NBA betting, how to take your first steps

The popularity of the NBA has been growing ever stronger in recent years and that increased buzz owes a lot to the 2018 Supreme Court ruling that relaxed gambling laws. Since then, sports betting and NBA betting in particular, has seen a huge growth in popularity.

Americans bet $57.2 billion on sports through legal sportsbooks in 2021, with commercial sports betting generating revenue of US$4.33 billion in 2021, a 179.7 per cent year-over-year increase, according to the American Gaming Association. There’s a huge variety of NBA bets available, but if you’re new to it all, it can seem confusing at first, so here’s our guide to NBA betting.

Sign Up

First off you need to set yourself up with a reputable and regulated online sportsbook that covers the all the basketball, including the latest NBA spreads. Follow the simple signing up process to create your account, choose a payment method, make a deposit, and you’re good to go.

Understanding NBA Odds

It’s important to learn exactly what you’re risking before you part with your money, because if you don’t understand the odds then you will not become a successful NBA bettor.

The value of the odds can be positive (+) or negative (-) and their value cannot be less than 100. With this odds format, the positive sign will indicate the amount of money you win with a successful wager of $100. The negative sign indicates the amount of money you need to wager in order to have the chance to win $100.

For Example

Orlando Magic +225

Indiana Pacers            -200

In the above example, a $100 bet on the Magic to win, would return $325, that’s your original stake plus $200 in winnings.

Whereas a $100 bet on the Pacers to win, would return $150 including your stake, which means you win $50 in total.

Most Common Basketball Bets

Basketball has a wide range of betting types available, but if you’re new to it all, it’s best to focus on the most common bets around. They are simple to understand, lower risk, and a great way to have some fun while learning the ropes.


The money line is one of the most common NBA betting options out there. All you have to do is pick which team is going to win the game. It’s as simple as that. If your team wins then you win. If they lose, then you lose your stake. Easy to understand and simple to do, moneylines are a great first bet to try out.


This is a very popular bet in the NBA and is also known as a total points bet. It involves betting on the total points scored in the game by both teams combined and not the result. You must decide if the points scored will be ‘over’ or ‘under’ the total predicted by the oddsmakers. If you guess correctly, you win your bet. Because Over/Under betting is not about who wins the game, it is a great way to add some extra excitement to your wagering experience.

Spread betting or Handicaps

Spread betting is used by oddsmakers use to create a level playing field between teams that are mismatched. It’s a great way to create extra interest in a game, especially when one team is a big favorite to win. With a spread bet, the favorite team must overcome the handicap or points spread, in order to win the bet.

For Example

Boston Celtics -6         -110 odds

Chicago Bulls  +6        -110 odds

If you bet on the Celtics, they must win the game by more than 6 points for it to pay out.

If you bet on the Bulls to win, they must win the game outright, or lose by LESS than 6 points, for you to claim your reward.


NBA futures are bets made, sometimes weeks in advance, on the outcomes of games or season. They’re different from other types of bets because they take so long to settle and therefore, can potentially provide interest for a long period of time.

Examples for NBA future bets are:

  • NBA championship Winner
  • NBA’s Rookie of the Year award
  • MVP award

Futures bets are simple to make and understand and can be made at any time before the event takes place.


A parlay is another popular bet and involves betting on two or more wagers at the same time. Also known as ‘accumulators’, each bet must be correct for the wager to payout. So, if just one leg of the parlay loses, the whole bet loses. This makes parlays harder to win and therefore riskier, however the rewards are potentially greater should the bet win.


Basketball games come thick and fast and nobody’s bankroll is going to last if they bet on every single game. So, set yourself a budget that you can afford to lose and that will be your bankroll for the season. But make sure you stick to it.


No matter what bet you decide to make, it’s important to do your NBA research before you jump in. Check out all the latest NBA news via websites, radio, tv and more, and stay up to date. The better you understand basketball and the different types of bets available, the more fun you’re going to have betting on the NBA.

Diljeet Malik

I am a dedicated casino writer with a passion for all things related to the world of gambling and entertainment. With a deep understanding of the casino industry and a love for sharing insights and strategies, I strive to inform and entertain readers with my casino-related content.

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