How To Bet On NBA & College Basketball

The first aspect of basketball betting to address is figuring out where and how you can place bets. In the United States, there are two dofferent ways you can bet : Online or in – person.

Courtesy of the United States Supreme Court, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act of 1992 was deemed unconstitutional in 2018, removing the federal prohibition on sports betting. Every state can decide whether to make sports betting legal.

Since 2018. more than half of U.S. states have legalized online sports betting, so there is a decent chance you either live in a state where you can bet online or at least border a state that allows it.

The other method to bet on basketball is in-person, but this is less efficient if you’re looking to shop your odds, quickly live bet, or cash out early to hedge your bets.


Creating A Basketball Betting Account

In states that legalized sports betting, there should be multiple NBA betting sites avalaible, including some combination of DraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, BetRivers, BetMGM, Caesars, Bet365, Unibet and WynnBet.

You will want to see which sportsbooks are avalaible in your states and then evaluate which ones have the best first-time user bonuses. Other factors impacting your decision include the sportbook’s user interface, navigability and customer service options.

To creat an account with these sportbooks, download their app on your mobile phone or pull up their site on your computer. From there, it is relatively self-explanatory to create an account as most sportsbooks have a “join” or “sign up” button easily accessible on the main page.


Basketball Bet Types And Understanding Odds

Once you have established an account with a reputable online sportsbook, you will probably be looking to place your first bet on basketball. While most sports bettors in the U.S. will be looking to place bets on the NBA or NCAA, several sportsbooks also allow you to bet on ewuroleague, Iceland Divison 1, Basket Liga, Superleague, A1 League and More.

Regardless of your preference, check out the different types of basketball bets avalaible to you through online sports betting.



The moneyline is the simnplest way bet on basketball: You’re betting on which team will won outright. Unlike the spread, the team you bet on just needs to win. They don’t need to win by a particular amount of points, also knows as a”cover”. Sportsbooks assign moneyline odds to each team based on their likehood of winning a basketball game.

For instance, if odds makers heavily favor the Phonix Suns in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, they might have odds of – 250 (minus odds indicate a favorite, while plus odds indicate an underdog) Those odds mean you would have bet $250 to win $100, asĀ  phoenix is a big favorite in that game.

If odds makers list the Indiana Pacers as +300 underdog in a different game, you would only have to bet $100 to win $300.



The spread is one of the most common single-game basketball bets avalaible on sportsbooks, but slightly different from the moneyline. The spread helps create close to even odds (usually around -110) for both teams in a game, even if one team is an obvious favorite to win the game. Sportsbooks can assign a certain of points to the favorite that it will have to “cover” or win by, for that bet to cash.

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For example, imagine a game where the Boston Celtics play the Orlando Magic, and Boston is favorite to win. The sportsbooks might assign a spread of six points (listed as -6) to the Celtics, meaning they have to win by six points or more to cover the spread. If boston wins, but only by there points, then bettors who put money on the Orlando Magic as six-point underdogs (listed as +6) would win their bet.


Point Totals

A point totals can be team- or game -specific, meaning that you could bet on the total amount of points scored in a game or by a specific team. If the point total of a game between the Miami Heat and Toronto Raptors is 226, you can bet that the combined score will be less or greater than 226 points.

Point totals usually have close to even odds (-110) on the over or the under. A team specific point total is the sameĀ  concept, but you’re only betting on whether the miami heat score over to under 112 points if that is where odds makers listed the line.


Player Props

Player props (propositions) are bets made on an individual player to accomplish or fall short of a specific statistic. There are many different statistical categories that you can be on for player props, including points, rebounds, assists, 3PM (Three pointers made), turnover, steals, bloscks, triple doubles, and player combinations, which are asombination of multiple categories.

Prop betting is geared around a player’s poptential output, or lack thereof, rather than how a team does. If you bet on LeBron James to score over 30 points, and he does, but the Lakers get crushed in that game, you still win your bet (assumsing) you didn’t bet on the Lakers’s moneyline or spread).



Parlays are bets that combine multiple markets into on wager. However all of the bets have to win for thae sportsbook to pay out your winnings.

A parlay bet is difficult to hit because it requires you to get all your bets right. If you do, tou will be more handsomely rewarded.

There have been instances of people betting pocket change and turning it into six-figure paydays. One of the most unlikely parlays to hit on basketball in recent memory came in 2022 when three friends put down.

It’s essential to understand therisk of parlays, though, As mentioned, you must bet correctly on every single leg in a parlay to win.


First Basket

The first basket bet is about as straight forward as bets can go : you’re betting on which player will score the first basket in a game.

However, first-basket bets can get more specific, such as which player will score the first basket in a game and in which fashion (three-pointer, two-pointer, etc). These bets can be fun for bettors that like quick action and long (less favorable) odds.

