A Winners Guide for Betting on NBA Basketball Games

Placing a bet on an NBA basketball game can add an element of excitement to the game. With the gradual changes in law being made on a state-by-state level across the United States, there are locations where you can place these bets legally.

Sports fans who reside in Pennsylvania, can place online sports bets legally (Bill 271) on all types of sporting contests. According to the Gaming Control Division, Pennsylvania sports betting sites are able to go live at this point.  DraftKings Sportsbook & FanDuel Sportsbook are the two sports betting leaders in the space and we would expect the two books to take the lead early. Our sister site Lineups.com, has listed the top Pennsylvania Sportsbooks and their promotional offers. The number of legal betting venues is expected to grow in the future. Of course, while wagering on a game is exciting, the idea is to hopefully win more money than you lose.

Below are a series of suggestions to help you to better enjoy your experience of betting on NBA basketball. We’ve included an initial section on managing your finances, an explanation of a few different types of bets, followed by some strategy tips to help improve your chances of winning.

What is Bankroll Management?

Your bankroll refers to the money you deposit in your account to place bets on sports games. You may choose to focus your attention specifically on NBA basketball games, but there are a number of other sports options as well.

The first issue a beginning sports bettor needs to address is the idea of managing your finances. Setting a budget is critical for a number of reasons. Priority number one is to make certain that you do not bet with money, which you cannot afford to lose.

At any point, there are agencies available to help you, if you ever feel you have crossed a prudent financial line with your gambling. The best way to avoid financial problems arising from the fun of betting on NBA basketball games is to employ solid bankroll management skills.

Step one is to make certain you don’t wager your mortgage payment on the outcome of a basketball game. Gambling on sporting events has an inherent element of risk. Once you commit to using your money prudently, you still should exercise a consistent bankroll strategy.

Even the experienced sports bettor follows a few rigid guidelines to managing their bankroll. A key concept is to avoid chasing a string of non-winners, attempting to throw more money towards a hope that the unlucky streak must end eventually.

Throwing extra money at an unlucky streak may very well work, but there is the probability it will not. A solid strategy is to establish a set amount in which you bet on certain types of wagers.

You may place higher amounts on bets you enjoy more, or have a better record of picking correctly. However, a proven strategy is to maintain what is referred to as flat betting, or betting the same amount each time on any single type of wager.

What Are Some Different Types of NBA Basketball Bets?

There are various ways you can bet on NBA basketball. Each game has three specific projections set by the oddsmakers. One is projected winner with an attached moneyline. Next, there is a point spread prediction.

This is the difference between how many points of separation oddsmakers believe there will be between the winning and losing point total. Finally, there is an over and under number. This is a prediction for the total points to be scored, frequently with a ½-point attached. You can bet on any of these numbers, including a combination of all three.

What is the Moneyline?

Betting on the moneyline is called a straight bet. There will be a negative number assigned to the favored team, and likewise, a positive figure for the underdog. The moneyline is very popular in events such as boxing, where a point spread cannot be assigned.

The moneyline is the amount of money you must bet in order to win a specific amount of money. This number is calculated based on a $100 bet, but it can be used for smaller amounts equally well.

For instance, if you see the Milwaukee Bucks favored at home over the Sacramento Kings the Bucks will have a negative number as the moneyline. Say the number is -550. This means you must place an equivalent bet of $550 in order to win $100.

Needless to say, Milwaukee is a heavy favorite to win that game. There will also be a positive number attached to Sacramento. The Kings may have a moneyline of +220. This means, if you feel strongly about the chances of a Kings upset, you’ll be an equivalent of $100 to get back a winning total of $220.

The Point Spread in NBA Basketball

Keeping an eye on the point spread in NBA basketball betting is an excellent clue to how oddsmakers feel the game will play out. High point spreads, especially those in the double digits, suggest one team is heavily favored.

As you become more familiar with the moneyline and point spread, you will notice the correlation between the two. Games with a high point spread will invariably have a favored team with a more unfavorable payout on the moneyline.

When you bet the point spread on an NBA game, you choose either the favorite minus the points, or the underdog plus the points. Be aware that oddsmakers are good at what they do.

Do not be surprised if you join the thousands who have been handed a losing ticket because they hit the number exactly. When this happens, it’s called a push. Bookmakers earn a living on this type of exactness.

Often there will be a ½-point attached to the point spread. This removes any chance of a push. As an example, if the Milwaukee Bucks are on the board as a 9½-point favorite to be the Kings, Sacramento fans will start the game with essentially a 9½-point advantage.

