The National Basketball Association isn't football when it comes to betting, but it has enough star power that it is rapidly rising in the online sportsbooks. From the day-to-day games, to the All-Star weekend to the playoffs, the NBA is arguably the second most popular North American sport. If you're just getting into the betting side of things, here is a look at four ways to bet on the NBA.
Money line betting is the best way for players to get used to wagering, and here, you're only betting on who you want to win the game, no more, no less. Let's take the example of Golden State and Cleveland, with the Warriors being favored at -175 at home. This means that you would bet $175 to win $100 on the Warriors as you have to pay more to win on the favorite. Then you have the underdog from Cleveland, and you might see +140 for the Cavaliers. This means you have to bet $100 to win $140 on them. The favorite will always be shown with a negative sign and the underdog, a positive sign, so keep an eye on which is which as you're lining up to make your bet on the NBA.
The signs mean the same thing you're dealing with spread betting, which is when you're wagering on a team winning by a certain amount of points. Using the teams in the above example, let's say that Golden State is favored at -5.5. This means they would have to win the game by more than 5.5 points in order to cover their end of the wager; you'll see a half-point attached to the odds a lot of times. This is because the sportsbooks want to avoid a push, which is when there is a tie (for example, the line is -5 and it lands on that number). Your money would be returned in that case. The Cavaliers would then be +5.5, which means they would cover if they lost by less than 5.5 points, or if they were to win outright.
Then you have Over Under betting, which is when you're wagering on the total amount of points that will be scored in the game. For the Warriors and Cavaliers, it might turn out that the total is set for 201.5 points (again, adding a half-point to avoid the push) and you are betting on whether the actual total will come in under the total, or over it. This is why you'll also hear this called the over/under bet and if you do your research in regards to who is playing, you can make some good money on totals betting.
Teaser bet is another way for you to bet on basketball as they allow you to shift the point spread in your favor. That can be done for either sides or totals. In this case, you’re getting the option shift the lines by a set amount of points but you have to play a parlay of two games or more. There are pros and cons to this strategy, but check out our in-depth look at teasers for more information.
Futures betting is when you're wagering on something that will happen in the future, but not the immediate future, like today's game. This is when you're betting on who the NBA champions will be, or who the NBA MVP will be. You can get those odds before the season starts, which means you can get some good lines for teams or players that the sportsbooks might not think highly of, but you think you know something they don't.