Current NBA Betting Odds and Lines

The NBA is the third-most-popular sport in North America behind the NFL and college, making NBA betting a major attraction for legal online sportsbooks. Unlike those two sports, however, the NBA’s season lasts longer and there are more games on a nightly and weekly basis to bet on.

The National Basketball Association was one of the first leagues to embrace legal sports betting. If online sports betting is legal in your state, you can enjoy NBA betting action from your mobile phone or desktop computer.

Like football, the most popular NBA bet is the point spread. There are, however, several other ways to bet on a pro basketball game.

This guide will discuss how to bet on the NBA, its major betting events, and the league’s most popular teams. Serious bettors should carefully review NBA handicapping strategies below to find an edge this season.

NBA

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Sixers
Celtics
10/18/22 7:30pm EDT
Lakers
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NBA Futures Odds

2023 NBA Championship Odds

Team
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Boston Celtics
Milwaukee Bucks
Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Clippers
Brooklyn Nets
Phoenix Suns
Philadelphia 76ers
Miami Heat
Denver Nuggets
Dallas Mavericks
Los Angeles Lakers
Memphis Grizzlies
Minnesota Timberwolves
Cleveland Cavaliers
New Orleans Pelicans
Toronto Raptors
Atlanta Hawks
Chicago Bulls
Portland Trail Blazers
Charlotte Hornets
New York Knicks
Detroit Pistons
Washington Wizards
Orlando Magic
Sacramento Kings
Utah Jazz
Indiana Pacers
Houston Rockets
San Antonio Spurs
Oklahoma City Thunder

How to Read Sports Betting Odds Video

Chapters

  1. NBA Bets
  2. NBA Betting Events
  3. How to Bet NBA Events
  4. Popular Teams
  5. NBA Betting Strategies

NBA Bets

Point Spread

The point spread is the most common form of NBA betting. Because of high-scoring games and the disparity of player talent between teams, some favorites can be expected to win outright by 10 points or more points.

Oddsmakers use the point spread to equalize differences between teams. They set a line to attract an equal number of bettors to each team. The line will move in order to make one side more appealing than the other. This process balances the sportsbook’s NBA betting action.

Bets on the favorite payout if the final score difference is greater than the point spread. Conversely, underdog bets payout if the underdog wins outright or if the score difference is less than the spread.

Point Spread Example

Los Angeles Lakers +3.5 -110
Golden State Warriors -3.5 -110

The Lakers are the visiting team (since they are on the top line). The plus sign indicates that they are the underdog getting 3.5 points. To win a bet on the Lakers, they would either have to win outright or lose the game by three points or fewer.

The Warriors, on the bottom line, are the home team. They are the favorite, as indicated by the minus sign. They are giving 3.5 points to the Lakers in this example, so think of the game starting with the Lakers winning 3.5 to 0. To win a bet on the Warriors, they would have to win by 4 or more points. A team that wins against the spread “covers the spread”.
A couple of quick points to note: if both teams are listed at -110, you have to bet $110 to win $100 on each side. If the bets are split 50-50, the sportsbook uses the losing bets to pay the winners. You’ll notice that leaves $10 leftover from each bet. That’s called the vig or the juice. Think of this as a service fee that companies take to ensure being able to pay out winning bets.

SportsBetting3.com NBA Odds Example

NBA Odds and Outcomes Explained

Game
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Bet
Sixers
Celtics
10/18/22 7:30pm EDT

Underdog Philadelphia 76ers - Philadelphia 76ers bettors risk $100 to win $90.91 at -110 odds.

A +3.5 Philadelphia 76ers underdog bet wins if they lose by 3 or fewer, tie, or win outright. Your bet loses if they lose by 4 or more.

Favorite Boston Celtics - Boston Celtics bettors risk $100 to win $90.91 at -110 odds.

A -3.5 Boston Celtics favorite bet wins if they win by 4 or more. Your bet loses if they win by 3 or fewer, tie, or lose outright.

Totals (Over-Under)

In addition to a point spread, oddsmakers will also set a total on each game. A totals bet, also called an over-under, is a bet on whether you think the combined number of points scored by both teams will go over or under the sportsbook’s line.

