How to Bet on NBA?

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is one of the most popular sports leagues in the entire world. Predominantly a league in the United States, the league also features a singular Canadian team. However, games are televised across the world. Superstar players like LeBron James, Steph Curry, and Luka Doncic are known everywhere.

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Due to the immense popularity of the sport and league, gambling in NBA games has grown in popularity. Combined with PASPA in the United States, there’s increased availability to wager on NBA games in different US states. Each game features a wide variety of betting options, from traditional spreads and money line offerings to individual player props. This page will give you a quick rundown of what to expect when betting on NBA games.

NBA Point Spread Bets in 2024:

The point spread is one of the more popular bets when it comes to the NBA. The market is typically about oddsmakers setting it so that each team has a 50% chance of winning. They do this by taking what they consider the correct number of points from the more favored team.

For example, if the Denver Nuggets played the Los Angeles Lakers, they’d be heavy favorites. You might find their point spread bets as such:

  • Nuggets: -10.5 (-110)
  • Lakers: +10.5 (-110)

This means the sportsbook considers the Nuggets 10.5 points better than the Lakers. Backing the Nuggets means they have to win by 11 or more points for you to win. On the flip side, the Lakers have to either win or lose by fewer than 10 points. In either case, the odds of -110 mean that a $110 bet will result in a $100 profit if you win.


NBA Totals:

When wagering on NBA totals, you’re effectively predicting the total number of points scored in the game (by the combined teams).

Using the example from above, you’re likely to see this bet offered as such:

  • Over 210.5 (-110)
  • Under 210.5 (-110)

The combined number of points in this scenario is expected to be 210. So you can bet over that number (211+) or under (209 or fewer). Similarly, a $110 wager would result in a $100 profit should you win.

NBA Moneyline:

Arguably the most popular bet when it comes to the NBA, money line bets is also remarkably straightforward. It’s a wager on which team you expect to win. Unlike point spread and totals, the odds here can vary greatly.

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If the Lakers and Nuggets were to face off, you could see something like this:

  • Nuggets: -350 (favorite)
  • Lakers: +330 (underdog)

Wagering on the Nuggets would mean betting $350 with a potential profit of $100 (if the Nuggets won). Wagering on the Lakers would mean betting $100 with a potential profit of $330 (if the Lakers won).

While I use $100 as the base bet for these examples, you can really bet any amount within reason. Don’t overspend on your bets, and remember to be careful with your bankroll. Betting should be a safe experience – don’t overdo it if you’re losing in an attempt to win your money back.

Beyond traditional markets listed above, you can also bet on…

NBA Futures:

Futures are bets such as the potential winner of the NBA finals. You can bet on this before the season begins (at longer odds), throughout the season, and during the playoffs.

You can similarly place wagers on the winners of the divisions throughout the season or the winners of the Conference Finals.

NBA Player Props:

Player props are a more individually tailored betting option. You can bet on the O/U for player points, rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, or a combination of those offerings. Other offerings include turnover markets, total three-pointers made, free throws made, or fantasy points accrued.

NBA point spread betting involves wagering on the margin of victory in a game, with odds set to balance the chances for each team.

Betting on NBA totals involves predicting the combined score of both teams, deciding whether it will be over or under a specified number.

Yes, NBA moneyline betting allows you to bet on which team will win the game outright, regardless of the point spread.

NBA futures bets are wagers on events that will happen in the future, such as the winner of the NBA finals or divisional champions.

NBA futures bets can be placed before the season begins, throughout the season, and during the playoffs.

NBA player props allow you to bet on specific statistical outcomes for individual players, such as points scored, rebounds, or assists.

In NBA betting, -110 odds mean that a $110 bet would result in a $100 profit if successful.

NBA spreads involve betting on the margin of victory, while moneylines focus on picking the outright winner of the game.

You can place various types of bets on NBA games, including point spreads, totals, moneylines, futures, and player props.


Catie Di Stefano has worked in the gambling industry since 2011 for major brands like Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Gaming Innovation Group and Betsson Group. She started in customer support at age 19 and has since worked her way through VIP, CRM and Marketing. Today, Catie is passionate about educating players on consumer rights and the best approaches for legal play in the United States as the Director of Community Marketing at Catie was born in Indonesia but grew up in Sweden. Currently, she resides in Spain with her two daughters.