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The National Basketball Association is the world’s premier basketball league. For over 70 years, the NBA has provided a home for the very best players in the world to compete at the highest level and on the biggest stage. Today, basketball is a global sport, allowing the league’s influence and popularity to expand along with the world’s love of the game.
Of course, while being a spectator to an NBA game is a thrill all on its own, adding gambling into the mix upgrades the experience exponentially. Watching an acrobatic dunk is impressive; hitting the over and winning hundreds of dollars because of the said dunk is euphoric.
The only thing is that you’ll need to make sure you place those bets with the right sportsbook.
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While the internet gambling industry is thriving, there are still many unethical companies and scammers out there hoping to trick unsuspecting gamblers out of their money and personal information.
If you’re interested in getting in on the action and gambling on the NBA but are concerned about getting ripped off, you’ve come to the right place. Our team of experts is continuously reviewing betting sites, checking them for authenticity, and ensuring they are safe so that we may know which sites to share with our readers.
We dedicate our lives to vetting betting sites and finding the most reliable, most legitimate operations out there so that you may jump right into the fun stuff without question or concern.
Plus, we don’t just want you to locate the best gambling sites on the internet; we want you to win! So, after you check out our recommended locations and see why we’ve selected them, take the time to study our many guides covering almost every sports or gambling topic imaginable.
We break down how to bet responsibly, how you should approach sports wagers, and share our proven systems and strategies to maximize your chances of winning. So, let’s get started!
Choosing Your Ideal NBA Betting Site
We probably don’t have to tell you that while the internet is arguably the greatest tool humanity ever created, it can also be a scary and dangerous place. While there are hundreds of honest, trustworthy betting websites out there trying to earn your patronage, there is also the opposite, and that’s who you have to look out for.
Well, at least we do; you just have to stick with our recommendations and benefit from our painstaking research!
Our experts have an in-depth process that they utilize to analyze a gambling website and determine its worthiness to be passed on to our readers. We aim higher than merely trying to avoid scams; we only want to share the very best betting sites out there.
If you’d like to read more about how we determine the legitimacy of a website, check out the following link to our article. In the meantime, here are some of the primary qualities that we prioritize.
The financial safety and security of our readers is the number-one priority at LegitGamblingSites.com. We want to share our passion for sports and gambling with likeminded people without them having to worry about having money stolen, dealing with unfair bookmakers, or identity theft. The world is a stressful enough place; there’s no time for dealing with thieves and unethical companies during our recreational activities.
The gambling websites that we provide in our list of recommendations are the very best the industry has to offer. If we’re passing them along to you, they’ve passed our test for safety and quality, and you can bet we’ve got our own accounts open with the same online sportsbooks and casinos. Again, do not take safety and security lightly when gambling online; we can’t stress this enough!
Experienced online gamblers can all attest to the fact that there are few things more frustrating than dealing with delays and shenanigans when attempting to withdraw money from your betting account.
Depending on the banking methods used, it’s understandable that most payout requests cannot be processed immediately. However, some websites go out of their way to either delay withdrawal requests or make them unreasonably tricky as part of their business model.
You see, these sites will employ all kinds of tactics such as extremely low weekly withdrawal limits, ignored requests, and even unfounded accusations in an effort to keep your money sitting in their account.
They assume that if they can frustrate or delay you long enough, you’ll eventually give in and start gambling with that money again. There have even been cases where site operators accused customers of being professional gamblers or somehow cheating the code and used that excuse to deny payouts.
These are the kinds of nightmarish scenarios we’re all here to avoid. The NBA betting sites that you’ll find here today have proven themselves to be reliable and fair. Depending on the method of banking, some transactions may take longer than others, but there will always be an effort to pay out as quickly as possible.
If you choose to receive your money via paper check rather than Bitcoin or e-wallet, it could take over a week. But the speedier options will still be available should you want them.
Variety of Betting Options
Once we know you’re safe and secure on a betting site, we turn our attention towards the services that they’re providing. The online sportsbook industry is hugely competitive, forcing bookies to continually offer more and more sporting events and new types of bets.
While we’re all here to win money, this is supposed to be entertaining as well, so getting bored thanks to a limited scope of wagers and games isn’t an option.
Plus, successful sports gambling is all about finding mispriced lines and exploiting them. This is extremely difficult to do on marquee events and the most popular wagers; those are what the bookmakers pay the most attention to. The more variety you have to work with, the more specialized you can make your bets. Once you become an expert at some kind of specific niche bet, then you really get to make some money.
Multiple Banking Options
It’s preferable for an online gambling website to provide a variety of financing options, although there is some benefit to using sites that specialize in a single method. Since online gambling holds a different legal status in different regions of the world, the act of depositing and withdrawing money can occasionally get tricky.
