How to Bet on the NBA

Betting on the NBA has never been simpler! Whether you want to wager against a rival or put some capital behind your club, Dimers.com is here to show you how to bet on NBA basketball. 

So, let's break down the best betting options when it comes to Luka Doncic, LeBron James and all 30 teams.

NBA Spread

Often you'll hear the term "against the spread", one of the more popular options when it comes to betting basketball. 

The spread bet is essentially a sportsbook's way of leveling out two unequal opponents. 

An underdog team is given a 'head start' in the form of points. To cover a spread a favored team needs to win the game by the specified amount of points. Meanwhile, an underdog can either win, or lose by the number to cover.

Example:

  • LA Lakers -5
  • Nuggets +5

Using the example above, if you bet Denver +5, they would need to win outright or lose by 4 points or less to cover the spread.

Conversely, if you bet Los Angeles (-5) against the spread, the Lakers would need to win by 6+ points for you to profit. 

In the event of a push (the Lakers win by 5) – where the bettor and sportsbook tie – your stake will be refunded.

Example:

  • Bet: 76ers (-3) vs. Nets  
  • Final: Philadelphia 62-59 Brooklyn

Given Philly only won by 3 points, and not MORE THAN 3, this is considered a push. You would be refunded your bet, and yes, sadly that means no profit. 

NBA Alternate Spread

You will also see alternate spreads available for NBA games. Often the spread number is shifted slightly, enabling you to choose between multiple options, all of which either give you a better chance of covering, or larger odds.

MORE: Where Do Sports Odds Come From?

NBA Over/Under (Total)

Betting the Over/Under in an NBA game simply means you are wagering on how many points will be scored overall, NOT how many one team will score, nor who will win. 

Example: 

  • Knicks vs. Pistons – Over/Under 143.5
    • Bet the Over (144 or more points to be scored by both teams) 
    • Bet the Under (143 points or less to be scored in total)

There are other options to choose from, including scoring totals for a particular quarter/half, home team points and more. 

MORE: What is Over/Under Betting?

NBA Moneyline (H2H)

The moneyline is the simplest NBA bet to make! Betting the moneyline simply means you are picking a team to win the game outright (including OT). 

If a team is favored they will have a "-" next to their odds. Conversely, the underdog will have a "+".

Example:

  • If a team has a -200 moneyline it means you need to wager $200 in order to win $100. 
  • If they have a + moneyline, the goalposts shift. The + tells us how much you would win betting $100, if you win of course.
  • For example, a +150 moneyline would mean – if successful – a profit of $150.
  • Similarly if a team has a +185 moneyline, you would make $185 profit – $285 total – when betting $100.

MORE: How to Bet on the NFL

NBA Futures Bets

Futures bets are exactly what they sound like; you are wagering on an often far away event. If you're looking to lay down some capital in the hopes of large winnings down the line, this is the bet for you.

Popular future bets include:

  • NBA Champions
  • NBA MVP
  • NBA Rookie of the Year
  • Conference Champions
  • Division Winners 
  • NBA Defensive Player of the Year

The only downside to futures bets is they can take weeks or even months to occur. Bu, if you're patient, they can pay off big. 

MORE: Best NBA Betting Strategies

NBA Prop Bets

Prop bets are popular throughout the NBA season and enable you to bet on almost anything which may unfold in a basketball game.

You can wager on player props; choosing whether they will achieve over/under a certain amount of points and so much more.

Common prop bets include:

  • Top scorer 
  • First basket
  • Which team will score last
  • Anytime scorer
  • Player to score X+ points
  • Player to record X+ rebounds
  • Player to record a double double
  • Player to record a triple double

Depending on the sportsbook, there may be options to include props in a mixed parlay.

In Dimers' NBA Bet Hub you have the perfect opportunity to locate some of the best prop bets across the United States. Our predictive analytics model simulates each NBA game 10,000 times to give you the best probabilities for over/under, moneyline, spread betting and predicted box scores.

Multiple-Game Bets

NBA Parlay

A parlay simply involves more than one wager combined together for greater odds. You can place a same-game NBA parlay – multiple events from one matchup – or alternatively, events across multiple games.

