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Each season in the National Basketball Association, 30 teams undertake a grueling 82-game schedule in an effort to win the NBA Finals and take home the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy. While not an official part of league activities, NBA online sportsbooks provide basketball enthusiasts with the opportunity to generate a profit and/or make lackluster match-ups more exciting.
If you’ve ever thought about wagering on the NBA, and perhaps wondered which NBA betting sites are better than others, this article is for you. In addition to discussing the most common betting opportunities, we’ll also throw in a few tips to get you started.
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Not for Amateurs
Before you rush out to start betting on NBA games, keep in mind that professional basketball is one of the more difficult sports to wager on. Losing teams often hustle until the final whistle, while veteran players go for garbage time buckets to pad their stats. These situations can lead to a flurry of points being scored in the waning minutes, all of which affect the point spread and can turn an otherwise winning bet into a loser. I’m not saying you should avoid wagering on NBA games, but please remember that the level of difficulty is often higher than baseball or hockey.
Options for NBA Betting
Once you’ve decided to bet on the NBA, you’ll need to choose the type of wager that best meets your needs as a customer. The following are the most common:
- Point Spread:
Betting against the spread is the most common type of wager provided by U.S. bookmakers. It adds points to the final score of the underdog while simultaneously subtracting points from the favored team. Oddmakers attempt to get an equal number of bets on both sides, thus allowing them to make a profit regardless of the game’s outcome. You might see one of these games expressed in the following way: Dallas Mavericks +3 vs San Antonio Spurs -3. This means the Mavericks (the underdog) would have 3 points added to their final score, while the Spurs (the favorite) would have 3 points subtracted. If the bettor’s chosen team is ahead after the score is adjusted, then they’re considered a winner.
Unlike the point spread option, this type of wager only requires the bettor to pick the outright winner of the contest. Both teams are given a number, with the underdog getting a plus sign and the favorite being assigned a negative sign. For an example, let’s look at a game where the Detroit Pistons are +130 and the Miami Heat are -120. Since the Heat are favored to win, you must risk $120 in order to win $100. In the case of the underdog Pistons, a $100 wager will pay $130 if the boys from the Motor City pull off the upset.
Over/Under – NBA betting sites select a number, and the bettor attempts to predict whether the combined scores of both teams will be higher (over) or lower (under). Also referred to as a “total” bet.
Also known as “futures,” this type of wager attempt to predict a specific outcome. Often posted months in advance, and with changing odds, some of the more common prop bets involve the NBA championship, rookie of the year, and MVP.
NBA Betting Advice
While the following list is by no means comprehensive, it should provide some basic tips to get you started.
- Watch for Streaks:
Both teams and players in the NBA tend to get hot and cold throughout the season. By getting out ahead of a streak, you can give yourself an edge over fellow bettors.
- Check the Injury Report:
Always be aware of nagging or serious injuries to players, especially those whose absence would adversely affect their team. NBA games are also filled with last-minute scratches, so keep an eye on developments right up to the starting whistle.
- Be Selective with Your Wagers:
Be particular about which games you wager on. This allows you to avoid burnout and only risk your money on the most appealing lines.
- Scoring at Home and on the Road:
Pay attention to a team’s scoring average at home and away. This can provide you with a clear idea of what to expect as the season wears on, especially if you like to bet the over/under.
- Look for Opportunities in the Schedule:
Always search for positive opportunities in the schedule. If a favored team is taking a long flight after a tough game, it might be an opportunity to make some coin on the underdog.
While basketball betting is one of the tougher propositions in the world of sports gambling, it can still provide large dividends for the astute bettor. It also helps when you can locate a sportsbook that offers competitive odds and superior service, although the ultimate success or failure rests with the gambler and their ability to translate statistical and game analysis into a profitable long-term strategy.