When it comes to watching sport, it’s hard to match the fast paced, exhilarating action of the NBA. The season starts in October and you’ll get to see the highest paid athletes in sport plying their trade on the court, all aiming to win the NBA finals the following June. This is fascinating in itself; however the games have an added level of interest when you invest your hard earned dollars to bet on the outcome. The gambling industry in and around the NBA runs into billions of dollars and there are a large number of ways you can bet on any game.
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Betting on the NBA
The number of wagers available on individual games seems to grow year on year, but there are three particular bets that are certainly more popular than others.
The first is the point spread. The aim of this bet is to even the odds of a contest by adding points to the underdog, or taking points off the favored team. This why you might see a market where the Lakers, for example, are listed with a spread of -3.5, while their opponents are listed with a spread of +3.5. Each of the two teams will usually have odds of -110, meaning you’ll have to bet $110 to win $100. The aim of the sportsbook is to set a line which means that both teams have a 50/50 chance of beating the spread. You’ll win when backing the favorite and they win by more than the point spread, or by backing the underdog and they either win or lose by less than the point spread.
Secondly you have the money line. This is a straight up bet on which team will win the game, with no point spread to worry about. This will see varied odds, the more favored a team the shorter the odds you’ll be offered and consequently be offered longer odds on their opponents. As such, this is linked to the point spread, as the higher the point spread the lower odds you’ll receive on the favored team.
Finally, you have the totals. This is a bet based upon how many total points will be scored in the game by both teams. Once again, the sportsbooks will set a number where they think the totals line should be and you’ll pick whether the total will be over or under. For example, they might set the line at 201.5 and you’ll simply bet on whether there will be more or less than 201.5 points. Like the point spread, you’ll usually be offered odds of -110 about each side.
Alternate Bets on the NBA
With a number of games taking place on any night in the NBA, many bettors like to place a bet across more than just the one game. This is where Parlays come into play. A Parlay is a bet where you can pick a number of selections and each has to win for you to see a return. The beauty of these bets is the fact that the payouts can be much larger – although they can be particularly tough to take when just one of the selections lets you down. You’ll find tables at sportsbooks displaying the odds you’ll receive based upon the number of selections.
A particular type of Parlay is a teaser, where you’ll be able to move the point spread or the totals 5 points in your favor. For example, the Cavaliers might be favored by 8.5 points on the spread, but with the teaser you can move this to just 3.5 points, making a winning selection easier. With teasers you’ll receive lower odds than at a traditional Parlay.
The final betting options you’ll find at the NBA are prop bets and futures. Prop bets really come into their own during the biggest events of the season, such as the All-Star game, the playoffs and the NBA finals. These props might be based around which player will be the finals MVP, how one player performs in comparison to another or which team will score the first basket – you’ll find a wide range of interesting bets. The main futures market on the NBA revolves around the eventual winner of the NBA finals and the odds will be listed both before the season starts and throughout the season. Other futures markets might be based around individual divisional winners and the winners of the Eastern and Western conference.
Betting on the NBA with an Edge
Unfortunately there are no shortcuts to making money on the NBA (despite what some people might claim online) as to become a winning bettor takes work, but it is more than achievable. To assess a game you’ll have to take into consideration a large number of factors, encompassing many aspects of the game. These will include team form, player injuries, players being rested, home advantage, team defense, the match officials and any other factors you might deem important. You can also look at team records against the spread, either overall, or in specific situations, such as at home, on the road or within a division for example.
For help in evaluating a game, you can make use of http://www.basketball-reference.com/ – this site offering as many stats as you will need.
Having assessed a game you’ll be in a great position to spot where the value is when the sportsbooks publish their lines. However this shouldn’t be the end of the story as you’ll want to gain as much value as possible, so ensure you shop around for those best odds and lines. You can also make use of those incentives offered by the sites, especially the sizable offers you gain when first signing up to a sportsbook.
One of the best things about basketball betting is the fact that if you can find an edge, there are a great many leagues around the world in addition to the NBA, so you’ll be able to push that edge all year round!
Best Sportsbooks for the NBA
The best sportsbook for NBA betting depends very much on what you want from your betting. If you’re looking for a large range of different wagers on each game, including alternate spreads and half and quarter betting, 5Dimes and Betway should be considered. For early lines, solid competitive pricing and a bonus every time you deposit, BetOnline ticks all of these boxes. For the prop bet fan, Bovada come up trumps every time a big game comes around, with a wide range of both fun and serious sporting prop bets.