How to Bet on the NBA: Expert Tips and Betting Strategies
It's a great era to be a fan of the NBA and an even better time to be an NBA bettor. With the legalization of single-game betting and an NBA product that has fans wanting more and more, the NBA is one of the most popular leagues in the world. I am here to help you understand how it could prove profitable to you.
Betting on the NBA Moneyline
As a concept, this is the simplest wager you can make on any game in any sport. The moneyline betting option allows you to place a bet on the team you think is simply going to win the game. In the NBA, this bet includes overtime as there are no tie possibilities.Bottom of Form
Toronto Raptors: +200 ML
Boston Celtics: -220 ML
The moneyline betting odds correlate to the listed point spread. In this example, the Celtics are the favorites and you must wager $220 dollars to turn a profit of $100. If you are a homer or love betting on the underdog, the Raptors will return you $200 for every $100 you wager on them if they pull off the upset.
Betting on the Point Spread
Regardless of if I am talking about the NFL, NCAA or NBA, the point spread is the most popular wagering option for bettors who love to test their basketball betting skills. The point spread is an indication of which team is the favorite and underdog heading into their matchup.
A negative betting line such as -3.5 indicates that the team is expected to not only win the game outright but win by four or more points. On the flip side, positive betting lines such as +3.5 indicate a team's underdog status. Not only is the underdog expected to lose, but they are expected to lose by at least four points.
When looking over betting options for the NBA, you will come across lines that look like the following:
Toronto Raptors +3.5 (-110)
Boston Celtics -3.5 (-110)
Depending on which side you select, your team must "cover the spread" in order for your wager to be graded a winner.
If you choose to take Toronto +3.5, you will be a winner if either one of these two scenarios play out. The first being Toronto wins the game outright by any score. The second being Toronto loses by three or fewer points, thus "covering" the +3.5-spread.
If you decided to wager on the Celtics as -3.5-point favorites, they must win by four or more points in order for wager to be graded as a winner.
One thing to keep in mind when betting on the point spread is that the point spread moves up or down depending on how much action a certain side is receiving. If you are able to lock in your bet at -4.5 and the line goes down to -2.5, your ticket would only be a winner if your team won by five or more points. If they won by three, they would have beat the closing spread of -2.5, but your odds are locked in from the time your ticket is printed or you click "place bet".
Betting Game Totals
It should come as no surprise to you that basketball totals range anywhere from the low 190s all the way up to 230 on some occasions. Pace of play and field goal percentage are typically what I look at when contemplating making a play on the total.
Let's look at an example of a game total:
Toronto Raptors/Boston Celtics - "Over" 199.5 -110, "Under" 199.5 -110
If you are to bet the "over" 199.5, there must be a total of 200 points or more scored in the game in order for you to be a winner. If there are 199 or fewer points scored, then those who bet on the "under" will cash their tickets.
If totals are whole numbers such as 196 or 198 and the total happens to land exactly on the number, your bet, regardless whether it's an "over" or "under" bet, will be graded as a "push" and your money will be returned to you.
These are the three most popular NBA betting options that novice bettors generally start out with.
NBA Betting Strategy
Home-court advantage is one of the biggest factors to look at if you are a new NBA bettor. The NBA's home-court advantage is much more important than home-ice in hockey, or home-field advantage in baseball, and because of that should always be factored into any handicapping decision. Home underdogs are typically a good bet in the NBA over the course of a long season, and I've found them to be extremely profitable when playing a team that is at the end of a long road trip or is playing their third game in four nights or are in a prime letdown spot.
Another factor to consider would be momentum. The truly great teams in the NBA win between 55-60 games per season, so when they get hot riding them to the bank could prove profitable for the bankroll. Teams like Golden State or Houston can reel off a handful of wins in a row, and it wouldn't be any different from the bad teams who go on losing streaks and rack up loss after loss.
NBA Betting Tips: What to Look For Before Placing Your Bet
Injuries: This one should be obvious. Any team that has been riddled with injuries to their starting lineup will have to rely on their depth to play extended minutes. Obviously, those guys aren't as good as their opponents' starting five, so it'll be a mismatch. On the flip side, if a team's depth has taken a hit with injuries, teams could fade down the stretch as they have no players to rotate in. Be aware of who is healthy and who is ailing.
Public Teams: Make no mistake about it, the NBA has teams that people love to bet on and love to bet against. For example, most people will blindly lay the points with the Golden State Warriors because they love betting on them and they love watching them play. Because of this, the lines will be inflated and there is value to be had (in the right spot) on their opponents.
Chemistry: Look no further than the Butler Saga with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He completely ruined the chemistry of the team by taking shots at his teammates. Because of that, the Timberwolves got off to a slow start to the season. If you believe a team is having issues with chemistry, avoiding them or betting against them could prove profitable. Again, as the season goes on, teams' bond more and the chemistry will show up. Find your spots.
Information is Key: The internet can be your friend and your enemy. Often you will come across false stories or stories that have been exaggerated about a player or team, and it will lead you to believe something that's not true and refrain from betting on said team. Other times, if you find the right source, like a beat writer, you can have your foot on the pulse of a team, as they do, and it can make all the difference in the world in understanding how a team is faring, both on and off the court. This is important as knowing what mentality the team you are wagering on will help you with determining if you should wager on them or not.
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