How To Bet On NBA

Published on June 11, 2018 by Darren @ Betting Gods

If you need to make NBA games more exciting there are plenty of ways to wager on the best athletes in the world. Here is an introduction into how to bet on the NBA.


When betting the NBA the most common bet is against the spread (ATS). The spread is the great equalizer in sports. Anyone can pick who wins a game. Can you pick who wins against the spread? The spread assigns the favorite a couple of points in which they are handicapped by. It puts a threshold of points they have to win by to cover the spread, and for you to cash for your ticket.

For example, if the Chicago Bulls (-5) against the New York Knicks, they would start the game 5 points down in terms of the spread. If the Bulls win 100-90, the Bulls covered, if the Bulls win 100-99, the Knicks covered.


In addition to betting against the spread is the over-under. The over-under sets a total number of points combined by the two teams. Your bet is whether or not the final score will go over or under the projected total.

For example, if the Mike D’antonio Suns are in the NBA with their “seven seconds or less” ball, the totals could range upward of 230 points score. However, if the Detroit Pistons with Ben Wallace and Chauncey Billups came back, you could see point totals deep as low as 200.

Money Line

The most cut and dry way to bet on the NBA is the money line. This is straight up picking the winner. Of course, it is not as easy to win money this way. Money line betting factors in juice more than totals or spreads, which have a rather standard juice. For money line betting, it fluctuates based on the team.

Let’s say LeBron James is facing a tanking team. It would be far too easy to pick the James led team to win straight up. So, the books tax him, making his money line juice a high number. Therefore, if James does lose somehow, the bettor is crushed. If he wins, it is a small gain.

However, if James is going to take on the Golden State Warriors. It will not cost much to take him on the money line, and he may even be an underdog, which would pay back plus money. If James were an underdog of (+110), a $100 bet would pay back $110 if James were to beat the Warriors.


Futures are a long-term play that can be rewarding. You can bet on teams to make the playoffs, win the conference, or win the NBA finals. These odds will fluctuate based on how good the teams are perceived to be. For instance, it would not pay nearly as much to bet the Warriors to win the championship as the Charlotte Hornets. However, it is obviously much less likely for the Hornets to be in that position.

Playoff Series

Playoff series are usually more profitable than futures bets and do not tie up money for as long of a time. While you may have to wait all season for your Warriors future to pay off, you could also just bet on the Warriors in a series by series basis.

In the NBA where superstar players are so valuable and best of seven series are played in every round, something surprising usually has to happen to see major upsets. Early round playoff series betting is usually a way to take the better teams and profit within a two-week span.

Home Court Advantage

The last thing to remember is home court advantage. Home court advantage obviously matters in series betting, as the higher seed will always play more home games. However, it should be factored into betting on any game. Most teams get anywhere between 2-4 points in the NBA due to home court advantage.

So, if the Warriors are favored by 12 points at home against LeBron James, they likely are 8 point favorites on a neutral court, because Golden State has a prized home court. The Cavaliers have a strong home court, but would typically get three points. Therefore, at home, the Cavaliers would typically only be 5 point underdogs.

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