In the United States, citizens are allowed to access offshore betting sites and gamble on them. Online gambling websites are illegal and unable to be run within the borders, but they won’t stop you from accessing a website in Costa Rica. There’s also an additional anti-online gambling law that prohibits banking institutions from processing transactions involving known betting operations.
Because of this, US citizens are limited in their financing options since credit and debit cards will not work. They may have to utilize Bitcoin instead or purchase certain gift cards which can then be used to fund an account. So, it’s best that betting sites offer lots of variety in case customers are forced to work around various rules.
As for the websites that specialize in a single payment method, they can be useful as well. These companies are often able to process deposits and withdrawals in their specific banking type faster than sites with lots of choices. Some Bitcoin-only casinos and sportsbooks out there can even send payouts immediately these days.
Bonuses and Loyalty Programs
You’ll notice that our recommended sites all offer bonuses for choosing to sign up or make a deposit with them. Free play coins and matched deposit funds are used to convince you to pick their site over the others. Due to the competitive nature of the industry, these bonus packages can amount to a decent chunk of change. However, be warned that these entry-level bonuses usually come with significant strings attached.
Most bonuses have a rollover requirement attached to them. That means you have to make a certain amount of money worth of bets before your funds are able to be withdrawn. These requirements frequently reach values like 30x, which means that accepting a $100 bonus would obligate you to place $3,000 in bets before being allowed to take out your money. It’s unlikely that your $100 gift would even last long enough to place that much money in wagers unless you hit a huge win early on.
When you’re looking for gifts or rewards from your betting website, loyalty rewards programs are where you find the good stuff. The more frequently you gamble with a site and the more money you spend on average, the more they reward your loyalty. Most places have a point- or tier-based program that dictates what you’ll receive.
Point programs merely assign a value to each action, and you accumulate points over time. They can then be exchanged for various perks and prizes ranging from improved odds on specific bets to merchandise in the company store and even a percentage of cash back on your losses. If you’re a high roller, they’ll get even more creative and reward you with vacations, large amounts of cash back, or occasionally even vehicles.
Depending on how you anticipate wagering, you may want to research the various loyalty programs before signing with a site. We consider these in our rankings because they can be quite lucrative in the right situations. If you find a bonus or rewards program that matches what you like, it can significantly improve your customer experience.
Guide to Betting on the NBA
Now that we’ve gotten all that serious stuff out of the way, we can finally talk about betting on the NBA! Basketball, more than any other sport, is driven by superstar players. With only five players on the floor for either team at any given moment and star players capable of playing the majority of the game (unlike hockey), the best players have a more significant impact on the outcome of NBA games than marquee players in any other league.
When betting on the NBA, this is the sort of thing you must keep in mind. But that’s not all; you must also be mindful of your bankroll and disciplined with your staking plan so that you may reap the full rewards for making value-based wagers. If you’re inconsistent with the amount you risk per bet, you may hit the percentage of picks you need, but lose money regardless.
In this section, we’ll cover some of the basics of both sports betting and the National Basketball Association. These are the concepts on which you’ll build your foundation for successful sports gambling. Should you want to learn more, follow the links to our various articles covering specific topics that interest you.
The most prominent misconception about betting on the NBA, and sports in general, is that you’re just trying to predict the outcome of the game, contest, or bet. It’s not about picking winners; it’s about finding value and trusting the math so that you may win over the long run. Nobody is accurate enough with their picks to profit long term without keeping value and implied probability in mind.
You should focus your betting on sports, and more specifically, teams that you follow carefully and understand. The greater your expertise, the more accurately you’ll be able to assign them probabilities of winning when handicapping the contest. But if the reason you’re incredibly knowledgeable about a team is that you’re a fan, try to keep your fandom in check so that you may bet with your brain and not your heart.
If you don’t already have an NBA team that you care about, make it a point to do some reading on the league in the offseason, then pick a few teams to start following next preseason. Their season is a long 82 games, plus playoffs, so you can gain a lot of insight and collect a lot of data in a single year. By the end of the season, you’ll have a feel for the rhythm and how a team will respond to wins and losses, which will be invaluable to your NBA handicapping.
You can learn more about handicapping, online sports betting in general, and improve the foundation of your gambling knowledge by reading the following articles:
It’s important to remember that gambling, whether it be on the NBA or in a casino, has the potential to lead to problem behaviors and devastating financial consequences if not handled in an intelligent, controlled manner. Before you ever make a deposit or place a single wager, you should have a plan for your bankroll and your staking. Your bankroll is the amount of money you put aside for gambling after determining what you can afford to lose without it negatively impacting your life in any way.