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Game Props/ Margins/ Race To

Game props can include a variety of bets, including margins, the race to a certain numbers of points in a particular quarter, or whether or not a game will go to overtime. Betting on margins is much more speculative than just betting the moneyline or the spread of a team you believe will win. It requires you to guess by how many points a particular team will win.

You can usually get very favorable odds with bets like these, but it is surprisingly trickly to correctly guess the differential at the end of agame. Margin bets can include the amount a team wins by (exact or within a range) or the amount a team is winning by the end of a particular quarter.


Stat Leaders

The stat leaders bet is not avalaible in every online sportsbook, but it is on some and can be exciting. An example of a “stat leaders” bet is “Steph Curry to Finish with the most points”

You would win that bet if Curry has the most points of any individual player in either team. However, it wouldn’t be limited to just the Golden State Warriors.

If the Warriors play the Memphis Grizzlies and Ja Morant finishes with more point than Curry, you would not win the bet.



Futures are another self-explanatory bet : they are future bets that do not pay out immediately. You often have to wait until the end of a season, depending on the type of future you are betting.

Future bets can be on a player to win an individual award (Most Valuable Player, Defensive Player of the Years, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, etc) or on a team to win their respective conference, division, a championship or even just get to a certain amount of wins (win total).


Best Basketball Bettings Tips

Bellow are a few tips for betting on basketball, regardless of whether it’s the NBA, NCCA or an overseas league. These tips include shopping your odds, not falling into the trap of overvaluing historical trends and adequately utilizing live betting to hedge your bets.


Shop Around For Odds

We recommend shopping around the odds on your favorite bets, whether they are part of a parlay or a single bet. Most sportsbooks don’t have vastly different lines, but you can get slightly better odds on those lines depending on which sportsbook you choose.

Another betting type to make sure you shop around is parlays. Parlay odds can very drastically based on sportbooks, as slight differences in odds can add up over multiple legs.


Don’t Fall Into Historical Traps

You should pay attention to current trends, but don’t weigh past performances too heavily. For instance, if it is late in the season, don’t emphasize performance from months ago.

A prime example of this is the incredible progression of the Boston Celtics throughout the 2021-22 season. From the beginning of that season through the first week of January, the Celtics were 18-21 : however, they were 33-10 from that point forward and made the NBA finals. Streaks and momentum matter in betting more than historical trends, such as team’s record against the spred last season.

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Utilize Live Betting

Take advantage of vilatility (a.k.a “runs”).

In a basketball game, a swing of momentum is called a run. There are quite a few throughout game and some last longer than others. When a team goes on an early run, there’s a likelihood for later regression, even if slight.

When the spread widens significantly during live betting, especially in the first half, grabbing the losing team plus the points can be advantageous. This strategy won’t always prove profitable, but considering that the average winning margin in the NBA is between two and eight points, it can help to bet on a team that is down big early.


Don’t Tease

If you’re not familiar with this form of bettinng, then no harm, no foul, as far as the NBA is concerned. A teaser is similiar to a parlay in that it has multiple legs (bets) that all have to hit to receive the payout.

However, the difference is that teasers can increase the point spread of each leg in your favor, giving you more cushion.

This bet type means you often have to pair two legs together to get the odds that an original spread bet would pay out. The reality with teasers is that they are only worth utilizing in football, where there are fewer possessions than in basketball.


Best Basketball Betting Statistics Tools

To best assist you in successfully handicapping NBA game and prop markets, we’ve compiled a few of our favorite statistical resources. Most of these tools are avalaible free of charge- with basic informasion included – while some aslo included paid options.


Dunks & Threes

This tools provides free and paid options, but the former offter valuable informasion.

For example, the sit list a team’s net rating, offensive rating and defensive rating, all adjusted for the strenght of schedule. Dunk & Three aslo offers start on pace rating, offensive possession length and defensive possession length.

Beyond those basic ratings, the site compiles how teams shoot and defend from certain areas of the floor. Further, that section also offers insights into how teams distribute their shots between the rim, mind-range and from three point land and how they defend those areas.

This information allows bettors to zone in on certain spreads – maybe a team is outperforming their net rating and identify potentially profitable player props based on how teams defend certain areas of the floor


NBA Advanced Stats

You can visit nba,com/stats/teams/advanced for many stats useful handicapping games.

Although slightly inferior to Dunks & Threes this site doesn’t adjust team stats for strenght of schedule there’s one inherent edge on the NBA stats page. Here, bettors can change the period of time that gets considered for all stats.

For example, bettors can see team stats for the entire season, the most recent game or the most recent month. That way, bettor can identify good buy low, sell hight opportunities and see which teams perform differently than their season long metrics over a smaller sample size.


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