Getting back into their rhythm in the New Year, the Golden State Warriors are on a hot streak, solidifying their position as the top championship contender.
With just over two months left in the regular season and the February 7 trade deadline fast approaching, there’s been no shortage of ground-breaking news, most of which relates to off-court developments. The Pelicans’ superstar Anthony Davis has asked for a trade, and the Lakers are desperately trying to acquire him, but New Orleans’ price seems steep as they’re asking for almost the entire young core of the Lakers, plus four first round picks and a few second round picks. The talks have cooled off as of this writing, but we could have a Davis mega-trade anytime within the next day.
Hoping to lure Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the offseason, the New York Knicks have also been busy. To make room on the hardwood for the superstars potentially coming to the Big Apple, they’ve traded their young phenom Kristaps Porzingis, along with Trey Burke, Tim Hardaway Jr, and Courtney Lee, to the Dallas Mavericks for DeAndre Jordan, Wesley Matthews, and Dennis Smith Jr. The Pacers have been dealt a huge blow after Victor Oladipo suffered a season-ending injury, so it’s unlikely that Indiana will be able to compete for a title this season.
With multiple rumours and potential moves on the horizon, the NBA series betting lines odds are likely to change soon, but one thing the oddsmakers agree on is that the Warriors remain overwhelming favourites to hoist yet another Larry O’Brien trophy come June.
The surprise of the NBA season, the Denver Nuggets, haven’t slowed lately and are still neck and neck with Golden State for the top spot in the West. Their NBA odds have increased accordingly, moving from +3300 on December 28 to +2200 on February 6. One team whose odds have moved in the opposite direction are the Pelicans (down to +17500 from +7000), which isn’t surprising considering Davis’s trade request. Here are the top five teams expected to compete in the playoffs.
One squad that’s not looking to make any changes are the Golden State Warriors, and for good reason. Seamlessly incorporating the return from injury of big man Demarcus Cousins, the Dubs have won 14 of their last 16 contests as of this writing and have no plans to slow down anytime soon. The Dubs have separated themselves even more over the last six weeks, with their NBA betting lines for the championship increasing from –150 to –220.
The Raptors have been up and down of late, but the quality of the roster, namely Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, and Pascal Siakam, can’t be ignored. Canada’s team is a few games behind the Bucks in the East, but there’s talk of Memphis looking to part ways with Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, something that certainly piqued the interest of Toronto’s general manager Masai Ujiri. A reported trade offer surfaced recently, with the Raptors willing to move Kyle Lowry and Jonas Valanciunas for the Grizzlies’ players, but there’s been no agreement so far. Toronto is the +800 second favourite for the trophy on the NBA lines.
Following an inconsistent start to the season, the Boston Celtics look like they’ve found their groove of late, winning 10 out of their last 11 matchups. With their NBA odds unchanged from our latest check-in at +1000, Boston is a dangerous squad with an immense amount of talent, so their place in the top five is rightly justified.
It’s not often you see a team in tenth place in their conference this late in the season as one of the top favourites for the championship, but that’s where we currently stand with the Lakers. After missing 17 straight games with an injury, LeBron James returned on January 31, and the Lakers are expected to go deep into the playoffs, especially if they’re able to acquire a top talent like Anthony Davis from New Orleans. The NBA betting lines for the purple and gold have increased from +1600 on December 28 to +1100 as we go to press.
Atop the Eastern Conference standings are the Milwaukee Bucks, who have been quietly dismantling their opponents thanks to the outstanding play of forward superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Greek product is having an MVP-type campaign by averaging 26.7 points per game on an otherworldly 57.2% shooting from the floor, while also adding 12.6 rebounds per contest. These Bucks are the real deal and offer great value at +1100 championship odds (up from +1800 six weeks ago).
The Raptors and Bucks have been atop the Eastern Conference standings for most of the regular season, but it’s Toronto that has more depth and better odds at +600 (up from +850 a month ago). However, Toronto is only 6-6 over their last 12 contests, as they went through a tough patch of scheduling. The schedule should get easier in January, and the wins should follow as a result. The health of their stars in Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry is paramount to this team’s success.
The Boston Celtics arguably have more talent than any of their Eastern conference foes. This team is incredibly deep, with difference makers such as Gordon Hayward, Jaylen Brown, and Terry Rozier often coming off the bench. However, they’ve caused some head scratching at certain times this season, such as a three-game losing streak to Detroit, Phoenix, and Milwaukee in mid-December after rattling off eight straight W’s. If this squad can pull it together in the postseason, watch out. The Celts are at +1000 to lift the Larry O’Brien trophy in June.
The Rockets didn’t start the season the way they had hoped, going 11-14 over their first 25 games after reaching the conference finals in the West a season ago. They’ve righted the ship since and are in the mix fighting for playoff positioning, thanks in large part to James Harden’s outstanding play, which often borders on wizardry on the offensive side of the ball. Houston’s NBA championship odds actually decreased despite their late push from +1100 a month ago to +1400 on December 28, but this team can play with anyone in the league if they get their mind right, as evidenced by last season’s seven-game playoff series against the Warriors.
While complementary pieces such as Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, and JaVale McGee have played admirably this season, the Lakers will go as far as LeBron James will take them. James is currently out with a groin strain, which he suffered during LA’s Christmas Day win against the Warriors. If he can come back healthy and play at the top of his game in the postseason, the Lakers will have a shot at the title.
The NBA is one of the most popular sports in North America and growing, partly due to superstars that are accessible to fans through social media. The league is full of vibrant personalities and intriguing storylines that inevitably unfold each season. Not to mention the quality product on the court, featuring players that are more athletic and better skilled than they’ve ever been before, which makes for colourful highlights you can watch at the conclusion of the game. The contests are generally fast paced and don’t drag on, which fans appreciate in the current climate of social media.
Due to the league enjoying great popularity among the public, NBA basketball betting has been picking up steam as a result. It’s not uncommon to hear announcers and pundits discussing NBA odds during a game or series preview in all types of entertainment outlets: television, online, podcasts, you name it. With a plethora of NBA betting options available to you at Bodog, from spread to live betting, this “how to bet on NBA basketball” guide will help you choose the best wagering strategy by explaining each bet type and the differences among them. Here’s NBA betting explained in detail.
The most popular bet in the sport is the NBA spread bet, which typically includes a favourite and an underdog. The favourite team in the contest will be given a point cushion by the oddsmakers called the “point spread” by which they’re expected to win. Point spread betting is popular because the odds of betting on either team are fairly even. The point spread compensates for the quality of either team and the likelihood of a certain team winning the contest.
How do NBA point spreads work? Let’s pretend a game has the following NBA odds when the Oklahoma City Thunder visit the Toronto Raptors:
Oklahoma City Thunder +4.5 (-110)
Toronto Raptors -4.5 (-110)
Since the Raptors are minus 4.5 points, it means they’re expected to win by about 4 or 5 points. If you bet on the Raptors, they’ll have to win by 5 points or more for your bet to pay out. Conversely, a bet on the Thunder means that Oklahoma City will need to win the game outright or lose by 4 points or fewer for the bet to be a winner. With point spread betting, you aren’t betting on who wins the game – it’s about by how many points a team wins, if the favourite prevails. The -110 odds in the parentheses are an indication of how much you can win on a certain bet. A minus sign tells you the amount you need to bet in order to win $100. In this case, a $110 bet will yield a profit of $100.
An exciting way to change things up is by “buying points” with NBA spread betting. You can increase your odds of winning by buying a half point. For example, you can turn the Raptors line in your favour by changing it to -4 instead of -4.5 for a little extra security. However, you will be required to pay a premium for this. The odds for doing so may shift from -110 to -120, for example, as your odds of winning (or at least not losing) have increased. When the point spread is an even number (4-point spread, for example) and the favourite wins by exactly that many points, the bet is a push and your initial wagering is returned to you, regardless of which team you wagered on.
