The NBA has a commissioner who has made a lot of good decisions since taking over from the previous one. Is basketball becoming more popular for you as a result of how Adam Silver is leading the NBA? Consider these tips on how to bet on professional basketball.

Betting Moneylines

Moneyline betting is when you wager on the winner and the loser of a game, not the margin of victory. There are no hidden twists or complications to this form of betting. The NBA odds are established by the sportsbook and the team that wins the game will cash in on the moneyline odds. Let’s consider this hypothetical:

In the regular season, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Miami Heat are playing. You might see the Cavaliers at -175 and the Heat at +160. What that means is you have to wager $175 on Cleveland to win $100 on the Cavs, while you would win $160 on a $100 bet on Miami, since the Heat are the underdogs in this situation. The favorite is indicated by the ‘+’ sign and the underdog is signified by the ‘-’ sign.


We then shift to the process of betting on totals in the NBA. When you bet on totals, you are basically betting on the total number of points that will be scored by both teams. Your sportsbook will set the over/under number, and you bet on whether you think the two teams will create a number of points that will fall above or below that total.

For example, let’s use Cleveland and Miami again. You could see a total in your sportsbook of 195.5. All you have to do is bet on if you think the final amount of points in this Cavaliers-Heat game will end up being over or under the NBA odds. Therefore, if the final score is 100-96 or 102-99, or even 113-84, it’s an over, because each of those combined totals end up being over 195.5. They’re all at least 196 points. If the final score is 99-94 or 95-93, it’s an under, because neither one of those totals is reaching 196, which is what a 195.5 total requires for an “over” bet to win.

You just have to be attentive to what teams are likely to do in various NBA situations. Are they playing the second end of a back-to-back? Is a star scorer injured? Is a rim-protecting defender injured? Be on the lookout.


In futures betting, you’re looking beyond tonight’s or tomorrow’s game. You’re considering long-term competitions and uncertainties such as who will win the MVP award, LeBron James or Kevin Durant. You’re betting on who will win the conference title for the season. The Cleveland Cavaliers are becoming the Eastern Conference favorite for the 2014-2015 season, for example. These NBA odds are generally listed fractionally: 8/1, 15/1 or 20/1. That means you’ll win 8, 15 or 20 times to one as a dollar amount if your pick is accurate.

Futures can be found in your sportsbook throughout the season and the offseason. Staying informed is the key to successful betting on (and in) the NBA.