How to bet on NBA games

NBA Betting

The NBA is the world’s most popular professional basketball league. The world's best athletes play in the NBA and provide ultra-exciting opportunities to bet and win on a game. NBA betting is easy and fun when you understand the nuances behind placing a bet.For quality online sports betting, you’ll have to note how the NBA odds and lines work for each game. You’ll also have to look at factors surrounding how well teams are playing when making your picks on odds in the NBA. Besides who will win, you’ve got plenty of other options when placing your bets on games. It also helps to be aware of where you can bet in the United States, as the betting rules will vary state by state.The Three Main NBA Betting OptionsYou have three main options when looking to capitalize on odds for NBA games and win some cash with savvy betting:

NBA Point Spread

The NBA point spread bet is the most common way to take advantage of the odds in NBA games. The spread is a bookmaker’s predicted margin of victory for a given game. The bettor either chooses that the favorite will "cover the spread" or that the underdog will stay within the given amount of points.

Let's look at an example of a spread bet using odds on NBA-favorite Milwaukee. The Bucks are playing the Sixers. The betting point spread looks like this:

Bucks -6-110
Sixers +6-110

Notice the favored team (Milwaukee) has "minus points" while the underdog (Philly) has "plus points." This means the Bucks must win the game by more than 6 points for their bet to win. Conversely, the Sixers must keep the game within 6 points for their bet to win.Included next to the point spread is the -110 betting odds. NBA point spreads typically begin at (-110) odds and then move based on each bet the book receives throughout the day.

NBA Basketball Totals

The total bet is also called an over/under wager in online sportsbooks. Rather than betting on one team to win, totals have you predict whether the game’s combined score will be over or under a given amount of points.The over/under in an NBA game might be 185.5. You could place an over bet if you believe that the two teams will combine for 186 or more points. An under bet is the right call if you think those teams won’t score that many points. Most over/under bets are displayed with a decimal to avoid a tie, also called a push.

Moneylines in NBA Basketball Betting

The moneyline bet is straightforward—which team will win the game. This wager disregards margins of victory. The only thing that matters is which team will win.


In this example, the favored Bucks have "minus odds" while the underdog Sixers have "plus odds." These numbers refer to the amount a player can win with a standard $100 sports bet.The plus odds are the amount the bettor will win on a $100 bet. In this case, you would place $100 on the Sixers and profit $200 if they win. The minus odds are the amount the bettor must wager to win $100. In this case, you would place a $250 bet on the Bucks and profit $100 if they pull it off.

Futures Bets for NBA Sports Events

NBA futures bets are also available for various NBA sports events. They allow you to bet on something that will happen in future games—usually the champion of a division or league. These bets have longer odds, meaning huge payouts.

You can place futures sports bets on:

  • League, conference, or division champion
  • Who will win the NBA MVP race to the trophy
  • Whether a team will make or miss the NBA playoffs
  • Which team will pick first in the NBA draft
  • Who will be picked first in the NBA draft