How to Bet on the NBA

7 min read
Author
Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Editor-in-Chief
Fact checked by:
Paruyr Shahbazyan
Founder
Last Updated: May 27, 2024, 2:45 PM

Betting on Basketball

NBA betting today is a fundamental part of North American sports betting. The league is globally popular and has an almost non-stop schedule that runs through the regular season, playoffs, and the NBA finals. As a result, there are usually many betting markets available year-round.

However, the factors that set NBA betting apart go beyond the frequency of games. Rather, they involve the dynamics of each game. For instance, in the regular season, many games serve as tests for bettors in addition to the competing teams. That means there is usually enough time to assess strategies and improve ahead of the playoffs. During the playoffs, the stakes are typically higher as the outcome of the games means a chance to move on to the next round and potentially to the NBA Finals.

Best NBA Sportsbooks

Understanding How To Read NBA Odds

Odds formats vary by region, here are the three primary types you might encounter in the context of NBA betting:

American Odds Format

Predominantly used in the United States, American odds feature a negative (-) sign for favorites and a positive (+) sign for underdogs.

Example: Calculating American Odds Payouts

For an NBA game, consider these odds:

  • Miami Heat: -220
  • Charlotte Hornets: +180

Here, the Heat at -220 are the favorites, meaning a bet of $220 is needed to win $100 in profit. The Hornets at +180 are the underdogs, offering a $180 profit on a $100 bet if they win. This discrepancy reflects the sportsbook's commission or juice.

Decimal Odds Format

Favored in regions like Canada, Europe, and Australia, decimal odds indicate the total return for each dollar bet.

Example: Calculating Decimal Odds Payouts

For an NBA game, the odds might be:

  • Golden State Warriors: 2.80
  • Cleveland Cavaliers: 1.45

A $100 bet on the Warriors would return $280, a profit of $180, while the same bet on the Cavaliers would yield a total of $145, or a $45 profit.

Fractional Odds Format

Used in the UK and Ireland, fractional odds express the amount of profit relative to the stake.

Example: Calculating Fractional Odds Payouts

For an NBA match, consider:

  • Chicago Bulls: 9/4
  • Dallas Mavericks: 4/7

Betting $4 on the Bulls would return $9 in profit, making your total return $13. A $7 bet on the Mavericks would net $4 in profit, totaling $11 in return. This format highlights the underdogs and favorites by the potential returns on bets.

Live In-Play Betting on NBA Games

Engaging with NBA Games Through In Play Betting

Sportsbooks now feature the capability for gamblers to engage with NBA games through real-time betting options. This requires bettors to not only watch the games attentively but also to understand the nuances and shifts that occur during play. Observing team dynamics, player stamina, and strategic adjustments is vital for making informed bets as the game progresses.

Understanding the Mechanics of Live Wagering

As an NBA match unfolds, live wagering odds are dynamically updated to reflect the ongoing action. These adjustments are calculated through sophisticated models that consider a myriad of variables, including scoring runs, defensive strategies, and significant player performances or setbacks. Bettors who closely follow the match and can interpret these shifts stand to gain by identifying value bets based on real-time insights.

Best Bonuses for Basketball Bettors

Welcome Bonus

Borgata Bet $20 Get $100 in Bonus Bets

Borgata Bet $20 Get $100 in Bonus Bets
Easy
to obtain
12/30/2024
expire
21, Terms and Conditions Apply
Copied!
Click to copy code
Get bonus
Bonus Review
Welcome Bonus

Fanatics $200 in Bonus Bets up to $1000

Fanatics $200 in Bonus Bets up to $1000
Medium
to obtain
12/16/2024
expire
21, Terms and Conditions Apply
Copied!
Click to copy code
Get bonus
Bonus Review
Bonus Bets

ClutchBet Summer Soccer Challenge

ClutchBet Summer Soccer Challenge
Medium
to obtain
07/13/2024
expire
21, Terms and Conditions Apply
Copied!
Click to copy code
Get bonus
Bonus Review
Welcome Bonus

