NBA Betting Tips

NBA Betting Tips
✍️ Written by
Trivesh Vassen
🗓 Updated
Aug 8th 2023

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the most significant sports leagues globally, let alone the United States. With that fame has come a soaring interest in betting on the sport, which is currently reaching a fever pitch as judicial hurdles continue to fall and the industry has grown across the country.

Thanks to the development of online betting sites in US states where gambling is legal, the NBA betting experience has been enhanced miles from where it used to be in the days of purely brick-and-mortar sportsbooks. The introduction of these mobile platforms has provided a convenient, easy-to-use service while sparking the evolution of additional markets and an ever-growing number of betting options.

Is It Legal To Bet Online On NBA?

It is legal to bet on professional basketball in the United States, as long as your physical location is inside a state where it’s legal. NBA betting online has been made legal in 13 states as of April 2021. These states include:

  • New Jersey

  • Pennsylvania

  • Illinois

  • Michigan

  • Virginia

  • Tennessee

  • West Virginia

  • Iowa

  • New Hampshire

  • Nevada

  • Oregon

  • Rhode Island

  • Montana

In 2019, states accepting sports betting online grew with Pennsylvania, Iowa, West Virginia, and Indiana. Several other states are expected to join the list in 2021 and beyond as the industry will only continue its rapid growth.

Each state that has opted to include gambling on sports and the NBA has produced huge revenue thanks to the current boom the industry is experiencing.

Top NBA Sports Betting Apps - 2021

As is the case with most sports, there are various markets available for betting on basketball. Hence, before placing any wagers, it is crucial to be aware of the popular NBA online bets available on all platforms.

You can quickly get access to most legal online sportsbooks via your computer, laptop, or mobile phone. Sportsbook operators offer sports betting apps for both Apple and Android operating systems. Apart from the screen sizes, online sportsbooks and betting apps are almost the same. They include the same full page of lines and odds.

Many betting apps are fully integrated between the sportsbook and casino, which allows you to move from one to the other flawlessly. Whether on an app, online, or in-person, you can easily place a bet, play around with the bet slip, test out potential pay-outs, make deposits, and cash out your winnings. As long as you have registered your account correctly and are within the boundaries of a legal sports betting state, you can place a bet on the NBA.

DraftKings Online Sportsbook 

You can use DraftKings Sportsbook online in NJ, PA, WV, IN, IL, NH, IA, CO, TN, VA, and MI.

NBA bettors can get an account at DraftKings, a DFS and sports betting powerhouse, and access the sportsbook and casino. Downloadable iOS and Android apps are both available as it is a web-based sportsbook. NBA markets comprise team and player futures, game lines & odds, and other prop bets. You get $25 free when you open a new account on the DraftKings website or app.

DraftKings Bonus 

Get up to $25 in FREE Bets, plus up to $1,050 in Risk-Free Bets

FanDuel Sportsbook 

You can use FanDuel Sportsbook online in MI, NJ, PA, IN, WV, CO, TN, IA, IL & VA.

It is one of the top-grossing online sportsbooks & sportsbook apps in many states. FanDuel has been a market leader in every state it has launched with an excellent interface and a huge selection of NBA lines, futures & props. You get a risk-free bet on FanDuel.

FanDuel Bonus

Risk-Free First Bet up to $1,000

BetMGM Sportsbook 

BetMGM Sportsbook is legal in VA, MI, NJ, CO, TN, WV, NV, PA, IN & IA

BetMGM is among the best sports betting apps. It is easy to use with competitive NBA lines and also futures markets. This NBA sports betting app can be downloaded on iOS and Android apps. These are both available alongside the online sportsbook. Users get a deposit bonus upon registration.

BetMGM Bonus

Risk-Free First Bet up to $600 with code PLAYBONUS

Other Sports Betting Apps

How to Bet on NBA online

There are few differences in betting on the NBA online compared to in-person at a retail sportsbook. The first difference is that you need to register for an account. It requires a minimum amount of personal information that, for the most part, is limited to your address and the last four digits of your  (SSN) Social Security Number.

Online and mobile sports betting operators also verify that you are at the permissible age and your location before you can bet freely. Then, once that process is complete, you will need to deposit money onto the site or app for wagering. Fortunately, sports betting websites and mobile apps across the US also make this process easy to ensure there is no hassle.

