Beginner’s Guide on How to Bet on the NBA

Beginner’s Guide on How to Bet on the NBA

Image by Keith Johnston from Pixabay

Navigating through countless lines in NBA betting can be challenging and confusing, especially for a beginner. However, if you already have your way around the sport itself, then your journey to being a proper bettor would be shorter. For a newbie, you might think that sports betting is complicated. You’re not exactly wrong.

There may be many terms that can be confusing for you, like betting the spread, money line, overs and unders, etc. That said, we will be talking about them later on, and we’ll also discuss some other things you need to know to start your betting journey. Luckily for you, basketball is quite a simple game, so it would be easier for you to transfer all your knowledge about the game in betting. The only thing you need to do is to learn the basics.

Know How to Read Betting Odds

Before we discuss things further, you need to know first how to read and understand the odds. Familiarizing them would make the learning curve much easier to traverse. Odds are always expressed with a plus (+) sign and a minus (-) sign. The plus sign means that the team is an underdog and the minus sign means that the team is a favorite.

Let’s look at an example:

San Antonio Spurs (-110)

Orlando Magic (+110)

The numbers beside the plus and minus signs are the actual odds. In this case, the bettors would need to wager $100. The additional $10 is the vig or juice, which is how bookies profit. However, you don’t need to bet exactly a hundred dollars since it’s up to you how much you want to bet with.

Pick a Good Sportsbook

It’s also important to know that you can bet online. In fact, there are a lot of online sportsbooks that you could try, like However, just make sure that the sportsbook you will be placing your bets with is trustworthy.

But how would you know if a sportsbook is legitimate? You can check their legitimacy by looking for their sportsbook license on their website. Also, you can check their reviews and user rating to get a good idea of how good their services are.

Sign Up

Once you find the perfect sportsbook for you, you can then sign up on their website in a few easy steps. Not only that, most sportsbooks nowadays run promotions for new members like discounts and other promotional stuff.

Make a Deposit

This is where you will deposit the money that you want for betting. Thankfully, most sportsbooks nowadays employ several payment options on their website. By depositing money, a new account will be created for you, where you can also receive the money you’ll win in your bets.

Place Your Bets

Now that you’ve signed up and deposited your money. You can now choose from a variety of bets you can place on the NBA. But since you’re a beginner, it might be better for you to learn two of the most popular types of bets in the NBA.

Betting the Point Spread

Spread betting is the most popular type of bet in sports betting. Unlike Moneyline betting, spread betting doesn’t require you to outright bet on who you think will win the game. Instead, spread betting is all about covering the spread.

Betting on the favorite means that for you to win the bet, they need to win and have a specific point difference. If you bet on the underdog, they have to lose within a specified number of points or outright win the game for you to win the bet.

Let’s look at another example:

San Antonio Spurs -6.5

Orlando Magic +6.5

In this example, since the Spurs have the minus (-) sign, they are slated to win the game and are the favorites. If you bet on them, they have to win with at least a 7-point difference. However, if you bet on Orlando, they have to lose by six points or outright win the game for you to win the bet.

Moneyline Betting

Moneyline is the easiest type of bet in sports betting. With this bet, you have to pick which of the teams will be the winner. Just like spread betting, the favorite and underdog will be signified by a plus (+) and a minus (-), respectively. The associated numbers beside the signs are your prospective payout or the amount of money you have to bet with.

Let’s go back to the previous example with different numbers.

San Antonio Spurs -200

Orlando Magic +180

In this example, the -200 means that you have to bet $200 on the Spurs to win $100. If you bet on Orlando for $100, you’ll have a chance to win $180.


NBA betting is a lot similar to other types of sports betting. The only difference is that NBA betting is a lot easier than the other ones. This is because the sport itself is straightforward. Understanding how the lines are made and how to bet with them is essential for you to learn if you want to dive deeper into NBA betting. Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s now up to you if you want to learn the more complicated stuff.

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