Betway NJ: $250 First Bet Reset

Betway NJ: $250 First Bet Reset
Medium
to obtain
01/01/2025
expire
21, Terms and Conditions Apply
Copied!
Click to copy code
Get bonus
Bonus Review
Bonus Bets
21, Terms and Conditions Apply
Copied!
Click to copy code
Get bonus
Bonus Review
Bet Insurance

ESPN BET 3HR Protection

ESPN BET 3HR Protection
Medium
to obtain
11/01/2024
expire
21, Terms and Conditions Apply
Copied!
Click to copy code
Get bonus
Bonus Review
Welcome Bonus

ESPN BET 200% First Time Deposit Match

ESPN BET 200% First Time Deposit Match
Medium
to obtain
07/01/2024
expire
21, Terms and Conditions Apply
Copied!
Click to copy code
Get bonus
Bonus Review

FAQs

How to Bet on the NBA
How Does NBA Sports Betting Work?
A Comprehensive Guide for US Sports Bettors
Is it Legal to Bet on NBA Games In the US?
What are Player Prop Bets in NBA Sports Betting?
Understanding NBA Odds: An Overview of Different Formats
How Do Odds Work in NBA Sports Betting?
Live In-Play Betting on NBA Games
Can I Bet on Live NBA Games?
Strategies for Successful NBA Betting
Are there Strategies to Improve NBA Sports Betting Success?
Interests:
NFL
CFL
NBA
MLB
NHL
ATP
UEFA
NCAA Baseball
PGA
Wimbledon
UFC
Conducting Interviews
Digital Art
Art Collector
Creating Books
Advanced Technology

Meet Our Authors

Paruyr Shahbazyan began his business career in 2000 as a private entrepreneur. Over thirteen years, he developed a deep understanding for business and leadership, laying a solid foundation for his professional journey.

In 2013, Paruyr stepped into the sports and betting industry as the founder and president of Bookmaker Rating. This online mass media platform, which he led until 2020, focused on providing in-depth analysis and insights in sports betting, earning a reputation for its quality content. 

Continuing his innovative approach in 2022, Paruyr co-founded Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol. This venture showcases his dedication to integrating advanced technology in the evolving landscape of sports betting. Through these diverse experiences, Paruyr has continuously influenced and shaped the betting industry, driving new trends and setting high standards.

 ExperienceYear
Engaged in private entrepreneurship2000-2013
Founder and President at Bookmaker Rating, an online platform focused on sports and betting2013-2020
Co-founder at Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol2022

"Innovation in sportsbetting comes from a deep understanding of both technology and the human element of sports." 

- Paruyr Shahbazyan, Founder, RG

 

Principles and Ethics

Paruyr Shahbazyan's core beliefs lie in the power of informed decision-making and integrity in the betting industry. He understands that the foundation of successful betting is not just about odds and predictions, but also about the trust and reliability of the information provided. Paruyr advocates for a betting environment where transparency and knowledge are paramount, ensuring that bettors are well-equipped with accurate data and insights.

Strategic Vision

Paruyr's vision is to revolutionize the sports betting industry through the integration of technology. He sees the future of betting as a blend of traditional sports knowledge with innovative tech solutions, like decentralized protocols, to enhance user experience and fairness. His aim is to create platforms that are not only user-friendly but also uphold the highest standards of ethical betting, contributing to a more responsible and enjoyable betting culture.

Future Perspectives

Looking towards the future, Paruyr envisions a betting landscape that is more inclusive, technologically advanced, and globally connected. He anticipates a significant shift towards more decentralized and transparent betting systems, driven by blockchain technology. Paruyr is committed to being at the forefront of this change, continuously exploring new possibilities and innovations that can redefine what it means to engage in sports betting in a digital world. His focus is on building systems that prioritize user empowerment, fairness, and the global growth of the sports betting community.

 

Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Sol Fayerman-Hansen
Editor-in-Chief

Sol's interest in sports was sparked at a young age, inspired by athletes such as Barry Sanders, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Gretzky. This early fascination evolved into a deep-seated passion, guiding him toward a career in sports journalism in 2007. Over the years, Sol has contributed thousands of articles and reviews to dozens of online platforms, sharing his research, knowledge, and perspectives.