Totals Example

Boston Celtics o206 -110
New York Knicks u206 -110

The total doesn’t necessarily reflect what oddsmakers think the final score will be. Rather, it’s a number selected to get an equal amount of bets placed on the over and under.

Here, a bet on the over will need the final score to be over 206. Examples of winning scores would be 106-101, 110-100, and 116-91.

A bet on the under would need the score to total less than 206 to win, such as 100-99, 105-100, and 120-85.

You’ll notice that the example total is a whole number. If the final score of this game is 106-100, the result of the bet is a “push” or tie. The sportsbook would return your wager amount. A push is usually a bad result for the sportsbooks because they have to also return the vig. That means they don’t make any money.

Moneyline

If you don’t want to worry about secondary results like the point spread or total line, you can bet the moneyline. Simply choose a team to win the game.

Oddsmakers issue odds on the moneyline in order to balance the sportsbook’s action. You’ll need to risk more on a favorite. But you can win more by betting on an underdog.

Moneyline Example

Chicago Bulls +245
Philadelphia 76ers -305

The minus sign indicates the favorite. This number tells you how much you need to bet in order to win $100. For the favorite Philadelphia, you would have to risk $305 in order to win $100.

The underdog has less of a chance to win the game. You don’t have to risk as much compared to the favorite. You also collect a higher payout if they do win. For the underdog Bulls, +245 means that you have to bet $100 to win $245 if Chicago pulls off the upset.

There’s no set formula, but moneylines often correlate to the point spread. For example, a heavy moneyline favorite suggests a larger than normal point spread. In our example, the odds equate to a spread of about 6.5.

Futures

Unlike the single-game bets above, a futures bet is a long-term proposition. It can be made at any point prior to a championship, playoff, final division standings, or individual award announcements like MVP or Rookie of the Year.

Odds can be set for futures bets as soon as the end of the NBA Finals of the previous season.

Futures odds change based on trades and other moves during the offseason. Later, how a team plays – along with other key factors like injuries – throughout the course of the season.

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Futures Example

Betting on a team to win the NBA Finals wasn’t very difficult in the recent past, as heavy favorites routinely reached the final round or won the championship.

From 2012 to the 2019 playoffs, the team with the lowest odds to win the NBA championship in the preseason ended up winning the title five times, and the other three, it lost in the NBA Finals.

But the preseason favorites in the 2021 or ’22 playoffs didn’t advance past the second round. In fact, none of the top-three favorites going into the 2021-22 season reached the conference finals round.

In the fall of 2019, the favorites to win the NBA title that season were the Los Angeles Clippers +425 and Los Angeles Lakers +450. The Lakers ended up winning the Finals in the summer of 2020.

The season before, however, the eventual champion Toronto Raptors had five teams ahead of them in the preseason odds, and if you bet on the Raptors to win the championship before the season started, you could’ve had them at odds of +1850.

Futures betting is not only about picking the right team, but doing so at the right time to maximize your potential winnings.

NBA Betting Events

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Besides the midseason All-Star Game, the focus turns to the NBA starting each April for the NBA Playoffs.

Play-in Series

The playoffs consist of 16 teams total, eight each from the Eastern and Western Conferences. The six teams with the best conference records advance to the main part of the playoffs.

Since 2020, the NBA has used a play-in format to determine the final two playoff teams in each conference. The teams that are No. 7 to 10 in the standings advance to the play-in series.

The winner of the game between Nos. 7 and 8 advances as the 7-seed to the playoffs. The loser of the game between Nos. 9 and 10 is eliminated.

Finally, the loser of the 7 vs. 8 matchup plays the winner of the 9 vs. 10 contest. The winner of that game becomes the 8-seed in the playoffs.

Early Playoffs Rounds

Each series in the NBA Playoffs are best-of-seven, meaning that the first team to win four games wins the series. The higher-seeded team hosts Games 1, 2, 5, and 7, while the other team hosts Games 3, 4, and 6.

In the first round, the teams are seeded based on conference record. The bracket is set by the seeding: 1 plays 8 and 4 plays 5, with the winners meeting in the next round. 3 plays 6 and 2 plays 7, and the winners of those two series meet in the second round.