Most betting apps and sites accept major credit cards, online bank transfers, and various popular third-party payment processors, e.g., PayPal. Plus, cash options are available but include making a deposit at an affiliated casino cage or 7-Eleven or CVS stores using PayNearMe.

Once you are all set up, you should see the second difference between betting online versus in-person at a retail sportsbook. Online sportsbooks give you the chance to filter through all the NBA betting options before you place a bet. You can see all the possibilities of outcomes before you bet online and accordingly choose your bets. If you try that at any betting window inside a busy sportsbook, there is a possibility that someone would probably call security.

Online, there’s no need to keep waiting in line. You can browse through all the available options, and you’ll enjoy quick access to all available in-play and in-game NBA betting options as well. As the retail sportsbook experience is an enjoyable one, the availability of online and mobile NBA betting only enhances it.

How To Pick NBA Betting Sites

Only because you're looking to get in on the action and begin placing basketball bets wouldn’t mean you blindly choose a site to sign up for. There are various points to consider before depositing your valued money anywhere and selecting a platform that is right for you to enhance the overall betting experience. This is also applicable for the NBA bonus and promotion amounts. Do check the following advice before making up your mind on where to do your NBA betting online:

Know What You're Looking For

Putting together a list of your favorites can go a long way to help you decide on the best online betting sites for betting. How you value the welcome bonuses, the range of markets offered, promotions, and the quality of the betting online, among other things, can dictate where you sign up.

Almost all online sports betting sites serve the same function but don't all do so in the same demanded ways. After you have figured out what you like, all these ultra-fine differences will help you filter down your options.

Compare Bonuses and Promotions

When it comes to that list of preferences that we mentioned above, it usually starts with the bonuses and promotions. A kind and generous welcome bonus will immediately put you ahead of the curve, and a harmonious flow of promotions always provides a huge incentive to continue using the platform. You must compare these offers from various NBA betting sites to find which suits you best.

Check out the Ratings and Reviews 

For an all-surrounding look at what each platform has to offer, there are many sites that are valuable resources. These sites are aware of the best feature of each brand and what they have to offer. Looking through a few review pages will help you with a starting point on what services are provided at each site.

Use Various Available Sportsbooks

Deciding on going with the theme of weighing your options, we'd highly recommend that you should sign up for multiple sites at one time. That will double the bonuses, promotions, and betting markets to shop around and help you get a feel for what each platform has to offer. The site’s interface, the helpdesk support options available, and betting options will vary slightly, but using more than one will make filtering it down to the best online betting sites a little easier.

Guide for Beginners on How To Pick NBA Betting Sites

Betting on each NBA game typically involves the following basic single-game wagers.

  1. Select between Live Betting or In-Play Betting: This type is betting during a live game using live odds that adjust throughout the contest.

  2. Money line: A bet on a team to win a particular game. These bets payout at either negative (favorite) or positive (underdog) on the odds posted by the sportsbook and locked in at the time the bet is placed. These odds are set according to each team’s possibility of winning.

  3. Total: A bet on whether the combined score in a game will be above or under a line set by oddsmakers.

  4. Parlay: Two or more basic bets combined as one wager. All bets, in other respect known as legs, must win to get paid.

  5. Spread: A bet on a team to win a game with a spread set by oddsmakers factored at the end of the final score.

Popular NBA Bet Types

As in most sports, there are a number of markets available when it comes to betting on basketball. Hence before placing any bet, it is important that you should be informed about the popular NBA online bets available on all platforms.

Using an example from various Sportsbooks that will help us break down several basketball bet types below.

NBA Moneyline Betting

NBA Moneyline betting is simply a wager on which team will win, regardless of the point spread. The amount of bet you must risk increases when betting favorites, and the profits increase when betting on underdogs.

To completely understand all sides of the game line, moneylines should be looked at relative to the number 100, which represents 'even money' in sports betting. Favorites will have a negative (-) symbol adjacent to their line, while the underdog will have a positive (+) sign accompanying its odds. The further away from the 100 these odds go, the bigger the favorite or underdog.

Using an example where the X (-410) are favorites while the Y (+310) are underdogs. As in the case of moneylines, the odds are directly correlated to the risk and payouts of the wager.

Taking the X moneyline means taking down $410 to win $100, risking over four times what you can profit in the end. On the other side, a $100 wager on the Y pays out $310 because the bettors need them to win completely and don't have the 9 point spread as a safety.

