The Basics
5 Min
betting types
reading odds

As the popularity of betting on the NBA continues to increase exponentially in the United States, so too does the number of different ways you can wager on NBA games. Our team at Bet Basics have put together this handy guide to help you understand which NBA bets types are as straightforward as making an open layup, and which ones require a little more thought!



The easiest way for newcomers (or even seasoned vets) to bet on the NBA is with moneyline betting. Some sportsbooks will refer to this as ‘to win’ betting because it simply involves you wagering on which team you think will win the game.


The sportsbooks identify the favorite for any given game by allocating odds based on the perceived likelihood of each team’s chances of winning. For example, the favorite will be indicated by a minus sign in front of their odds (such as -245), while the underdogs will be indicated by a plus sign in front of their odds (such as +195).




At a glance, betting on the favourite seems to be the obvious choice because they appear more likely to win the game, but the payout for a winning bet is not going to be as large due to the fact there is less risk involve. In contrast, a winning bet on an underdog will result in you collecting a larger sum, but is a riskier wager that is less likely come to fruition.


The key to successful moneyline betting on NBA is understanding the risk and reward ratio presented by each team before making your selection. 


For a detailed breakdown on how to decipher moneyline odds and place a moneyline bet on the NBA, click here.



NBA spread betting involves sportsbooks setting a points handicap in an effort to level the playing field between the favourite and underdog and encourage an equal amount betting on both sides of the ledger.


The handicap is effectively a prediction of what the bookmaker thinks the margin of victory will be. For example, a -6.5 points handicap applied to the favorite, would require them to win the game by 7 points or more to cover the spread. In this instance, the underdog would have a +6.5 run advantage and they must either win the game outright or lose by 6 points or less for the bet to be successful.


For a more detailed explanation of points spread betting, click here.



NBA totals wagers allow bettors to gamble on the combined total number of points which will be scored by both teams during the game. The sportsbooks will set a ‘line’ for what they anticipate the final total points will be and give bettors the option to select whether it will be over or under this number.


For example, oddsmakers might set the line for the total points at 220.5. Bettors who wager on the over need there to be 221 or more points scored in the game for their bet to win. Bettors who take the under are counting on there being 220 or less points scored in the game to collect a winning payout.


For more information on how to place a totals bet on the NBA, click here.



NBA prop bets allow bettors to wager on specific elements within a game, such as the performance of individual players and key milestones. The list of prop bets for any given NBA game continues to grow, but some examples include the number of points, rebounds and/or assists a certain player will have.


Prop bets usually take the form of Over/Under totals, Yes/No propositions, or certain events, such as which team or player will score the first basket.




For help understanding the different types of NBA prop bets at your disposal, click here.



NBA live betting is exactly what it sounds like. Bettors can wager on the action after it is already underway, giving them the opportunity to maximise on game-changing plays and noticeable shifts in momentum.


Most sportsbooks provide live betting options for moneyline, spread, totals and a variety of prop bets, but important to act quickly if you see odds that you like the look of as the sportsbooks adjust more rapidly than a Russell Westbrook fast break.


For tips on how to make the most of fluctuating odds during NBA live betting, click here.



NBA parlays give bettors the opportunity to combine multiple NBA bets onto the one ticket in order to increase the size of their potential payout.


For each bet, or leg, included onto the bet slip, the odds are multiplied. Parlays offer lucrative payouts if successful, but bettors must get each leg of their parlay right form the ticket to be a winning one, otherwise they’ll end up completely empty-handed.


For hints and tips on how to build the perfect NBA parlay, click here.



NBA futures wagers involve betting on certain NBA events and outcomes well ahead of time. Some examples of this include the NBA and Conference Champions, MVP winner and Rookie of the Year.




For a more detailed breakdown of different NBA futures markets and what to look out for when placing a futures bet, click here.


To have access to the best odds available for all the different bet types mentioned above, the team at Bet Basics recommends signing up at multiple sportsbooks. A great place to start is with our list of Bet Basics list of 100% licensed and regulated legal sportsbooks, where you’ll find exclusive bonuses and promotions to help you maintain a profitable bankroll.

Was this helpful?
More on
No results found in "Sport"
No results found in "Casino"
Search results () View All