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NBA betting explained: Types of NBA bets, where to bet and FAQs

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With the NBA season already underway, having NBA betting explained could be a priority for rookie gamblers.

If that’s the case, then you’ve come to the right place, as we’re ready to solve every single doubt and question you may have in this regard.

NBA betting explained

NBA betting has always been popular, but legalized gambling in the U.S. has taken it to a whole new stratosphere over the past couple of years. So, if you’re a hoops fan and don’t want to miss out, chances are you’re looking to get into this world.

As usually happens, people lose money because they don’t know how things work. Moreover, they often rush to place wagers before doing their due diligence and trying to figure out the best way to do things or at least have NBA betting explained.

That’s why we’ve gathered some of the most frequently asked questions about this subject to try and give rookie gamblers a hand. If that’s your case, sit down, buckle up, and keep scrolling as we let you know just how to bet on the NBA.


How does betting on the NBA work?

NBA betting works like every other sport. You can bet on the money line, the point spread, the total, player props, or even future bets. You need to place your wager before the game starts — unless you’re doing live betting, which only a handful of platforms support — and then cash the bet if you’re lucky at the end of the game.

Futures bets are bets placed on the final outcome of the season. You can bet on whether a player will win Rookie of the Year or MVP, or if a team will finish on top of the Eastern/Western Conference, will win its division, will make the playoffs, etc.

What’s the best way to bet on basketball?

There’s no best way to bet on basketball. Some gamblers find plenty of success with player props, which are bets focusing on a player’s performance. Will he get a triple-double? Will he score more than 25 points? Who will score the first basket of the game?

Other gamblers focus on point-spreads and place straight bets on those, while others lean towards betting on the totals. Others even place parlay bets, which aren’t all that recommendable considering they’re much more difficult to hit, even though they also have the best odds.

Is the NBA easy to bet on?

There’s never such a thing as an easy bet. The easier the bet seems, the lower the odds, meaning you’ll need to risk a lot of money to win a handful, and that’s not a smart strategy.


On average, successful gamblers win roughly 65% of their bets, which is why bankroll management is key to making consistent winnings.

You should never place more than 5% of your total bankroll in a single wager. Experienced bettors often divide their bets into 1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, and 5% bets depending on how confident they are in their plays. That’s the best way to gamble responsibly.

How do you read a spread?

Point spreads are rather simple to read. The team with the minus next to it is the favored, meaning you’ll need to subtract X points from their final score. Let’s say, for instance, that the Los Angeles Lakers are -7 point favorites over the Orlando Magic. In that case, Lakers’ bettors would need them to win by at least 8 points to cash their wagers.

On the flip side, those who bet on the Orlando Magic +7 will get 7 points added to their final score. Conversely, they’ll need the Magic to win by any margin or lose by no more than 6 points to cash their bets. The bet can also end in a push if the Lakers win by exactly 7 points.

Point spreads can also have half-points. Let’s say that the spread for the Lakers vs Magic game is sitting at 7.5 points. That would mean that Lakers’ backers would need their team to win by 8+ points to cash in, while Magic bettors would cash in if the Magic won by any margin or lost by no more than 7 points.

What does an NBA moneyline mean?

You won’t find that many NBA betting tips and free picks of moneyline bets in the NBA unless we’re talking about a close game. That’s because most point spreads have -110 odds, whereas the moneyline’s odds will depend on how favored the team is to win the game.

Simply put, a moneyline bet is a bet on who’ll win the game. In that same example, the Lakers’ moneyline odds should be close to -250. That means you’d have to be $250 to win $100, making it a risky bet. On the flip side, the Magic’s moneyline odds should be close to +180, meaning you’d get $180 in profit on a $100 bet.

How do you bet on NBA points totals?

NBA point totals work the same way as point spreads. The only difference here is that we’re talking about both teams when considering the final score of the game. That means that you’ll bet on whether the final score will fall under or go over a projected total.

Let’s take our Lakers vs Magic game as an example. Let’s say that the game total is set at 231.5 points. In that case, Over bettors would need both teams to combine for more than 231 points to win, like 132-100, 117-115, 120-112; any outcome would do it, as long as they go over 231 points.

On the flip side, under bettors would need the game to fall under 232 total points. 110-90, 105-110; any outcome will do it as long as they don’t top the 232-point plateau. The beauty of this bet is that it doesn’t matter who wins the game.

What are NBA teasers?

Some bettors rather use teasers for their NBA betting strategy. Simply put, teasers allow you to get more points in points spreads and totals, giving you a bit of an edge at the expense of taking lower odds and not-so-fancy payouts in your winning wagers.

You can make a 4-point teaser that would make the Lakers go from 7-point favorites to 3-point favorites, giving you higher odds of winning your bet. However, those -110 odds would drastically drop, and so would your potential earnings.

Betting on the NBA at FanDuel

Now that we’ve had NBA betting explained, it’s time to take a look at some of the most reliable places to submit your wagers.

FanDuel is one of the industry leaders in this regard, as they offer multiple traditional bets, game props, parlays, player props, and countless types of NBA bets, not to mention daily odds boosts with enhanced odds.

All you need to do is register and then go to the ‘NBA’ section and start placing your wagers.

Betting on the NBA at BetMGM

On the same note, you can also take a look at NBA betting at BetMGM, one of the most popular and respected platforms in the gambling industry.

You can sign up and check out some of the many promotions and bonuses they offer new bettors, and there’s a vast array of NBA-related bets to choose from, including parlays, future bets, player props, straight bets, teasers, and many more.

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