 NBA Spread Betting

Betting on the spread is not only a selection of which team will win but also which will 'cover' a pre-planned point spread provided by sportsbooks. Not all teams will be equal, so the point spread is the oddsmakers' way of phasing out the game for betting purposes.

Just like moneylines, favorites come with a negative sign, and underdogs have a positive sign. The favorite must win by a number of points, and the underdog needs to either win completely or lose by fewer points than that noted in the spread.

Using the above example, the spread is nine points. The X (-9) covers the spread if they win by ten or more points and the Y (+9) covers if they lose by eight or fewer points. In the event the X win by the exact spread of nine, the bet is called a 'push,’ and the original investment on both sides will be returned.

As the moneyline determines how much you wager and the payouts, things work in a different way here. Every spread comes along with the odds for selecting that side. We also assume that the X is -9 (-110). This simply says the odds for that bet are -110, and we'd have to wager $110 to win $100.

This number is often referred to as the 'juice' on the bet. Whatever that number would be, it represents how much you need to pay to win $100. Consider it a commission fee imposed by bookmakers for sports bettors making a wager.

Most of the spreads start with standard -110 odds and move based on the action of the betting people. There is less movement in risk and reward than moneylines because the odds are evened out by the spread

NBA Totals Betting

Betting on NBA totals in layman’s terms means placing an over or under bet in regard to the total points that will be scored in a particular basketball game. Aspects like injuries, schedule, and pace of play can have a huge effect on whether a game goes above or below the projected total.

In a simple above example, let's assume oddsmakers set the total for Y team and X team at 225.5. The over hits if these two teams combine for 226 or more points, while 225 or fewer points would mean it's an under. In both instances, in such scenarios, it will take a $110 risk to win $100.

 NBA Prop Bets Explained

An ordinary question for people new to sports betting wonder what are prop bets? Props are essentially yes or no bets on whether a given event in a game will occur. Instead of betting on moneylines, spreads, and totals, props are more non-traditional markets that tend to focus on in-game events and player stats, among other things.

Below are a few of the categories offered at most online sportsbooks for NBA games:

  • Team Totals

  • Spread/Total Parlays and Moneyline/Total Parlays

  • Player Points + Assists + Rebounds

  • Head-To-Head Player Points

  • Player Total Points, Rebounds, or Assists

These wagers may not be tied to the final outcome of the game, though some of them are and have emerged in popularity as more and more markets have been added for all sports including pro basketball.

NBA Parlay Bets

NBA parlay bets allow you to combine multiple sides (which is also known as legs into one wager in exchange for a more favorable payout. Parlay bets are usually made up of money lines, spreads, and totals, although sportsbooks have emerged to include props and multi-event as parlay-eligible.

These wagers are favorite among better due to their low-risk, high-reward nature in which even a small investment can earn a large payout. In the case of parlays, every side needs to win in order for the bet to hit, and just one loss spoils the entire wager. Due to this, parlays are considered among the toughest bets to win when gambling on the NBA or sports in general.

Below we will look at a conventional assumption or example to better understand what NBA parlay is:

Let’s assume that there are three teams that are parlayed together at the standard -110, which adds up to a +597 value on many platforms. The inclusion of underdogs and additional teams will boost the odds and potential payout but will also increase the risk of losing.

Though the math with parlays sounds complicated, these wagers have become more popular with the growth of online sports betting sites, which can easily calculate the odds.

NBA Futures

NBA futures bets are as same as what they sound like: wagers on whether an event will or won’t occur at some point in the future. In the NBA, futures wagers are very popular with some of the following categories:

  • Conference Champions

  • MVP Winner

  • Defensive Player Of The Year

  • NBA Champion

  • Division Winners

  • NBA Finals MVP

  • Playoff Series Winners

  • Rookie Of The Year

Most of the above bets are prepared before the season starts. However, few markets do remain open as the regular season goes on. Futures bets are extremely popular because they provide a rooting interest for a longer duration of time and can come with kind payouts.

Here’s another list of NBA futures and props you’ll find at legal US sportsbooks:

  • NBA Lottery Odds: It means on the order of where teams will pick in the annual NBA Draft.

  • Division Winners: A bet that is on a specific team to win its division.

  • NBA Draft: Bets on who will be involved in the NBA.

  • NBA Win Totals: A bet on a certain team to win more or fewer games than a line set by oddsmakers.

