Welcome to our NBA betting hub page! In this section of our website, we cover everything there is to know about the NBA, along with links to some of our best content that goes even deeper into things you need to know about the association.
Let’s get started, beginning with what to look for when joining an NBA betting site!
There are a lot of different factors that go into determining what is the best NBA betting site for you to use. Our team of experts takes a look at several factors when seeking out the best sites for our readers, and we’ve shared them for you below.
The most important thing about betting online, of course, is knowing that you’ll get paid if you win. Some betting sites out there don’t have the greatest of histories when it comes to payouts, but there are also many sites with stellar histories in that department. You need to make sure that whatever site you bet with has a solid reputation for paying winning bettors promptly.
Does sports betting really get any more convenient than using a website? It may not seem like it, but betting sites can still vary greatly when it comes to ease of use. For example, some have apps that you can download to make it easier to bet on your smartphone, while others don’t even have a mobile-friendly website. Access to customer support and the ability to place wagers via a phone call are other things that make some sites more convenient than others.
If you’re strictly betting point spreads and totals, the majority of betting sites deal -110 odds on those wagers, so you won’t need to shop around that much (although 5Dimes does offer reduced juice, allowing you to bet spreads and totals at -105 pricing instead). But if you like betting moneylines, props, futures, or live odds, some sites are definitely stronger than others. You may even want to sign up at a few different sites just to make sure you’re always getting the best odds possible.
With so many betting sites out there, many of them offer sign-up and reload bonuses in order to attract your business. There will always be certain conditions to meet before you can cash out on a bonus, so make sure you are using sites that have the most player-friendly requirements. Other than that, it makes total sense to capitalize on as many bonuses as possible, although you still need to make sure you’re only using the most reliable sites.
If you’re a big bettor, you don’t want to be handcuffed by low limits that some smaller betting sites impose on NBA games in order to protect themselves from liability. Bovada, for example, limits NBA point spread bets at $1,000 per wager, so they may not be a great fit for you if you routinely bet more than that. The good news is that several other reputable sites do accept wagers much bigger than that on a regular basis.
One other thing you want in an NBA betting site is the ability to place any bet that you want. Sites that don’t specialize in NBA will still offer standard wagering options like the moneyline, point spread, and totals, but they might not have many props, futures, or other exotic bets to choose from.
With so many things to consider before choosing what’s the best NBA betting site for you, it can be pretty intimidating. Fortunately, we’re very familiar with all the betting sites out there and have come out with this recommended list of best NBA sites.
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Compared to leagues like the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball, both of which were founded over 100 years ago, the National Basketball Association really hasn’t been around that long. Even though basketball was invented in the late 1800s by Massachusetts phys-ed teacher Dr. James Naismith, it wasn’t until 1946 that the Basketball Association of America (BAA) became the first legitimate professional basketball league, featuring games in major cities and in large arenas.
When teams from rival leagues began joining the BAA, the league changed its name to the National Basketball Association in 1949 in order to avoid potential legal ramifications. The first-ever version of the NBA included 17 teams, though the league quickly consolidated down to 8 clubs in an effort to only have teams in large cities. All of those 8 teams remain in the NBA today, although only the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics have stayed in the same city with the same name.
Throughout the 1960s, the league continued to evolve and grow, especially out west. The Lakers moved to Los Angeles, the Philadelphia Warriors relocated to San Francisco, the Syracuse Nationals became the Philadelphia 76ers, and the St. Louis Hawks migrated to Atlanta, while expansion teams were founded in Chicago, Seattle (now Oklahoma City), San Diego (now Houston), Milwaukee, and Phoenix.
When the American Basketball Association was founded in 1967 and began attracting top players such as former NBA leading scorer Rick Barry, the NBA responded by adding teams in Portland, Cleveland, Buffalo (now the Los Angeles Clippers), and New Orleans (now the Utah Jazz), taking away major cities for the ABA to expand to itself. Within 10 years, the NBA and ABA came to a settlement that saw the NBA add 4 more ABA franchises (San Antonio, Denver, Indiana, and the New York Nets, who later moved to Brooklyn).
NBA expansion then slowed dramatically, with only the Dallas Mavericks (1980) joining the league until 4 more teams were awarded to Charlotte, Miami, Orlando, and Minnesota in the late 1980s. Since then, the Vancouver Grizzlies (now Memphis), Toronto Raptors, and New Orleans Pelicans have been the only additions, and the league has not expanded since 2002.