Conference Finals

The third round of the playoffs is known as the Conference Finals round. This follows the same format as the previous two playoff rounds. The winners meet in the NBA Finals.

NBA Finals

The NBA Finals get the most attention of all from fans and the media. It’s also a best-of-seven series. The team with the better regular-season record earns home-court advantage hosting Games 1, 2, 5, and 7. The first team to win the series becomes the season’s NBA champion.

Betting on Major NBA Events

Futures Bet

We talked earlier about NBA Finals futures bets. You can also place futures bets on conference champions and even on the winner of an individual series before it begins. These bets allow you to have action on a team or series while also being able to enjoy placing single-game bets.

When to Bet

We covered the pros and cons of betting on futures events early or late in the season above. You can also take advantage of timing on playoff single-game bets.

Sometimes, oddsmakers will underestimate how the public will make bets on a specific matchup. If you see an opening line that looks overly favorable on a specific team, jump on it before sportsbooks adjust it to balance the betting out. Lines are often released the morning after a game concludes.

Waiting until just before a game begins can also pay off. This is especially the case when there are potential injury or illness concerns.

Teams will often wait until a couple of hours before a game to rule a certain player out. These changes can shift betting action dramatically. So betting just before tipoff can be beneficial since you will have all the latest information.

Single-Game Alternatives

You can bet alternate point spreads or totals for most playoff games. These are either available for a certain half or quarter. Or you can add or subtract points from a spread at the cost of odds. This is also called buying points.

For instance, you could take Golden State at -2.5 instead of -3.5. However the odds on that bet would also shift from -110 to something like -165. Here, you’re buying points to increase your chance of winning.

Prop bets are also available in many regular-season NBA games. They increase in quantity for the playoffs, conference finals, and NBA Finals.

Props are bets that are separate from the result of the game. One example is betting whether Stephen Curry will outscore LeBron James in the same game. Another example is betting which team will log more rebounds in a matchup.

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Popular NBA Teams

Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers are tied with the Boston Celtics at 17 NBA titles. Some of the most popular players in NBA history have worn the famous purple and gold uniform. The team originally began playing in Minneapolis but moved to Los Angeles in 1960. Since then, the Lakers have had legendary players like Jerry West, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Kobe Bryant help win its first 16 titles.

The Lakers also won five of their championships under head coach Phil Jackson. Coach Pat Riley was responsible for winning titles from 1987-89 and coining the phrase, “threepeat.” More recently, LeBron James and Anthony Davis led the Lakers to their 17th title in 2020.

Boston Celtics

The Celtics are the other team with 17 NBA titles and have a rich history on the East Coast–along with a Lakers rivalry that has spanned decades. The early history of the Celtics was dominated by Bill Russell who helped Boston to 11 NBA titles, a record for a player that still stands. As part of those 11, Russell’s Celtics won eight titles in a row from 1959-66.

The Celtics had a resurgence in the 1980s behind Larry Bird, Robert Parrish, and Kevin McHale winning three more championships from 1981-86. In 2008, the team won another title and reached the Finals in 2010 with a new “big three”: Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Ray Allen. The 2008 and 2010 appearances were against the Lakers, notching two of the teams’ record 12 Finals matchups.

New York Knicks

While the Knicks aren’t as decorated as the Lakers and Celtics, they are consistently one of the NBA’s most popular and well-known teams. The Knicks play in what’s called the “World’s Most Famous Arena,” Madison Square Garden, which sits in the heart of Manhattan in New York City.

New York has just two NBA titles to its name, occurring in 1970 and ’73 with Willis Reed, Walt “Clyde” Frazier, and Earl “the Pearl” Monroe. In the 1990s the Knicks were one of the most successful franchises with stars like Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley, John Starks, and later, Latrell Sprewell and Allan Houston. The team reached the NBA Finals in 1994 and ’99 but did not win in either appearance.

Chicago Bulls

The NBA exploded in popularity in the 1990s under a new crop of stars led by Michael Jordan turning his Chicago Bulls into a household name. Jordan is arguably the best player in NBA history and is also likely the most well-known.