“In the world of sports betting, truth is more valuable than any bonus offer.”

ExperienceYear
Content Manager, OnlineCasinoReports2012-2021
Sports Journalist, Dottraffic2009-2011
Content Writer, HouseTech2007-2009
Cristina Varela Galan
Cristina Varela Galan
Problem Gambling Expert

Cristina used to work as a Psychology Assistant in the Bizkaia Pathological and Risky Gamblers Association. She was also part of a research team in Deusto University, specializing in pathological gambling area. While working there, she managed to develop her own project 

 “Exploring the association between emotional regulation, alexithymia, stressful life events and gambling in adolescent and young adult women”.

Nick Ashbourne
Nick Ashbourne
Senior Writer

Nick has been fascinated with sports since he was first taken to a Toronto Maple Leafs game back in 1998, and he's written about them professionally since 2014.

Nick has covered baseball and hockey for outlets like The Athletic, Sportsnet, and Yahoo Sports, and his sports betting expertise has grown since its legalization in Ontario in 2022. 

Between 2022 and 2023 he worked for a betting startup called NorthStar Bets, and in 2024 he contributed to Oddspedia before joining the Responsible Gambling team.

Anna Kravtcova
Anna Kravtcova
Problem Gambling Expert

Ph.D. in organizational psychology, an internationally certified psychologist (EuroPsy 2022, Cognitive behavioural therapy of mindfulness 2020, International Society for Emotional Intelligence 2017, Russian Psychological society 2014, American Psychological Association(Society for Industrial and Organizational Psychologist) 2011), speaker of many international conferences (USA, Brazil, Portugal, Czech Republic, Russia, etc.). TEDx speaker.

Mike made the decision to dive headfirst into the booming world of sports betting fresh out of college. Back in the day, when 1-800 pick lines and sports pagers were all the rage, he couldn't resist the allure, having grown up idolizing sports legends like Sweetness, MJ, and Slammin Sammy. Mike dedicated his early years to the industry, tirelessly analyzing games, writing articles with free picks, and selling his expertise on reputable handicapping sites. Unlike many others, Mike was known for his integrity and only released one Game of the Year per sport, per season. His hard work and unwavering commitment paid off, earning him a devoted following and propelling his career to new heights. Then came the explosion of Daily Fantasy Sports. Believe it or not, companies like DraftKings and FanDuel used to pay Mike's company to increase their brand exposure. Now, those same industry giants don't even bother responding to his emails. While Mike appreciates the convenience of being able to place legal bets in his own backyard, he can't help but feel disheartened by what has become of the industry. People are being led astray, falsely believing that a mere $5 wager on a 20-team same-game-parlay will be their ticket to financial security. If there’s one thing Mike learned from making book back in the day, it’s that parlays are a bookie’s best friend. A bankroll is the only leg you have to stand on in the battle with the books, and Mike’s here to offer up advice on how to protect it.

Mark Medina
Mark Medina
NBA Reporter

Mark Medina is a longtime NBA reporter that includes stints as a Lakers blogger with The Los Angeles Times (2010-12), Lakers beat writer with the Los Angeles Daily News (2012-17), Warriors beat writer with Bay Area News Group (2017-19) as well as an NBA reporter/columnist for USA Today (2019-21) and NBA.com (2021-23). Medina is also an NBA insider with Fox Sports Radio and frequent contributor to CBSLA's SportsCentralLA with Jim Hill and with Spectrum Sportsnet.

Daria Tuboltseva
Daria Tuboltseva
Hockey Journalist

Daria went to St. Petersburg State University and earned a bachelor of international journalism. Working as a sports journalist from 2014, from 2016 as a hockey journalist. Covered 5 World Championships, 2022 Winter Olympics, 2020 World Juniors, 6 Gagarin Cup Finals. 

Owner of a telegram channel Coolest Game on Earth.

Integrative nutritionist specializing on sports nutritionology.