NBA Betting Sites
Sports betting is now legal in several states in the U.S. so basketball fans have already joined in. NBA and college basketball betting lines are available through the many online sportsbook applications.
It is now legal, and convenient to place bets on sports with the assurance of secure banking services. This means you can relax and wager safely on NBA games whenever you’re in a state where gambling is legal!
Mobile sportsbook apps can make just about every transaction faster while providing convenient access to a massive amount of information. The betting sites available today provide the security of your banking and other personal information along with absolute convenience.
Types of NBA Basketball Bets
Bets fall into two broad categories: single event and multiple event bets.
Single event bets are what people commonly think of when they think of a bet. These are based on the final outcome of a single game. The winning payout is determined by the odds on this single event.
Multiple bets are more complicated. You can place multiple bets on more than one event, and these can even be events within events. You might bet on an overall winner in a game, and also bet on the number of fouls in the first quarter.
Most sportsbooks allow up to ten multiple bets to be placed at once. The more events you bet on in a multiple event bet, the lower your chances are of winning. But these low odds can also mean huge payouts.
Generally, you have to be accurate about each of your bets in order to receive a payout for a multiple event bet. Getting 9 out of 10 predictions correct might be impressive to your friends, but it won’t put any money in your pocket.
Point Spread Betting
The point spread is the most common type of bet. The easiest way to think about a point spread is as a certain advantage that is given to the underdog to make the game even.
What does the spread (or handicap) do?
Let’s say the Miami Dolphins are playing the Miami Heat in basketball. This is not exactly an exciting bet at first glance (although the game might be pretty fun to watch!). The Dolphins would be expected to lose, but by how much? You might say by 80 points, so those points would be in essence taken away from the Heat. So the Heat would have to win by more than 80 points for the win to be considered a win.
No one would bet that the Dolphins would beat the Heat in basketball, but they might bet that the Heat would only beat them by 80 points. If you bet on the Heat and they only beat the Dolphins by 78 points, you lose your bet.
Another way to put this is that the point spread handicaps the favorite to assist the underdog.
With a spread bet, the sportsbook isn’t necessarily trying to pick a winner; they are trying to make an even playing field. The point spread makes interesting bets for any game.
Point Spread and Odds
A point spread then translates to odds. If a team is expected to win by 4.5 points, then you’ll see them with a spread (or handicap) of -4.5. This gives you odds of -110. That means that you’d need to bet $110 dollars to win $100. (You don’t have to be $110 with these odds. You could bet $55 and win $50.)
Here is a typical NBA point spread example:
This point spread shows payout odds at “sportsbook even” payout of -110. This means a bet of $110, returns a profit of $100, plus the original bet amount of $110, for a total of $210.
How does a sportsbook make money from a point spread?
The sportsbook makes money from commission, or vigorish (often just called “vig”), off the bets. In the example above, an amount of $220 would be a true even money payout. If you bet $110 in an even-money bet, you’d get back your bet, plus an even $110. However, in a spread bet you’d only get a total of $210 back. So where’d the $10 go?
The $10 goes as a fee to the sportsbook. This is the “vig”, or the sportsbook's commission.
You might think of the vig as a form of house edge. It should guarantee some income for the house. It pays the rent, to speak, so we can all come together and have a fair bet.
What is a “push”?
A push is a tie in respect of the point spread. So imagine the scenario above, but with the Heat being -4 and the Celtics +4. If the final score shows the Heat winning 64 to the Celtic’s 60 this is a push in the eyes of the sportsbook.
True, the Heat won and the Celtics lost, but bets on both sides were met, so this results in a push.
Sportsbooks don’t particularly like ties, because refunding everyone’s money takes time and effort, which ends up costing the sportsbook.
To avoid ties, point spreads are usually given half-point fractions, which is why you’ll see that “.5” at the end of the number.
A sportsbook may also advertise "ties win" (good for all bettors) or "ties lose" (good for the sportsbook).
Sportsbook’s Favorite versus Statistical Favorite
So a sportsbook makes money from two sides: both from that $10 off your winning $110 bet and from the corresponding losing bet. Sportsbooks are interested in taking it in from both sides, but they’re not so much interested in which is actually the best team.
That’s where your sports knowledge comes in.
Popular opinion may say that the Dolphins will beat the Heat in a basketball game. After all, the Dolphins’ players are bigger, and how difficult could it really be to learn basketball? If enough people believe that and put their money on the Dolphins, you can bet on the Heat and be sure that it’s a smart bet (even if it’s unpopular).
You’ll often see die-hard fans betting for their team even though all experts are recommending the contrary.
So the sportsbook’s “favorite” is only the most popular bet. Not necessarily the smartest.
The Money Line
A moneyline bet is the simplest kind of bet. You are betting on a win or loss. If your team wins by 1 point or 101 points, you receive your winnings.
Parlays are the most common kind of multi-bet wager. Most sportsbooks will allow you to string together 2-10 parlays, and most allow different sports and forms to be combined (or “parlayed”).
Teaser bets are additional points given to a particular bet to make that bet more enticing. There is usually a trade-off for these points in the form of a lower payout.
In our example of the Dolphins’ emergency basketball team playing against the Heat, we had put the Heat at a 60-point favor. But if enough bettors still weren’t betting on the Dolphins, a sportsbook might introduce a 10 point teaser. So if the Dolphins lost by 70 points, you could still collect a payout (though it would be less than the non-teaser bet).
You can also bet on the total number of points scored in a game, which is called a total bet. Total bets are also referred to as Over/Under bets, and they are common in all sports. Point totals are especially popular with basketball betting.
While you can always place a total bet, teams with particularly strong or weak defenses call out for total bets.