Your staking plan is how you organize that bankroll into individual bets. Rather than just betting random amounts of money on whichever basketball game you’re interested in, you have a plan for the frequency of your wagers and how much of your bankroll to risk per bet. This way, when you base your picks on finding value, the math will work out in such a way that you’ll profit long term.
Without organizing your staking amounts, you run the risk of winning a high percentage of your bets while still losing money.
With a proper staking plan, you can win a low rate of your picks yet still increase your bankroll, as long as the odds make sense.
If you’re new to sports gambling, the vocabulary and phrases associated with betting may seem confusing or even like a whole different language. But don’t worry; we’ve got a glossary to help you with any new terms:
Common NBA Bets
Since you’re here to learn about betting on NBA games, you should familiarize yourself with the most common wagers you’ll run into at the sportsbook and online. Basketball lends itself well to all types of wagers, from futures bets on the eventual finals winner to nightly point totals, and especially live betting. As you grow more comfortable using the best NBA betting sites, explore different types of wagers so that you may learn what it is you’re good at forecasting. Let’s look at some common types of NBA bets.
- Point Spread – Point spreads are a form of handicap betting. Rather than assign moneyline odds, which make betting on the favorite a high risk/low reward proposition, a handicap is assigned to the final score, and even odds are given for either team. If an NBA team is heavily favored, the spread may be something like 12.5 points. This means that if you bet the favorite, they have to win by more than 12.5, or the bet is lost. If you bet the underdog, you receive 12.5, and so as long as you don’t lose by 13 or more, the pot is won.
- Totals (Over-Under) – Totals bets are a way to gamble on the scoring output in a game without having to pick a winning team. Instead, you’re betting against the line set by the bookies. So if they say the over-under is 200 for the Pacers versus Cavs game, you decide if the combined score from both teams will equal a number greater than or less than 200. If you think they’ll score more, you bet the over; if you expect less, bet the under.
- Parlays – Parlay cards are a way to combine multiple individual bets into one larger wager. The more chances you include in your parlay, the higher the payout. However, if a single aspect of the parlay loses, the entire card is lost.
- Futures – Futures bets are typically made on events that will be decided at the end of the season. So, you may bet on the MVP winner, the eventual NBA champs, and even which teams will make the playoffs.
- Live Betting – One of the most thrilling ways to gamble on NBA basketball is to participate in live betting, an immersive and interactive form of sports betting. For more details about this exciting development in sports gambling, as well as a list of the best live betting sites available, click here.
If you’d like more than a brief overview of each type of sports betting, check out our dedicated guide that details the many wagering options at your disposal, how they work, and why you might enjoy them:
Betting Systems and Strategies
While you’re still getting the hang of handicapping NBA games yourself, you may find some value in using betting systems that have already been developed and proven to work. One example of a betting system that you’ve probably heard of is the Martingale system. That’s when you double your staking amount after each lost bet until you win, at which point you start over.
We don’t necessarily suggest using the Martingale for NBA betting, as it has the potential to lose huge sums of money and doesn’t really improve your chances of winning bets as much as it’s just a strategy for responding to losses. A better example of an NBA-specific betting system is the Non-conference, high-totals strategy.
You search out non-conference matchups in which the line is set at 220 points or higher and bet the over. Historically, it’s a bet that’s won over 60% of the time with odds that make it a profitable approach. See, with betting systems, you aren’t left trying to decipher large sets of data. Instead, you’re given what to look for and how to respond once you find it.
If you’re ready to start formulating or using some serious betting systems, check out our more advanced strategy guides for NBA betting:
About the National Basketball Association
In just over seventy years, the NBA has introduced into the culture of numerous legendary players, thousands of unforgettable moments, and left a lasting impact on the world of professional sports in North America. While it could be argued that other professional leagues are more popular as a whole, no other North American sport’s athletes have the reach and importance of NBA stars.
The Association is overseen by a commissioner who is voted in by the thirty franchise owners. After David Stern held the post for decades, he was eventually seceded by his protégé Adam Silver, who remains in the position to this day. Silver’s reign started with a bang when he ousted long-time owner Donald Sterling over racist comments.
In the past, Silver’s mentor found himself embroiled in several noteworthy controversies and conspiracy theories, but thus far, Silver has managed to avoid anything too damning. On our “All About the NBA” page, we go into further detail about the NBA’s darkest days and how you can use what we learned from the league’s most damaging scandal to make your NBA bets.
To access our collection of articles about the NBA, including historical facts, controversies, and even the rules, check out our “All About the NBA” page:
The National Basketball Association was founded in 1946 and has been the highest level of professional basketball attainable ever since. The thirty-team league is situated in North America, with twenty-nine teams located in the United States and one in Canada. With only thirty teams and twelve to fifteen players per roster, there are fewer available spots in the NBA than in any other major sport, which is why they’re also the highest-paid athletes by annual average in the world.
