The NBA is a big draw for betting action in the United States and around in the world. In the US, only the NFL generates more betting dollars than NBA basketball. A lot of money trades hands every NBA season and all you need to do is capture a tiny portion of that money to reap a tidy profit.
Luck is always welcome in sports betting, but skill is the more reliable trait. If you know how to bet on basketball and have the discipline to do your research, it is possible to make real money betting on the NBA. The first step in getting started with NBA betting online is to find a reliable sportsbook for your action.
Best NBA Betting Sites
There are a number of things to look at when choosing a sportsbook for real money NBA betting. First of all, it is key to stick with sites that are safe and reliable. The online sports betting industry is international in scope and the quality of betting sites ranges from awesome to terrible. The number one thing for you to do as a responsible bettor is to always do business with reputable bookmakers.
If you live in the United States, another important factor is the ease of depositing and withdrawing. Federal law in the US does not specifically make it illegal to place wagers online, but the law does make it difficult for sports betting websites to process financial transactions. Some books (such as those mentioned above) are much better than others at accepting deposits and processing withdrawals.
Other things you should consider include the odds offered on NBA games, basketball-related promotions, deposit bonuses and betting selection. Some sportsbooks keep it simple with a very basic offering of NBA wagers. Others take it much further by offering futures, prop bets, parlays and a variety of point spreads and point totals.
Types of NBA Bets and Wagers Explained
NBA betting takes a number of forms. The most basic bet is the moneyline wager, which is a straight up bet on who will win any particular game. There are no point handicaps to worry about in moneyline bets. Instead, the payout odds are set to give bigger payouts to the underdogs and smaller payouts to the favorites.
Note: You can learn more about moneyline wagers and all the others on this basketball betting page. Visit that page if you’re unfamiliar with moneylines, point spreads, futures and props.
The nice thing about moneyline wagers is that underdogs pay very well when they win. This is because underdogs do not get a points handicap; they have to win straight up. The disadvantage is that big underdogs are risky.
However, point spreads should also have a place in your betting arsenal. With point spreads, the underdogs do not have to win straight up; they just have to score enough points to cover the spread. For example, a team set at +7.5 can lose by up to 7 points and still count as a win for your bet. The downside is the point spreads don’t pay as well for underdogs.
Prop bets have a sort of mixed reputation. Most people will tell you that the majority of prop bets are just straight up gambling. When it comes to bets like “who will score first” and “will Kobe score 28+ points tonight,” there’s just no realistic way to get a significant advantage over the long term. However, there are some people who claim to make good money with certain types of prop bets.
No matter what type of NBA betting you do, always shop for the best odds. It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert or a complete newbie; line shopping always helps the bottom line. Open an account at two or three online NBA betting books and compare the odds every single time you place a bet. If you always get the best odds for your bets, you will save a lot of money over the long term.
Plus, it’s never a bad idea to keep your bankroll split up across more than one site. Quality books earn their reputations over a long period of time, but I still don’t see any reason to keep all my eggs in one basket. It just makes sense to me: I spread my risk and I get to shop for the best odds.
Betting in the Off Season
Online NBA betting isn’t restricted to any certain time of year. Yes, you’ll always find the most bets during the season, but there are bets available during the off season. At most betting sites, futures are offered well in advance of the season (and sometimes year-round).
Futures are limited mostly to straight up wagers on who will win next year’s NBA Championship and the East / West Finals. The earlier you place these wagers, the more likely you are to get favorable odds. The only problem with placing your futures early is that you don’t get a chance to see your team in action… which is actually kind of a big deal.
Futures stay open during the year as well, but the odds are adjusted every week as we see how every team performs in real games. As the year progresses, the odds on the favorites become less attractive while the odds on the underdogs become increasingly attractive.
The majority of futures are related to the NBA Championship but you can also sometimes find futures for specific players. Things like who will be the rookie of the year and who will win the MVP are somewhat common. Sometimes, those bets are listed in the “props” category at betting sites.
Offseason NBA betting is pretty hit-and-miss, but there are a few opportunities between the seasons. Just remember to save a little money for when the season really gets going. Futures take all season to resolve, so don’t get half your bankroll locked up in futures before the season even begins. All the real action (and the biggest opportunities) happens during the season.