Multiple Bet Wagers
Many sports bettors have interests in many games, and they also enjoy placing different types of bets. While you can always place these bets individually, you can also place multiple bet wagers and combine these into one string of bets.
Multiple bet wagers decrease the odds of overall accuracy. That is, it is more difficult to win many bets than it is just one. But you can have a much larger payout if all your bets win. Decreased odds = bigger payout.
Do multi-bet wagers need to be the same kind of bet?
No, you can place a multi-bet wager on a moneyline and point spread bet, as well as a combination of the more specific bets we’ll see below.
Multiple Bet Odds vs Payouts
Let’s imagine that the Miami Heat has an arch-nemesis, the Imaim Cold. The Heat and the Cold are exactly evenly paired, so it’s a coin toss regarding which of them will win any match. The probability of either team winning is 50%.
You bet for the Heat in game 1 and the Cold in game 2. Statistically, you have a 50% chance of winning either bet. Obviously you could be right (100%) or wrong (0%) on both. The sportsbook will calculate that you have a 25% chance of being right in this multiple bet. To come to this number, they multiply both percentages from the two games: 50% x 50% = 25%.
This means odds are stacked 4 to 1 against you. Unfortunately, the payout is not 4 to 1. The payout is only 2.5 to 1. However, the more events in your multiple bet, the bigger the payout.
Why bet a parlay?
The reason to bet a parlay bet boils down to this: you get more money when you win. If you want to win $100, you’d have to bet $110 on a game with -110 odds. In the parlay example above, you could win $100 by just betting $40.
The flip side of this coin is that you only have a 1 in 4 chance of being right in this scenario, and you have to be 100% right to get your winnings.
If you are convinced of your bets, this -110 parlay will win you $100 instead of $36.40 on a $40 bet.
Basic NBA Betting Tips
Successful betting in the NBA involves two factors: monitoring/analysis and personal management. Successful bettors keep track of their teams and their own betting, and they make objective judgments of both.
Monitoring a Team’s Performance Against The Spread (ATS)
Not surprisingly, a team’s placement against the spread (abbreviated as ATS) changes over a season. Teams start strong, and can then lose momentum due to injury or in-fighting, and we’ve seen plenty of teams pull themselves together to come out champions despite a bad start. Sportsbooks adjust the spread against bets as they seek to even the playing field.
When you monitor ATS performance, your objectivity becomes important. A spread can be overly influenced by fans throwing money down after defeating a major rival or even events like a local holiday. But your focus should be on your team, not on what others think about the team.
Be aware that there is a tendency for bettors to over-value an underdog. It’s not clear why. Perhaps because of the hope of a big win, or the desire to see a sports movie come to life. In any case, don’t let either of these desires steer you away from making the smartest bet.
Key Stats Analysis
Your betting should be guided by information. To get this information - or data - you need to do research. This data is related to events that happen within the game, including rebounds, foul shooting, and turnovers. But aspects that are not as easily quantified, such as home-court advantage, are also a part of this information you need to analyze in your betting.
Other examples include:
- Field Goal Percentage: any goal that’s not a free throw is considered a field goal
- Free Throw Percentage
- Opponent Defense vs. Position: you’ll find these marked by point guard (PG), shooting guard (SG) (also known as the two or off guard), small forward (SF) (also known as the three), center (C), and power forward (PF).
Manage Your Bankroll
Outside of your actual bets, the most important aspect of your betting is controlling your bet amount. Of course this all starts with calculating the amount of money you can afford to play within your personal budget.
The golden rule of money management is: Don’t bet more than you can afford to lose. Stupid bets - that is, bad, unlikely bets - are made when folks get desperate. Budget your betting like you do your rent. This is the key to a long-game betting strategy.
Pick Winners and Make Gradual Gains
The second most important aspect is this: pick winners. There are 1230 games just in the regular season, and this lasts for 6 months. While there is some understandable excitement at the beginning of the season, be sure to pace yourself for bets you are confident about. (And be sure you’re confident because you’ve done your research, not just because you like the team.)
A long-term winning strategy means that you gain money over a longer period of time by making small-to-medium size wins. While the odds of betting with the underdog can spell big wins, very often underdogs are underdogs for a reason: they’re expected to lose.
If you can’t resist the underdog bet, then put a certain amount of your bankroll aside and label it “Underdog.” If you win, great! If not, it will be a smaller loss.
There’s the saying, “No one ever bets too much on a winning horse.” But the flip side is also true: Everyone bets too much on a loser.
NBA Live Betting
Once a game has started you can still bet on a game. This is called live betting, in-game betting, or in-play betting. Live betting has brought a relatively new addition to online sports gaming.
Live or in-game betting allows you to change your current bets on a game and take advantage of new opportunities and changes.
Live bets allow you to adjust your wagers and in effect cancel bets during live betting.
You can also place bets new within a game.
Betting with the NBA Schedule
The NBA has 1230 games per season, and a season stretches over 6 months. That means half a year of action, so it’s no mystery why the NBA is so dominant in the minds of sports fans. Every team plays 82 games within these 6 months (41 at home and 41 away).
How the NBA Schedule Affects Players
This schedule is grueling, even for professional athletes. Very often teams only have 1-2 days off between games. Winning a difficult game can come at the expense of wearing out top athletes. An injury of a key player can throw off the stats for an expected win (which can throw off a bet placed early).
Teams may also reserve their top players for more difficult games. This can result in them not beating worse teams as badly as would be expected (so watch your spread here), or they might even lose by not playing their stars.
Home Court Advantage
One of the most illogical aspects of NBA scheduling and betting is the home court advantage. NBA athletes are professionals who are trained to focus on the game, not the fans, so why would fans influence a game?
The simple fact is that fans do influence the outcome of the game. Playing at home gives 2-5 points to a spread advantage.