Which one of the 1,230 NBA regular season games are you going to bet on? Or, are you just supporting the home team and betting on your favorite players? How about wagers that don’t involve picking a winning team, do they exist? What do all these NBA Odds mean anyways?
Welcome to the world of sports betting and How to Bet on the NBA. Whether it’s betting on the money line, point spread or the over/under totals, this webpage will help the beginner or expert understand all the NBA Vegas Odds, numbers and statistics when you join top-ranked online gaming sites like Bovada. Now, you will be an informed bettor when you make your NBA Picks.
The league was founded more than 70 years ago in June 1946 and adopted the name National Basketball Association in 1949 after merging with the competing National Basketball League. Today, there are 30 teams — 29 located in the United States and one in Canada — playing in two conferences with three divisions.
Regular season action begins in October as teams push for the playoffs, which start in April. The NBA Finals are typically played annually at the beginning of June.
Sixteen of the 30 teams, or more than half, qualify for the postseason. The top eight teams in each conference are ranked No. 1 through 8 based on their win-loss records. All playoff rounds are best-of-seven series. After three conference playoff rounds, the top team in the East meets the best in the West in the NBA Finals.
Best NBA Betting Lines
During the regular season, each team plays 82 games — 41 each home and away. On busy nights during the season, there can be as many as 15 games to choose from. The NBA is also the only league that regularly schedules games on Christmas Day. Games have been played on the holiday since 1947.
The latest NBA Betting Lines for upcoming matchups from all the major online sites like Bovada can be found below. These odds will change up to game time depending on injuries, suspensions and the amount of money bet on each team. But, remember, your odds are fixed once you place your bet.
What Are The NBA Standings
Teams are ranked one through five within their divisions based on their won/loss record. Also listed will be a team’s winning percentage, and points scored for and against.
Homecourt advantage plays its biggest role in the NBA. The home team wins three out of every five games (59.9%) and is the best winning percentage among the four major sports. The home team wins 54.0% of the time in Major League Baseball, 55.1% in the NHL and 57.1% in the NFL.
The winning percentage for home teams in the NBA playoffs goes up 4.1% to 64.5%. This is a significant statistic, especially for undecided bettors.
NBA Betting Lines Explained
The 2018-19 season has already offered a few surprises as there are three teams in the Eastern Conference with a better record than the defending champion Golden State Warriors.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers are currently battling it out for the top seed in the East. This trio all have a better record than the Warriors, who are in a dogfight for top spot in the Western Conference with the surprising Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Last season's regular season champs, the Houston Rockets, are still in the playoff mix, as are the Los Angeles Lakers, who added superstar LeBron James in the offseason.
The Warriors and their roster of all-stars — Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green — continue to be the prohibitive favorites in NBA Future Odds to win their third straight championship. Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors are the second choice.
James Harden of the Houston Rockets is the runaway scoring leader (33.3 points per game), while Andre Drummond of the Detroit Pistons (15.0) leads all rebounders.
The NBA is no longer just a big man's game. Teams are taking more and more shots from the three-point line and Seth Curry of the Portland Trail Blazers (.512) has the highest scoring percentage from behind the arc.
All of these stars and statistics have to be taken into account when betting on individual games, whether it's the regular season or playoffs.
To explain all the betting odds and numbers, let's use Game 1 of the 2017-18 NBA Finals as an example. The Warriors were posted as a 12.5-point favorite to win the series opener over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The over/under total was listed at 214.5.
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NBA Money Line
Cleveland (+750) at Golden State (-1000) — This is one of the easiest bets to play of them all. Pick the winner and you cash your ticket — period.
If there is a plus sign in front of the betting line number, that equals how much a bettor wins on a $100 bet. The Cavs are listed at +750, so if they win the game, a bettor earns a total return of $850 ($100 bet + $750 profit = $850 total return).
If there is a minus sign in front of the number, that is how much a bettor must wager to win $100. The Warriors are listed at -1000, so if they win the game, a bettor earns a total return of $1,100 but must wager $1,000 to get it ($1,000 bet + $100 profit = $1,100).
Sure, the Warriors should win the game and are huge favorites, but it's a huge risk if they lose.
"We've taken zero money-line bets on the Warriors (in Game 1)," Jason Simbal, CG Technology vice-president of risk, told ESPN before the opener of the Finals. "We've taken over 100 on the Cavs."
The Warriors won Game 1 in overtime 124-114.
NBA Point Spread
Cleveland (+12.5) at Golden State (-12.5) — Maybe you don’t like the return offered if Golden State wins Game 1 on the money line. The payoffs improve if you’re willing to add some risk to the bet.
In this wager against the spread, the Warriors must now win by 13 or more points for you to cash a winning ticket. The Cavs must either win the game outright or lose by 12 points or less.
Since the Cavs lost the game by 10 points, the underdogs covered the spread of 12.5.
NBA Over Under
Oddsmakers listed the over/under total for Game 1 at 214.5 points. It doesn’t matter which team wins to score on this bet. The total number of points, including overtime, is all that matters — 124 + 114 = 238. That total is “over” the betting line of 214.5.
NBA Prop Bets
Prop bets have nothing to do with the final score. They are a game within the game. Props can be offered on players, teams or events. In our example, one prop bet listed on Bovada was which team will be the first to score 20 points in Game 1?
The betting line was posted as Golden State (-300) and Cleveland (+250). The game was close throughout the contest, but Golden State took an early 20-19 lead in the first quarter and scored for those who backed the Warriors in this prop bet.