After finally defeating the Detroit Pistons to reach the NBA Finals in 1991, Jordan’s Bulls won the first of three-straight NBA titles. Jordan abruptly retired after the 1993 NBA Finals and played pro baseball in 1994. Jordan then returned to the Bulls to win three more titles from 1996-98. Head coach Phil Jackson along with Scottie Pippen, Horace Grant, Dennis Rodman, current Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, and Tony Kukoc were just some of the players who created the Bulls dynasty.

While the Bulls haven’t reached the Finals since Jordan left the team in 1998, they have won two division titles since then and remain one of the most iconic franchises in the NBA.

Golden State Warriors

The Warriors won three NBA championships early in their history (1947, ’56, ’75) but went through a long period of average play throughout the ’80s, ’90s, and early 2000s. Things started to change when the team drafted Stephen Curry in 2009. Despite some poor results, the team continued to build their roster through the draft, selecting Draymond Green in 2010 and Klay Thompson in 2011.

Those picks paid off by 2015. After hiring Steve Kerr as head coach, the Warriors reached the NBA Finals in five-straight seasons, trailing only Boston’s 10 from 1957-66 for the longest Finals streak in league history. The team won three of those five NBA Finals, winning two with Kevin Durant along with the core three of Curry, Thompson, and Green.

Golden State moved from its longtime home of Oakland, California to nearby San Francisco in 2019. The Warriors returned to the NBA Finals in 2022, winning a fourth title in eight years with Curry, Thompson, Green, and Kerr.

NBA Betting Strategies

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Fatigue Management

Because there are just five players on the court at the same time and anywhere from nine to 12 players taking part in a typical game, star players have a huge impact on a game’s result. But making sure stars, especially veteran ones, remain healthy throughout the season is one of the key jobs of the head coach.

Because of that, he may choose to rest key players in certain games. Most often, these rests occur in the second game when playing on back-to-back days, even more so if that second game is on the road. Another time is at the end of a long road trip, especially if it is a team playing on the opposite coast of where they are based.

Teams will not usually disclose lineup changes until just a couple of hours before tip-off. A star player’s absence can significantly shift a game’s line. This creates a potential betting opportunity on the other team.

Try to predict when a star player will sit out and bet on the other team before the line is adjusted. Timing it right will give you a several-point advantage than if you waited until after the lineups are announced.

Hedging at Halftime

If you’re a regular NBA fan, you’ve probably noticed that there are large swings in momentum in many games. If you’re playing at a sportsbook that accepts live bets, you can take advantage of these potential swings.

For instance, say you bet on the Miami Heat, who are +3 underdogs in a game on the road at Milwaukee. Well, the first half really went your way, and Miami is ahead by 15 at halftime. During the break, check the second-half line. Oddsmakers will likely feel that the Bucks will be more aggressive in trying to come back, so let’s say the second-half line is Milwaukee -6.

By placing this bet on the Bucks to win the second half by at least six points, you’ve hedged your original bet, which means you can’t have a losing result in the game. You also, however, have given yourself a chance to win both bets. If the Bucks win the second half by anywhere from 7 to 17 points, they would cover the second-half spread and Miami would cover your initial +3 bet as well.

1st Half Point Scored Miami 45 – Milwaukee 30
2nd Half Points Scored Miami 40 – Milwaukee (from 47 to 57) Milwaukee would cover -6 2nd Half
Game Result Miami 85 – Milwaukee (from 77 to 87) – Miami covers +3 Game

Find the Shaded Lines

Line shading is a term that describes how an oddsmaker will set the line on a game when they expect the public to bet heavily on one side of a matchup. Remember, the job of the oddsmaker is to keep the betting even on both sides. Lines may be set one to three (or more) points higher than it normally might be if they expect most of the bets on a certain team. This makes a bet on the underdog more attractive to the sharp bettor.

The key is to know when line shading is happening. This requires you to carefully follow NBA news and trends. One example is when a popular team is on a hot streak. Say the Warriors, a team that’s often in the NBA headlines, has won 10-straight games. This will likely draw plenty of media attention–and casual bettors looking to take advantage of Golden State’s hot streak.

In order to discourage people from betting on Golden State, the sportsbooks will shade the line by a couple points. They’ll set the Warriors at -11 instead of -9 like they normally would. This means you would be getting two free points by taking the opposing team.