If the game ends up 119 to 110 Milwaukee, those who hold Kings tickets are winners, but wagers on the Bucks minus the points will be non-winners. In short, the point spread is the difference in the final point totals of each team that oddsmakers think will happen.

The Over and Under Point Total

Similar to pro football, NBA oddsmakers set an over and under number for each game. These numbers usually hover around 200 to 240 points for any given game. There is frequently a ½-point attached to avoid bettors losing as a result of a push on the final point total.

When you bet the over and under, you do not need to worry about who you think will win or lose. This is a great way to put some money on games that you feel are essentially toss-ups.

As an example, the over and under for that same Bucks – Kings game in Milwaukee could be 236 points. If you have a hunch that game pace or player performance might push the total points higher than 236, bet the over. You may also watch for high-scoring players who could potentially miss the game.

Prop Bets

In fact, you can often find more specific odds attached to quarters, player performance, and unique game events. These are called proposition bets, or prop bets. The number and uniqueness of these novelty bets is vast, especially during the NBA Finals.

You can wager on the winner, the point spread and the over and under by quarter. There are prop bets on who will score first, what will be the result of the first shot, or which team will commit the first turnover.

Some odds boards will even offer a bet for who wins the opening tip-off. While these types of bets are less common, they will frequently be offered for big-time games like the playoffs.

Prop bets are a great way to add some fun to specific game situations, but you should always rely on good bankroll management when considering which prop bets to wager on.

How Can You Gain an Edge?

Once you understand the various ways you can bet on an NBA game and have a grasp of good bankroll skills, you’re ready to dig deeper to help gain an edge. Here are a few suggestions to help improve your odds of picking correctly.

Injury Status Reports

NBA coaches use the “game-time decision” tag to their maximum advantage. It’s great for the players who aren’t 100% confident they can play with an injury, but it drives bettors and daily fantasy players up the wall.

Experts will watch for immediate changes in a player’s status. This can help you to both avoid the pitfall of picking a team to win when they are going to play without any of their top stars. It can also give you a clue when to grab a point spread number assigned to an underdog.

Draft Kings offers a mobile app feature, so you can scour the player status reports right up until game time. If you don’t feel comfortable with any given player’s status, pull the bet and save your money for a less risky wager.

Rest – DNP Coach’s Decision

NBA basketball has a developing trend over the last handful of seasons, where coaches will rest particular players. While this isn’t the same as following a player’s injury status, it can be a huge advantage if you can catch a situation where a star player won’t suit up, before the oddsmakers account for the news.

Home and Away Numbers

It’s long been a fact, even if it is difficult to explain, that some teams play far better at home than they do on the road. While the opposite is rare, occasionally teams seem to bring a better game to the opposition’s home gym than they do their own court.

Look at the statistical numbers for both home games and away games. Start with the basic won/loss record, and use that to your advantage for moneyline bets. Study the points per game averages as well. Sometimes you can find a consistent trend that can give you an edge in betting the point spread, or the over and under.

Be certain to scan for single oddities that throw the overall number askew. The best way to more accurately apply this strategy is to remove a high point game total and a low point game total, and check to see how this alters the overall points per game stat.

Team and Player Matchups

Certain players seem to ramp up their game against particular teams. Some teams have almost unexplainable success against other teams. Look for trends in these types of matchups.

You may find a leading scorer who struggles against a particular team. There are also teams who produce either higher or lower point totals against other teams. Always check a stat called PACE, or game pace. If you have two teams with high game pace stats, you might want to consider betting the over.

Trends in the Odds

When you scan a list of game odds on any given night in the NBA, you may notice the current number, plus a separate number that indicates what the opening odds were. Watching for changes in the opening moneyline, point spread, or over and under can indicate something to research.

There could be a player’s injury status that has changed, or one that is highly questionable. You can often blend player injury reports with changing odds to help you grab a last-minute edge on any given game.

Where Can You Bet on NBA Basketball Games Today?

State-by-state, the opportunity to bet on NBA basketball is growing. Professional basketball fans in New Jersey can already take advantage of this exciting pastime on both Draft Kings and Fan Duel.

Both these sites have been at the forefront of daily fantasy games. While these are not the same as betting the moneyline, point spread, or over and under, you can use money from your account to play these opportunities as well.

While other states are projected to follow New Jersey’s lead, Garden State residents can not only play DFS games, but they can bet the same odds that the pros bet in any legal gambling venue.

The opportunities to place a bet on a variety of sporting events are projected to steadily increase from state to state. New Jersey residents can already place bets legally. Betting on NBA basketball games can add an extra bit of excitement to every game. Make sure you follow a good bankroll plan, and then implement a few of the strategies listed above to help gain an edge and improve your odds of winning.