Betting on the NBA moneyline is the most straightforward type of bet you can make, as you’re simply picking the winner of the game. In addition to its sheer simplicity, some bettors enjoy betting on the moneyline because this is ultimately what the teams care about the most – winning the game. A team might not necessarily care about your point spread bet and could let a few points slide at the end of the contest if they hold a comfortable lead. However, they’ll be fighting hard to win the game itself if it’s close. Typical odds might look something like this:
Oklahoma City Thunder (+180)
Toronto Raptors (-250)
In this example, the Toronto Raptors are favoured over the Oklahoma City Thunder, which is why they have the minus sign in front of their odds. Remember, having the minus sign in front of a number indicates the amount you need to bet in order to win $100. In this case, you’ll have to bet $250 to win $100 when betting on the Raptors (or a proportional fraction of this amount). On the other hand, the plus sign indicates the payout amount when you wager $100 dollars. If you choose to bet $100 dollars on the Thunder and they prevail, you collect $180.
NBA total betting, also called the NBA Over-Under betting, is another simple type of wager you can place where you’re picking whether the total number of points scored in a game or a half will be over or under a designated points total set by oddsmakers.
Continuing with our Oklahoma City Thunder against the Toronto Raptors example, the NBA totals line might look something like this:
The oddmakers have deemed that the likeliest outcome is for the two teams to combine for approximately 216 points in the matchup. In this example, you have to pay a little extra to bet on the Over – $115 dollars to win $100 versus a $105 dollar bet if you choose the Under. This is likely because more of the betting action so far has been on the Over, so the sportsbook wants to entice bettors to take the better deal to even out both sides of the bet as much as possible.
If you wager on the Over, you’re hoping for lots of free throw attempts and made three pointers to increase the scoring of the tilt. Your bet is a winner if the teams combine for over 216 points (for example, if Toronto wins 114-108 for a total of 222 points). The opposite is true if you wager on the Under. If the teams combine for exactly 216 points (for example, Thunder wins 110-106), the bet is a push and you’ll receive your initial wagering amount back, regardless of whether you wagered on the Over or the Under. Similar types of bets can be placed for single half totals, either first or second halves.
Betting on NBA futures is exactly what it sounds like – you’re wagering on what will happen in the future. If you enjoy making predictions about how a certain team will perform and how far they’ll go, NBA futures odds betting might be for you. The most common type of NBA futures betting is picking division winners, Eastern and Western Conference champions, and, of course, the eventual NBA champion. At the beginning of the season, Bodog will give you an option to bet on every NBA team to win their division, conference, and championship. As the season progresses, some teams might be scratched from the list if it’s clear they’re out of the running for the title.
Below is an example of what the preseason Atlantic Division odds could look like.
Toronto Raptors -200
New York Knicks +200
Boston Celtics +1200
Philadelphia 76ers +5000
Brooklyn Nets +20000
Obviously, the above example assumes that the Raptors are considered to be the best team in the division before the season starts, hence the need to pay a premium to wager on them. Meanwhile, the Brooklyn Nets are the bottom dwellers of the division. Your payout is much more lucrative if you bet and hit on the Nets (an enticing 200/1 affair), but the reason that payout is so great is because it’s an unlikely event. You have to weigh the risk/reward of the wager while keeping in mind the likelihood of each event taking place. Similar bets can be placed on conference and championship winners.
As the season matures and the contenders start separating themselves from the rest of the league, the odds reflect those changes. If a team that was an overwhelming favourite has suffered a season-ending injury to their superstar, while simultaneously having trouble integrating the rookies into their rotation, their odds will likely go down as a result. Be sure to stay current with the ever-changing odds and jump at the opportunity if you believe a team’s setback will be temporary. You could reap the benefits of the wager value at that time.
Betting on NBA props is similar to futures betting, but while the latter is more of a macro bet, prop betting allows you to bet on more detailed events that occur in the game or within a season. These are bets that may not impact the final outcome of a game and some can be quite trivial, such as whether the total number of points scored will be an even or odd number at the end of the game. Below is a description of some of the most common prop bets you can make.
