NBA betting comprises the largest market of action in sports gambling outside of football. To win at NBA betting, you have to be familiar with the league and its players and study the game on a regular basis. Here are some tips on how to get started with NBA betting.


The wager types for NBA betting are similar to what you would find in the other major sports. There are straight bets (on a single outcome), parlays (multiple outcomes) and proposition bets. These are briefly outlined below using an example:

Betting example for the NBA

In this example, the Trail Blazers must win by a difference greater than four points in order to cover. The Hawks can lose by up to four points, or win the game outright, in order to cover.

Point Spread – The point spread is a handicap assigned to each game to account for the differences in skill of the team’s involved. The standard juice for betting on the point spread is -110, meaning you would have to wager $110 to order win $100.

Moneyline – The moneyline is a bet on the actual winner of the game. The odds for moneyline plays are adjusted to account for the lack of a handicap (i.e. point spread) since some teams are much better than others.

Total – The total refers to the amount of combined scores submitted by both teams. You can either bet that the game will go over this number or under it. The total in this example is 202 points.

Parlays – You can parlay straight bets together for bigger payouts while taking on added risk. Multi-game parlays, teasers and other exotic options are all available in most sportsbooks. To win a parlay, all of the outcomes that you bet on must come through to win the bet.

Propositions and Futures – Also known as prop bets, these are wagers on very specific outcomes. An example would be betting on the NBA Champion or league MVP earlier in the season. The market for these bets tends to change on a daily, weekly or monthly basis to reflect current trends in the sport.


Use these tips to get started with your NBA betting and remember to take things slow. It is a long season, and there is plenty of time to make money down the road as you get acclimated to the sport and its players.

• Focus on a handful of your favorite teams to start. Since the NBA has so many daily games, it’s hard to keep track of all the action. It’s much simpler to start by staying dialed in on 2-3 teams and how they perform against the point spread and total. As you become more familiar with the league as a whole, you can expand your repertoire.

• Keep an eye out for covering streaks by hot teams. These can and will emerge out of nowhere sometimes, and it doesn’t necessarily mean that teams are winning outright. Hammer these streaks with a comfortable wager until they burn out.

• Remember that NBA betting is a marathon and not a sprint. The 82-game season gives you plenty of investment opportunities so avoid the temptation for an “all or nothing” attitude as you might with NFL betting. There are peaks and valleys, but as long as you are trending up over the long haul then you’re doing great. Betting on the NBA tends to reward grinders far more often as opposed to those who swing recklessly.

• There are a variety of angles to play in NBA betting, and while a firm grasp on statistical analysis can give you an advantage, nothing equips you better for betting on the NBA than watching as many games as you can. Fortunately, there are apps for that so you can watch the NBA on the go.