NBA - Odds & Betting Lines

Betting on the NBA online

Betting on the end-to-end action in basketball matches is an excellent way to build further excitement and perhaps make some extra money. However, if you’re new to sports betting, it can be confusing to know where to start. Understanding the odds and the key betting markets is your first step to making successful bets on the next game.

In this guide, we explain three of the most common NBA odds you’ll find at the best basketball betting sites. You’ll see you can bet on who will win, the total points scored – or even the margin of victory.

Moneyline NBA betting

The most common bet in basketball is forecasting which team will win the game. Sportsbook operators invest a lot of time studying team form, player news, and injuries before creating the odds.

The moneyline shows how likely it is for a team to win an NBA game, and this will determine how much money you can expect to win for your bet. If the team is a red-hot favorite, you won’t expect to win as much as you would if you back the underdog.

Moneylines are negative or positive numbers. The negative number means you must bet this amount to make a $100 profit. A positive number is the amount you will win if you bet $100. Sound confusing? It’s not once you see a good example. Let’s say the LA Lakers are taking on the Houston Rockets in the NBA Western Conference. The Lakers will be clear favorites, and so the moneyline odds might look like this:

  • Lakers: -175
  • Rockets: +480

You must place a bet at your online sportsbook for $175 to make a $100 profit with these odds. But if you have a hunch that the Rockets can soar to a shock win, then you must bet $100 to make a $480 profit.

You don’t need to wager such high amounts. Instead, pay a proportion of the nominal amount for the same proportion of winnings. So if you wagered $17.50 on the Lakers, you would make a $10 profit.

Keep an eye on the sportsbook numbers because those moneyline odds can change in an instant if there is news of a player injury or some other event that could shift the course of the match.

Betting the NBA spread

When you place a bet on basketball, you always want to balance the risk with the potential reward. Perhaps the moneyline odds on a game between the Utah Jazz and LA Clippers are not appealing. In this case, you might prefer to make a bet on the point spread if you spot an opportunity.

The NBA spread is a handicap system and is usually set at around 20 points, and you get odds on whether you believe the winning margin will be under or over this amount. Now, instead of perhaps just rooting for a Jazz victory, you will be roaring them on to score a landslide win.

On your NBA sportsbook platform, you might see something like Utah at -110 on the -20 spread,  meaning if you bet $110, you win $100 if the Jazz win by more than 20 points.

You can cover the spread instead by backing the Clippers, who might show -110 on a +20 spread. This means you will win in any circumstance unless the Jazz win by more than 20. Simple!

Note that in other sports, the point spread is lower. In soccer, for example, a team will never score 20 goals, so the spread is often something like -1.5, meaning you bet a team must win by two goals or more.

Over/under NBA odds

Over/under odds, otherwise known as NBA totals betting, is a third way to bet on basketball games. In this type of bet, you simply predict whether the total points scored by both teams will be over or under the line set by the sportsbook.

Generally, the odds set will be -110, and the total points will move. Let’s say it’s set at 210 – if you bet -110 that the total is over, and the match finishes 112-100, you win because the total points scored was 222. However, you lose for all results coming in under a total of 210. Of course, you could bet that the scores will be lower than the 210 total!

Like when you bet the NBA spread, the over/under market can change fast if an injury or a trade could beef up a team’s offense or weaken its defense. So, keep an eye on the latest NBA news before placing your bet.

Keep informed and bet today

You could leave your NBA betting to chance, but it’s always best to be up to speed with the latest news before placing your bets. See our recommended NBA sportsbooks on this page so that you can claim a generous welcome package before placing your first wager today.