I’m betting the spread.’ The point spread is one of the most popular NBA betting types as it levels the difference in ability between the competing sides.
When determining the point spread, the sportsbook considers ability, form, venue, injuries, and various other factors before giving odds. Here’s what an NBA point spread could look like:
Cleveland Cavaliers -2.5 vs Toronto Raptors +2.5
As in the moneyline, you will see a three-digit number next to each team. In the point spread, this is known as the vig or the juice and is the cost of placing the bet. So, to win $100, you would need to risk $110. The vig will vary from book to book, so don’t always expect it to be the same.
In this example, you can bet that the Cavs will win by at least 2.5 points. So, if the match ends 87-84, you will win your bet if you backed Cleveland. Equally, you could back the Raptors to win, and as long as they don’t lose the match by three clear points, you would still walk away with your profit.
Spread betting is an entertaining way to level the playing field when you’re betting on the NBA, and it’s a good way of building value in tight markets.
Totals betting (over/under)
Another great way to bet on the NBA is to predict the total number of points both teams will score. Totals bets are sometimes referred to as over/under betting, as you can bet on whether you think the teams will score higher or lower than the total set by the sportsbook.
To work out the total number of points for a particular match, the sportsbook will consider things like offensive and defensive skills of both teams and set the number accordingly. Here’s what a totals bet could look like:
Los Angeles Lakers vs Cleveland Cavaliers Over/Under 223.5 (-110)
Like all other bets, the attached vig is represented as three digits and can change from book to book. In this example, you can decide whether you think more or fewer than 223.5 points will be scored in the match. It doesn’t matter which team scores the points; you are only concerned with the total points scored, hence the name of this NBA betting type.
If you’re keen to crank up the risk associated with your NBA bets and want to land a bigger profit, you could place an NBA parlay. A parlay brings together two or more bets, and all of your selections need to occur for you to win your bet. For instance, in an NBA game week, you could choose three teams to win their respective matchups:
Cleveland, Milwaukee, and Golden State to win (+350)
The above bet would be known as a three-team parlay. Instead of betting on each of the teams in an individual moneyline, you can bring them all into the same bet slip. To win the parlay, you would see a return of $350 from a $100 bet. But remember, you lose if just one of the teams lets you down.
Parlays are good fun once in a while, but they shouldn’t be the only type of NBA bet that you place. After all, you receive better odds because the sportsbook sees the outcome as unlikely.
Prop bets have become increasingly popular as they allow you to bet on different aspects of the game. There are so many prop bets in basketball, and it really just depends on the sportsbook that you use. For instance, you could bet on the first team to reach 15 points or how many three-pointers will be made in a match.
You can focus your prop bet on individual players or teams; it’s entirely up to you. The reason why prop bets are so attractive is that they keep things interesting right throughout the game. You don’t need to worry at all about who wins and can instead focus on various aspects of the encounter.
In many respects, prop betting makes basketball so much more exciting and keeps you entertained even if your team is playing badly.
Last but not least, futures bets are another popular NBA betting type. These are long-running markets that allow you to predict occurrences long into the future, such as seasonal MVPs, playoff winners, or even the NBA Finals winner.
At the start of the season, you might be presented with the following odds for teams to win the NBA Finals:
Brooklyn Nets (+250)
LA Lakers (+450)
Cleveland Cavaliers (+550)
Milwaukee Bucks (+700)
The beauty of placing a futures bet before any team takes to the court is that you will receive better odds. If you wait until the season is underway, the sportsbook will adjust the odds to reflect a team’s performance to date.
How do you Bet on NBA Playoffs?
The NBA playoffs are undoubtedly one of the most exciting aspects of the entire season. Whether your team makes it to the playoffs or not, you can keep yourself entertained throughout the end-of-season matchups by placing wagers.
The season usually runs from October to April, and the playoffs follow the end of the regular season matches. The good news is that all of the same markets are available for the NBA playoffs, and you can bet the spread, stick to simple moneylines, or make things interesting with a playoff parlay.
Just be mindful that anything can happen in the playoffs, and form often goes out the window! With the NBA playoffs just around the corner at the time of writing, it’s worth getting your bets prepared to sit back with a cold one and enjoy the events that play out on the court in front of you.
What About the NBA Finals?
The best way to bet on the NBA Finals from the outset is to place a futures bet. You can do this at the start of the season, or you can wait until a couple of game weeks have played out to get a good feel for how the season will progress.
You can begin by betting on the conference winners before following it up with your prediction of who will make the NBA finals in July.
When the NBA finals participants are announced, you can build your bet slip using any of the NBA betting types introduced above.
Top NBA Betting Tips
Now you have all the information you need to build your NBA betting slip; it’s time to reveal some of our top tips for betting on basketball:
Current form matters
Instead of focusing too much on the divisional standings, research a team’s current form before placing a bet. Remember that every team can go through slumps, so it’s good to look at the last 3-5 matches to get a good idea of how a team is currently performing.
Review the injury report
The NBA season is a slog, and injuries are commonplace. As such, it’s so important that you keep up to date with a team’s injury report to see how they’re likely to perform. ESPN’s injury report is an excellent NBA resource and will ensure you don’t bet on a team when their star player is out with an ankle injury!
Look for scheduling disadvantages
Although back-to-backs aren’t as common as they used to be in the NBA, they still occur, with teams averaging 13.5 matches with no rest games in a typical season. As you might imagine, when faced with back-to-back fixtures, players are much more tired and are more likely to have an off-night. Keep your eyes peeled for busy schedules and bet accordingly, and you might find good value.
Track player statistics
Prop betting is a great way to build value when it comes to NBA betting. Whether you bet on points, rebounds, or assists, make sure you’re up to date with the latest NBA player statistics. This gives your prop bets the best chance of coming in. Prop bets are particularly enjoyable for live TV matches and give you an excuse to tune into matches you wouldn’t normally be interested in.
Betting on the NBA is a great way for basketball fans to keep things interesting throughout the season. As well as following the Cavs religiously, placing wagers on other teams and individual players gives you a good excuse to tune into other matches throughout the season.
We hope this guide has given you all the information you need to start betting on the NBA, and we wish you the best of luck as you build your bets!
NBA Betting FAQs
Is NBA betting profitable?
NBA betting can be profitable if you study the form and bet with your head and not your heart. You also need to make sure you fully understand the bet that you’re placing, so don’t get too carried away when you’re just starting out!
Are NBA parlays worth it?
If you ask a guy who has just won $20,000 on an NBA parlay if it’s worth it, he will tell you yes, it absolutely is. But in reality, NBA parlays offer such great odds because they’re unlikely to come in. Still, you can bet on NBA parlays once in a while, just don’t rely on them as your sole NBA betting strategy.
How often do NBA favorites win?
Statistics show around a 45% chance that an underdog will win a matchup, so the favorite wins around 55% of the time. Therefore, don’t fall into the trap of always siding with the favorite and do your research into a team’s current form.
Is the NBA easy to bet on?
Overall, betting on the NBA is straightforward. You just need to familiarize yourself with the different betting types and ensure you don’t get carried away when you’re still learning the ropes. Lots of people start by betting on the moneyline before increasing the complexity of their bets when they become more knowledgeable about the markets.
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