The league is split into Eastern and Western Conferences, with three divisions per conference. There are five teams per division, which are organized by region. In the Eastern Conference, they have the Atlantic, Central, and Southeast divisions. In the West, there are the Northwest, Pacific, and Southwest divisions. The conferences and divisions dictate the schedule teams play, as well as how the playoffs are seeded.
Believe it or not, the NBA hasn’t always been the global powerhouse that it is today. In fact, up until the mid-‘70s, the league was struggling to draw viewers and broadcasting taped games rather than live events. To learn more about the history of the NBA and how they finally became one of North America’s most celebrated sports leagues and cultural influences, check out our article covering the league’s history:
The NBA’s 82-game regular season begins in late-October and concludes in April, at which point the playoffs start. Each franchise plays 41 games at home and 41 away. The season’s schedule is organized like so:
- Teams play each member of their division four times each year for a total of sixteen games.
- They also play six of the teams from the other two divisions in their conference four times apiece, giving them another twenty-four games.
- The remaining four teams from the other two divisions in the conference are played three times each, equaling twelve games.
- They also play each opponent in the other conference twice, which gives us another thirty games on the schedule and brings the total to 82.
The playoffs are organized by Eastern and Western Conferences. At the end of the regular season, sixteen teams in total – eight per conference – advance to the playoffs. The playoffs are seeded one through eight and are organized strictly by record. The team with the best regular-season record in any given playoff matchup is granted home court advantage.
The NBA playoffs are four rounds long, with each round consisting of a best-of-seven series. The team with home court advantage plays the first two contests on their home court. The series follows a 2-2-1-1-1 pattern, meaning the higher seed will get games one, two, five, and seven in their home stadium, while games three, four, and six are played away.
In the Finals, the Eastern Conference champion faces off against the Western Conference champion for the NBA title. From 1985 until 2013, the Finals followed a 2-3-2 pattern, but it was deemed unfair to the franchise with home court advantage and scrapped for the standard 2-2-1-1-1.
All-Stars and All-Time Greats
The NBA has employed some of the most beloved athletes of all time. Players like Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and LeBron James became global icons as a result of their play on Association basketball courts. Many of the legendary ballers have stayed involved with the NBA either through ownership of a team, mentorship roles, or as coaches and front office employees. Here is a small preview of the types of players you can expect to read about on our NBA’s Greatest Players page:
- Michael Jordan – The GOAT. Michael Jordan was a six-time champion, legendary shoe salesman, and is currently the owner of the Charlotte Hornets.
- LeBron James – LeBron James earned the nickname “King James” as far back as high school. Since entering the league in 2003, he’s lived up to the hype and won three titles along with a boatload of individual awards.
- Larry Bird – Larry Bird is a legendary Boston Celtic. The “hick from French Lick” is one of the game’s great shooters and is one half of the rivalry with Magic Johnson that’s credited with bringing the NBA into the mainstream.
- Hakeem Olajuwon – Hakeem “the Dream” is one of the most exceptional centers to ever step on the court. He won back-to-back titles in 1994 and 1995 and is best known for his destruction of David Robinson in the 1995 playoffs after watching David receive the MVP trophy.
- Kareem Abdul Jabbar – Kareem Abdul Jabbar was a legendary winner at every level of the game. At UCLA, he took part in a dynasty, and in the NBA, he won titles with both the Bucks and the Lakers. He’s best known for the skyhook, although his career longevity is even more impressive.
- Magic Johnson– Magic is one of the top point guards in NBA history. He spent his career as the face of the LA Lakers, leading those Showtime Lakers to five NBA championships.
- Bill Russell – Bill Russell is probably the most well-respected former player ever to step foot in the NBA. He won eleven championships as a Celtic and five MVPs. All he cared about was winning, and that’s all he did.
The league is currently in the middle of one of the greatest talent boons in its 71-year history, which promises to add more players to the list of global icons in the near future.
To read more about the greatest players in basketball history, check out our article dedicated to the subject:
College Basketball – The Future of the NBA
Before players embark on their NBA career, the majority compete in the NCAA college basketball system in the United States. The league is currently exploring ways to remove this step by expanding their developmental league and eliminating the requirement that a player must be one year removed from high school before playing in the NBA.
Until a new solution is found, the most common pipeline to the league is still through college ball. The March Madness tournament is the last impression most NBA-bound athletes get to leave before declaring for the draft and turning pro. If a player declares for the draft without hiring an agent and goes undrafted, they are permitted to return to their college team. However, if they sign with an agent, they are no longer eligible, regardless of draft results.
For a full breakdown of the March Madness tournament, advice on filling out a bracket, the history of the competition, and the best sites on which to bet on NCAA Tournament games, check out the article below: