The Lowdown on Basketball Odds & NBA Betting Lines
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To improve your NBA betting and gain a deeper understanding of how to place more winning bets on NBA teams, you need to grasp how betting odds work.
Our specialists show you how to read them when researching anything from NBA MVP odds to NBA Championship odds.
“Get honest, reliable, and trustworthy advice from people who know sports betting inside out.”
Growing Your Knowledge & Raising Your Betting Game
If you want to succeed at betting, you must focus on the long run, not on quick profits.
While temporary wins can boost your confidence, there is much more to learn before you can successfully read NBA odds and bet on NBA betting lines.
To get a feel for the game, you should spend some time reading up on the NBA’s basic rules. Gaining an understanding of the rules will encourage trust in your ability to place sensible bets, raising your chances of winning.
Our aim is to assist you in building upon that base knowledge to reach the level of skill required to place smarter NBA wagers.
Reading NBA Odds
NBA odds can be broken down into three key formats. Most of you will use the first and most common format, American odds.
But knowing how to read the likes of Decimal and Fractional across NBA betting lines can help you in the long run.
Reading American odds comes naturally to those who have been betting for a while. Still, it doesn’t take long for newcomers to get a firm grasp of what they mean.
For a view of what the + and – signs mean, let’s take the Knicks vs. Pistons game with the NBA betting lines showing:
New York Knicks -150 (favorite)
Detroit Pistons +250 (underdog)
“American NBA odds always start with a $100 value. When betting on the favorite, you risk the amount to win $100, and when betting on the underdog, you risk $100 to win the amount.”
If the Knicks are a -150 favorite, it will cost you $150 to win $100 at the sportsbook. Your wager is either a push, a loss of $150, or a gain of $100.
If the Pistons are a +250 underdog, the bet involves a $100 risk for a $250 reward. Your wager is either a push, a loss of $100, or a gain of $350.
- A “push” means the game is a tie, and you get your wager back if you have bet on a two-way moneyline. If the moneyline is a three-way option, you lose your money if the game ends in a tie.
Decimal betting is another similar option that clearly defines the favorite and underdog. Using decimal NBA odds instead of the “+/-” signs are sometimes easier to follow. Again, we will use the Knicks vs. Pistons game and convert the odds from above into decimal format.
New York Knicks 1.67 (favorite)
Detroit Pistons 3.50 (underdog)
The payout for a winning bet on a $1 stake is represented by the decimal odds value. A winning bet of $100 with odds of 1.67 would return $160.70 ($60.70 profit + $100 initial stake).
- Any bet between 1.00 and 2.00 is considered a favorite wager, and bets on 2.00 are even money.
Any bets on decimal NBA odds that are above 2.0 are considered underdogs. A $100 bet on the Pistons to win 3.50 results in a $350 return ($250 profit + $100 initial stake).
“Your stake is included in the returns, so keep this in mind when making your calculations.”
Fractional odds are, as the name implies, odds that are expressed as fractions. It might not be as simple as the other two, but this format of NBA odds is simple once you get the hang of it.
We can calculate our potential winnings for the Knicks and Pistons based on fractional odds.
“If we wager the amount on the right, the figure on the left represents how much we stand to gain.”
Therefore, if we wager $100 on the Knicks at 4/6 odds, we will receive a payout of $66.67 in profit. Our initial $100 stake will also be returned, giving us a total return of $166.67 in total.
And here are a few more instances:
- 5/1 – For every $1 we stake, we will receive $5.
- 6/4 – We’ll receive $6 for every $4 staked.
- 1/2 – For every $2 we stake, we will receive $1.
Covering The Basics of NBA Betting Lines
Successful NBA bettors know their options. Team form, player news, and the latest NBA odds help you locate the optimal bets.
Understanding where to spend your dollars and looking for high-value NBA betting lines is how people pick up profits as opposed to those that don’t.
If you’re new to betting on NBA games, it’s best to start with the most common lines. You can then work your way up to the more complex wagers.
A Typical NBA Betting Line
Most top-rated sportsbooks will line up the basic NBA betting lines as follows:
- New York Knicks: -10 (+110) / -150 / U 220 (-105)
- Detroit Pistons: +10 (-110) / +250 / O 220 (-115)
The first set of NBA odds represents the points spread. The second set is for the basic moneyline, and the third set of bets is based on the total points scored across the game.
NBA Points Spread
Sportsbooks create a spread, which is simply an expected margin of victory that you should consider while making your choice.
Either the favorite with fewer points or the underdog with more points. The side you select must cover the spread in order to win the wager.
Decide on the team you believe will win the match. Favorites and underdogs are identified by the direction of the odds, which is negative for favorites and positive for underdogs.
A wide gap between the figures indicates a one-way match, whereas a narrower range implies a close call.
NBA Points Total
A common bet during all the NBA games across the entire season. Bookmakers decide on a target total of points for the teams to beat.
Choose whether you believe the final score will be higher or lower than that total – remember, this is the total combined points scored.
Wagering on futures can cover the entire NBA season, from who will win the MVP award to who advances to the playoffs and win the Championships.
Futures betting is profitable due to the bigger NBA odds, but this is only true if you can make accurate forecasts.
Improve Your Betting Strategy With Advanced NBA Odds
After you’ve mastered the fundamentals of NBA betting lines, you could branch out into more complex wagers.
Any NBA game page will have various betting opportunities, from team and player specials to the playoffs and the most valuable player.
You will also get the big basketball event of the year, betting on the NBA Championship odds.
NBA Game Odds
Multiple game odds will be available pregame and during the in-play action. Popular options include whether the game will need overtime and which team will be leading at halftime.
NBA Player Odds
How many points will the star player score? How many rebounds or assists will a player pick up during the game? Player NBA odds are easy to place and simple to follow.
NBA Playoff Odds
Put your money on the teams you think will advance into the postseason early on for the biggest NBA playoff odds. Or wait longer and see how teams are performing before betting.
NBA MVP Odds
The NBA MVP odds usually run through to early summer before the winner is announced around June time. Follow the best performers and find where the best value is.
NBA Championship Odds
Following the season and choosing the winner from the long list of NBA Championship odds is something most basketball fans enjoy. The earlier you bet, the bigger the odds will be.