Example:

You could take New York (-6.5) to cover against Cleveland and take the over 137.5 points total in a same-game parlay. You could add bets from other games, say Boston to beat San Antonio at the moneyline.

More legs = higher odds and a greater chance at a larger return. Beware, some sportsbooks do not allow you to bet both the moneyline and spread within the same game. Books may even cap the number of events you can have in a parlay, although there are those without limits.

In any parlay you will need to get each event correct for there to be a payout. Unless your sportsbook has an offer available, there is no refund for getting 7 out of 8 right.

MORE: Dimers' NBA Predictions

Live NBA Betting 

Live or in-play betting is where you wager on a basketball game currently in progress. As odds shift throughout the game, you can find the bet to suit you whilst the action continues on. 

Example:

  • Moneyline
  • Spread
  • Prop bets
  • Next team to score
  • Next scorer 
  • Next player to record a foul

Utilize the Dimers live in-play probabilities section to increase your knowledge and chances of winning on your live bets.

The live probabilities of any NBA game can be accessed through the scoreboards at the top of the Dimers website, the Live Now section, and even in the NBA Bet Hub.

How Do NBA Odds Work?

Most of us have seen sports odds before and understand why an NBA team is favored and the other is a dog – but let's dive into how the odds are set for each.

NBA betting has many popular options, particularly the spread, moneyline and over/under options. There are prop bets too, which allow you to wager on almost anything which can occur within an NBA regular season or playoff game. 

Vegas usually sets the standard and determines the pro basketball odds for sportsbooks across the United States. Want to know the why behind the odds you see in our NBA Bet Hub and sportsbooks in America?

All of the answers are here for you, right now!

How are NBA odds determined?

The function of NBA odds making isn't to truly represent the probability of an outcome occurring. Vegas and sportsbooks actually put forth certain odds to make a profit and in the hopes of attracting bettors to both sides (either team). 

Ultimately oddsmakers are in cahoots with sportsbooks. They are trying to reduce the risk of sportsbooks losing big. 

That's why books hate when a big favorite wins, because they lose heavily. NBA betting odds certainly aren't determined on the gut feel of a sports predicting genius. 

Sports statisticians and mathematicians are heavily involved in the NBA odds you see on a sportsbook's site and app. The Xs and Os of basketball odds comes from examination of the wider betting market, statistics and data. 

In the case of NBA moneyline and spread bets, odds makers will look at previous matchups, form, injuries and so on to determine the odds. It isn't that simple of course, algorithms and other nerdy stuff go into it, but this gives you an idea. 

In other words, it's not too different to Dimers' predictive analytics model where 10,000 simulations of every NBA game are conducted, based on the variables above, all to give you an unrivaled edge before you make that winning play.

MORE: Top 10 Sports Events to Bet On

Why are NBA odds not real probabilities?

Like any business, sportsbooks want to make a profit. They don't sell clothes or shoes, but they do sell odds to you, the bettor. How do they profit? Let's look at the below.

Example:

  • Detroit Pistons vs. Philadelphia 76ers
    • Philadelphia 76ers -250 (implied probability = 71.43%)
    • Detroit Pistons +200 (implied probability = 33.33%)

For all you super nerds out there, those percentages don't add up. Well, they do, just not to 100% – yes we had to use a calculator. The sum of the two percentages equals 104.76%. How can an NBA game have an implied probability of 104%?! 

It can't really. The extra 4% is the profit margin this sportsbook is taking home. With such a strategy – commonly implemented across America– a book will make a profit over time.

MORE: How to Bet on College Football

Favorites lose = Sportsbooks win

When there's a big upset in the NBA, bookmakers rejoice. This is because most of the money is heavily poured on the favorite, meaning the sportsbook takes all that home. Big favorites losing is a sportsbook's golden goose.

Now that you know where odds come from, find the best NBA odds in America with Dimers.com. We have exclusive promo codes for each of the biggest and most secure sportsbooks. If you're wanting to succeed at basketball betting, check out our NBA Bet Hub.

Why do sportsbooks have similar odds?

Sports betting is going gangbusters on a global scale. Surprisingly, basketball betting is far more advanced in places like Australia, the United Kingdom and Asia, while it is just getting started in America, Vegas aside.

Due to the globalization of NBA betting it isn't uncommon for sportsbooks to simply copy the odds of other books. This method is cost effective and they end up with the same odds without all the data and betting analytics research. 

We don't know which books copy others but we do know how you can find the best odds in the United States for every major sport.

MORE: Best NBA Finals Betting Strategies

How to take advantage of NBA odds

Sportsbooks look to make money off your bets, and set odds in such a way to favor their interests. So, how do we fight back and win money from sports betting?

The answer is simple – take advantage of the edge.

What is the edge, you ask? 

This is where the probability of an event occurring is more likely than indicated by the sportsbooks' odds. You can identify the edge using Dimers' predictive analytics model, which will suggest when a basketball team or player has a much better chance of winning than the sportsbooks are showing. You'll find our edges in the NBA Bet Hub and Quick Picks sections of our site.

Taking these bets gives you a better chance of being a successful gambler in the long run. Of course, the higher the edge, the better. While you're not guaranteed a W, taking picks with an edge gives you a greater chance of being profitable well into the future. This is super important when trying to become a successful NBA bettor.

For every major sports match including NBA, NFL, MLB and more, Dimers has the edge and exclusive promotional codes waiting for you.

How to Live Bet on the NBA

There's no doubt any NBA matchup can be exciting but when you throw live betting in the mix, the fun goes up a level!

You know NBA betting, but what about how to bet live?

It really is as simple as it sounds. When watching the game you can wager on who you think will win, the point differential and even what happens next.

Want to understand live NBA betting? Glad you asked, Dimers has you covered. Here's our guide on how to live bet on the National Basketball Association.

Placing your bet

NBA live betting is relatively similar to betting before tipoff. You can still place wagers on moneyline, point spreads, proposition bets, total (over/under) and the usual go-to options. 

Often you will be able to locate a live game through one of two ways; via a Bet Live section on your online sportsbook and/or betting app, or by clicking through to the NBA category on the sportsbook's site/app and locating the match from there. 

Remember, all live bets are time sensitive – if you're not as quick as LeBron on a breakaway, you may miss out!

Added options

Live betting exposes you to many options usually unavailable to the average bettor. The usual wagering options are available during a pro basketball game, but there are added offerings once teams are on the court:

Example:

  • Next player to score
  • Race to “X” Points
  • Next team to score
  • Next player to record a foul

With more options available to bettors, there is greater opportunity for you to find real value, catch sportsbooks napping and capitalize on juicy odds. Deep thought isn't as readily applied to live odds, so if you can be quick, you could be lucky!

Friendly reminder: every NBA matchup on Dimers has live probabilities, and projected box scores.

Constantly shifting odds  

NBA odds are constantly changing within a game, particularly given the frequency of scoring. Odds change based on the scoreline, momentum, and injuries, amongst other things. 

This can be hard to keep up with and that's why we recommend you monitor Dimers' live in-play probabilities during the game, and before you place any bet. 

Our live technology – updating every 30 seconds – gives you real-time probabilities for betting the spread, total (over/under) and moneyline. 

The live matchup and probabilities of any NBA game can be accessed through the scoreboards at the top of the Dimers website, the Live Now section and even the NBA section in Bet Hub.

Variables 

As mentioned, there are many factors which influence a quick change in odds during an NBA game. It is nice to consider some of these variables before placing your bets. 

Example: 

  • Injuries (Key players coming out can affect moneyline/spread particularly)
  • Momentum
  • Key player form 
  • Home/Away factor
  • Rest (Is a team playing after limited rest?)
  • Rivalries (Steph Curry vs. Dame Lillard/LeBron James vs. Kyrie Irving)

These aspects should be kept in mind when live betting, and if used alongside our live probability calculator, you're a chance to gain a leg up on your sportsbook.

NBA live betting represents one of the best ways to capitalize on great odds sportsbooks may have slept on. Feel free to give it a try alongside Dimers' in-play probabilities, via our NBA Bet Hub, to give you the best opportunity at winning your pro basketball picks!

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