Betting on the NBA: A how-to guide plus tips and strategies

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NBA betting explained with tips and strategies

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This article was created by Sports Interaction. Postmedia may earn an affiliate commission through our links on this page.

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Basketball is one of the most popular sports to bet on and the NBA, as one of the four major sports leagues in North America, generates the most action. Sports Interaction has you covered with everything you need to know to bet on the NBA and betting strategies to keep in mind.

Make sure to check out Sports Interaction for a complete list of NBA game odds, NBA props and NBA futures.

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Types of NBA bets

Like every sports league, there is more to betting on the NBA than simply which team will win. The three most common ways to bet on the NBA include betting the point spread, betting the moneyline and betting the total, also known as Over/Under. Beyond those options, you can also bet on props and futures. Let’s look at the betting options available.

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NBA moneyline betting

Moneyline betting is the simplest and easiest way to make a wager, so it’s a great option for beginner or recreational bettors. This is strictly a bet on which team will win the game. In the example above, Toronto is favoured to win as indicated by the minus (-) sign next to the number. Indiana is the underdog as shown by the plus (+) sign.

If you wanted to place a $100 bet on Toronto to win against Indiana and you won the bet, you would get a payout of $125.64, including your original investment. If you bet $100 on Indiana to beat Toronto, the total payout would be $411. The underdog is riskier, but the reward is greater.

NBA point spread betting

Betting on the point spread is one of the most popular ways to wager on the NBA. The point spread essentially levels the playing field between the teams. In the example above, Toronto is a nine-point favourite to win as indicated by the minus sign. Indiana is a nine-point underdog as indicated by the plus sign.

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If you bet on Toronto, they must win the game by more than nine points for you to win the bet. If you bet on Indiana, you win the bet if they win by any margin or lose by less than nine points. 

If Toronto wins the game by exactly nine points, it is called a “push” and your money is refunded. 

Toronto -9.5

Indiana +9.5

You will often see point spreads feature a half-point added to the number to prevent the possibility of a push. In the new example above, if you bet on Toronto at -9.5, they need to win by 10 or more points to win the bet. If you bet on Indiana at +9.5, they need to win by any margin or lose by less than 10 points to win the bet.

NBA totals betting (Over/Under)

Another common and relatively simple way to bet on the NBA is betting on the total, also known as the Over/Under. This is a bet on whether the total combined points of both teams will be over or under a specific number set by oddsmakers.

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The Over and Under usually provide the same payout. In the example, a $110 bet on the Over would earn you $100 profit if the score at the end of the game totals more than 234 points. It’s the same odds and payout for the Under. If the game ends with exactly 234 points, it is a push and your money is refunded.

NBA props betting

There’s more to bet on when it comes to the NBA than just which team will win the game. Prop bets, or propositional bets, go beyond the actual game as a whole and often focus more on individual players and statistics.

The example above shows point totals for Toronto’s Pascal Siakam and Fred VanVleet for an individual game. If you think Siakam is on a hot streak, you can take the Over and bet he will score 25 or more points. If you think VanVleet could be limited because of a nagging injury, you might take the Under and bet he will score 20 points or less.

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Prop bets can go deeper as you can see in the example above. The same Over/Under rules apply, just with more statistics added. If you take the Over 37.5 on Siakam and he has a stat line of 25 points, 8 rebounds and five assists, you win the bet because the total is 38.

NBA futures betting

Futures betting is another popular option that generally offers higher payouts. Like the name suggests, you are betting on a future event. Will the Raptors make the playoffs? Will Joel Embiid win MVP? Will Milwaukee win the NBA championship? 

The great thing about these bets is they are often offered before the season even begins, which makes betting on your favourite team and how they will fare more exciting.

In the example above, Milwaukee is a +206 favourite to win the NBA championship. That means a $100 bet placed on the Bucks would earn you $206 profit if they win the championship.

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 The basic rule for futures betting is, the earlier you make the wager, the better the payout. Before the season started, Milwaukee was listed at +650 to win the NBA championship. A $100 bet on the Bucks before the season would earn you $650 profit if they win it all.

NBA betting tips and strategies

The first strategy for betting on any sport is to do your research. Look at the teams you are most familiar with and look for the value in their odds. 

Another important tip is to always bet with your head, not your heart. If you are a diehard Raptors fan, but you don’t think they have a playoff-calibre team, don’t bet on them to win an NBA championship.

You should also make sure to stay organized. Keep track of the bets you make so you can review them later and see what worked and what didn’t work. 

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The most important tip is to manage your bankroll. Sports betting is supposed to be fun, so always set limits for how much you will bet and don’t bet more than you can afford to lose.

This article was written by Sports Interaction. Sports Interaction’s content provides information that helps readers navigate the new landscape of sports betting in Canada.  

Please confirm the betting laws and regulations in your jurisdiction as they vary from province to province and country to country. The site is not associated with nor is it endorsed by any professional or collegiate league, association or team. 

Information in the above article is for entertainment purposes only and is not targeted to under 19 audiences. Using this information to contravene any law is prohibited. Visit the Responsible Gaming Council’s Safer Play to keep gambling safe and fun.

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