These props encompass events that will happen within the game. One of the most common bets of this type is the NBA player prop, which allows you to wager on the number of points a star player will score in a contest, for example. The Over/Under for the Raptors’ superstar DeMar DeRozan could be set at 26.5 points when he faces the Thunder. Similar to Over/Under totals betting, you can wager that he will score more (27 points or more) or fewer (26 points or fewer) than the line.
If you enjoy betting on longer-term outcomes, NBA season props might interest you. This type of wager involves betting on the outcomes that will materialize (or not) at the conclusion of the regular season. These include NBA team props as well as NBA player props.
An example of a team prop bet would be wagering on a team’s win total for the season, or whether or not they’ll make the postseason. The Toronto Raptors’ line could be set at 52 total regular season wins and you can bet the Over or the Under, depending on how well you think they’ll perform during the season. A player season prop could be tied to receiving a regular season award, such as the MVP or Rookie of the Year.
NBA special prop bets could be anything not described above. For example, the sportsbook may have odds on where a high-profile free agent, such as Lebron James, will land the following season. There may be a list of the favourite teams that the media and the people involved with the league have been discussing, as well as an ‘Other Team’ option for his destination.
NBA parlays allow you to string together multiple individual bets under a single wager. Combining these bets yields a significantly higher return than placing the bets individually, as the winnings from one bet are subsequently reinvested into the next one. However, this type of wager is also riskier, as you have to hit on all of the individual legs of the parlay for the bet to be a winner.
You can parlay anywhere from two to 12 lines, including some props and future lines where applicable, into a single wager for a higher reward. If even a single individual bet within a parlay is not successful, the entire wager is lost. However, if one of the legs of the parlay ends in a push, or is graded no action while all the other components are winners, that leg of the parlay will be removed from the parlay and the other legs will stay in the parlay as winners (or an individual bet if all but one winning bet in a parlay is a push).
An example is the easiest way to illustrate the upside of a parlay bet. Revisiting our previously mentioned odds, in this scenario, you believe that the Raptors will beat the Thunder by over five points and it will be a high-scoring game, over 216 total points scored between the two teams.
Oklahoma City Thunder +4.5 (-110)
Toronto Raptors -4.5 (-110)
You decide to parlay the Raptors on the point spread with an Over 216 points total bet. If the Raptors defeat the Thunder by a score of 113-107 (six-point Raptor win and 220 total points scored) and your parlay wins, your payout will be $156.92 plus your initial $100 investment. However, had you placed an individual bet of $50 on each outcome, your winnings would total just $88.92. This is the power of compounding profits, which becomes a bigger factor the more bets you add to the parlay.
NBA teaser betting is a mixture between buying points and parlay betting. You can add up to 10 individual bets in a teaser wager. Teaser betting allows you to adjust the point spread in your favour by 4, 4.5, or 5 points if you feel like you need a cushion for your bet. However, this comes with an extra cost, as you’ll have to pay more for the same reward than with a regular point spread bet. The premium you have to pay for the extra security increases as the teaser points increase.
Another option to consider are sweetheart teasers, which provide even more cushion than a regular teaser bet – 8 or 10 points. But again, this comes with an even higher cost. Depending on your betting strategy, you may opt for sweetheart teasers to increase your chances of winning.
Live betting on the NBA is one of the most exciting ways to get in on the action. You can bet on most single game events, including the moneyline, the spread, total points, and even prop bets, while the game is unfolding. If you enjoy picking up on subtle clues during an NBA game that may foreshadow what will happen next, this betting option is right up your alley. You could take advantage of the ups and downs that occur during most NBA games by wagering on outcomes whose odds may be temporarily depressed. For example, if you know a team that gets down by 15 points in the second quarter has a knack for comebacks, you may choose to take a chance on that squad and reap higher profits if the comeback does transpire.
Each of these wagers is ideal for a certain bettor. Whether you like the thrill of high risk/high reward, or the security of betting on a sure winner, there’s something for you in our sportsbook. Have a look, play around with the Bet Slip, and compare payouts with different combinations. It’ll enhance the game-watching experience.
*Odds as of November 30, 2018