  • NBA MVP/Rookie of Year/MIP/Defensive Player/Coach: A bet on a player to win any one of the annual NBA awards.

  • NBA Finals: Bets on which team will win the NBA Finals.

  • NBA Props: Bets on any NBA team or any player propositions.

  • NBA All-Star Game: Bets on the result of the NBA’s annual All-Star Game.

  • NBA Playoffs: Bets on a particular team that would make the NBA Playoffs or win a specific NBA Playoffs series.

  • NBA 3-Point Shootout/NBA Dunk Contest: Bets on the outcome of competitions played at the NBA’s annual All-Star Saturday Night.

  • NBA Free Agency: Bets on where a free agent player will be signed in the offseason.

Understanding the NBA Betting Lines

Oddsmakers create lines for the basic NBA bets based on several factors. These include historical matchup statistics, the scheduling and location of the game, each team’s expected lineup, and both seasonal and most recent performance data.

Lines are also set based on some fundamental NBA game principles. These include:

  • The better team almost always wins.

  • Most NBA games end up being close.

  • There’s an inherent home-court advantage in the NBA.

Definitely, it’s a good idea to consider all these factors when deciding which side of an NBA line you should bet.

NBA Line Shopping

Lines on the basic NBA bets will differ from operator to operator. Hence, you will find value by shopping around for the best lines at various sportsbooks.

If you can spend less money on a favorite or get more on an underdog, you are definitely putting money in your pocket. Definitely, this is easier with online and mobile sports betting. However, sharp sports bettors will shop around at retail sportsbooks too in search of the best price on a bet.

NBA Line Movement

NBA lines only move for two reasons:

  • Betting action that favors one side.

  • Injuries

The first reason an NBA line might move is when more money comes in on one side or the other.

The second is an injury to a key player, which is entirely understandable.

During the NBA season, teams will be forced to provide the lineup for each game 30 minutes before tipoff. In case if a key player is not on the lineup for one team, you will see sportsbooks adjust the basic NBA lines for the game ahead of time.

Sportsbooks set lines in the middle to grab attention on action to both sides of a bet. This way, they are less exposed to huge losses. If a significantly huge amount of money is bet on one side, they will move the line to reduce that exposure.

Bettors can track this artificial line movement and take benefit of the better price offered on a bet. Think of it like betting on oddsmakers being correct the first time they set the line and then taking advantage of the fact that while their minds haven’t changed, the line has.

Betting Mistakes to Avoid

Try to avoid the following mistakes when betting on the NBA:

  • Chase Losses: Betting sometimes or many times involves losing. Never chase losses by putting more betting amounts. That’s a quick way to go broke. Proper bankroll management involves ensuring your bets are around the same affordable size. This way, you can ride out a losing streak and still be betting when your picks start winning again.

  • Always Bet on Home Favourites: Home teams win more often than away in the NBA, but every time betting on the home favorite is a mistake. Every team sometimes loses, at home too. Look for those weak marks and avoid betting the game or pick a road underdog primed to upset the home team occasionally.

  • Bet with Your Heart: Everyone has an NBA team they love the most, but that love won’t help anyone win all 82 games in the regular season. Rather than betting a team just because they are yours, rely on stats and data to back up your picks. Bet with your head, not your heart.

NBA Betting Strategies

Handicapping NBA games is definitely not an easy thing to do, so getting involved in the action without knowing what you’re doing is the easiest way to lose your money. Most of these lines are very carefully crafted and diligently poured over each day, so how do you help yourself make the right bets?

Betting Tips

Here are some NBA betting tips that you should keep in mind when you're checking out basketball lines throughout the regular season:

  • Bankroll Management

  • Don't Bet On Every Game

  • NBA Is Erratic Early In The Season

  • Betting Percentages Can Help

  • Check The Game Notes

  • Trends Are Misleading

Apart from knowing how the various bet types work, you should also be aware of some common NBA betting strategies to use while hunting for your favorite lines.

NBA Betting Strategies

We did just go through some tips, so what's the difference between tips and strategies? Tips are mostly just things to keep in mind that could help you make an informed decision, whereas strategies are the rules that bettors live by while placing wagers. Consider using one or several of the following practices:

  • Bet On Totals & Props

  • Fade The Public

  • Bet According To The Schedule

  • Reverse Line Movement

  • Live Bet Games You're Watching

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