The number of teams in the league or where they were located weren’t the only things that changed in the NBA over the years. The association made a number of rule changes during that time as well, whether to resolve a particular issue or in order to improve the quality and entertainment value of the game.
The first major change was the outlawing of zone defenses in 1947, requiring teams to play man-to-man on the perimeter instead of simply clogging the key and making it impossible for offenses to get close to the basket. This resulted in higher-scoring games and promoted more individualism on offense (although zone defenses were once again permitted beginning in 2001-02).
Another significant rule change came in 1954 with the introduction of the 24-second shot clock. The move put an end to stalling tactics that had been used by teams who had the lead and simply passed the ball around the perimeter instead of attempting to score. It also sped up the pace of the game and limited the number of fouls that were intentionally being committed by defenses desperate to get the ball back. Within a couple of years of the shot clock being added to the game, the NBA had increased scoring by nearly 60 points per game and also saw attendance grow by 40%.
One other NBA rule change that must be included here is the implementation of the 3-point shot, which took place in 1979. Under the rule, successful baskets made from behind the 3-point line were worth 1 more point than shots that were made closer to the basket. Although some basketball purists criticized 3-pointers as being a gimmick, the rule immediately increased scoring in NBA games and also benefited smaller players who weren’t as effective against interior defenders. Today, the 3-point shot has become a major weapon for teams such as the Golden State Warriors who are loaded with perimeter-shooting specialists to exploit the extra point being awarded for baskets made on longer shots.
Even though 29 of the NBA’s 30 teams are located in the United States (the other is in Toronto, just an hour north of the American border), the association enjoys a truly international following. Although there are many basketball leagues in the world (especially in Europe), the NBA is unquestionably the league that attracts the best talent from across the globe.
A big reason for all that international appeal is the diversity of the players in the league. When the US sent its first-ever “Dream Team” to the 1992 Summer Olympics (after the Olympics started allowing pro players to participate), it shot a huge spotlight on basketball that generated a lot of interest in the sport. That popularity grew, even more, when Chinese superstar Yao Ming joined the NBA in 2002 and became the first non-American player to ever lead the NBA in all-star voting.
As of 2014, the NBA featured 92 international players from 39 different countries, and those numbers continue to grow. Not only are these players competing in the best league in the world, but many of them are also dominating. Germany’s Dirk Nowitzki recently retired as the sixth-highest scorer in NBA history, while Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria), Patrick Ewing (Jamaica), Steve Nash (Canada), Tony Parker (France), Pau Gasol (Spain), and Vlade Divac (Serbia) are other examples of international players who starred for years in the NBA.
More recently, Australia’s Ben Simmons was the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft, while Dragan Bender (Croatia), Buddy Hield (Bahamas), Jamal Murray (Canada), Jakob Poltl (Austria), Thon Maker (Australia), Lauri Markkanen (Finland), and Frank Ntilikina (France) were among the first 10 selections in either the 2016 or 2017 draft.
The high-scoring nature of basketball helps make the NBA’s stars much more marketable as well. The fact that NBA players don’t wear hats, masks, or helmets helps with that, as the faces of superstars in the sport are very recognizable across the planet. According to Forbes, 32 of the 100 highest-paid athletes in 2018 were NBA players, led by LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Steph Curry.
Even though the NBA is technically a team game, it’s also the pro league in which its stars stand out the most. While football is 11-on-11 and players typically play just half the game (offense or defense), baseball players bat only 4-5 times per game, and hockey stars are just 1 of 20 players on their roster, NBA superstars can be on the court for 80% of the game or more, often with the ball in their hand.
And the NBA has certainly seen more than its share of legendary talents over the years. Here are just a few of the notable players who dominated the association for long stretches during their brilliant careers.
Jordan might have been the most complete basketball player ever. Best known early in his career for his explosive dunks, His Airness was also an incredible clutch player who did whatever it took to win, including playing suffocating defense. Jordan’s brief 2-year retirement from basketball in the mid-1990s might have been the only thing that prevented the shooting guard from leading the Bulls to 8 straight NBA championships.
The most dominant center to ever play in the NBA, Abdul-Jabbar retired in 1989 as the top scorer in league history. Armed with an unstoppable skyhook on offense and a tremendous shot-blocking ability on defense, Kareem was such an incredible talent that he is the only player on a non-playoff team to ever win the league’s MVP award.
Russell doesn’t have the same eye-popping statistics that the other top NBA legends have, but that’s only because defensive stats like blocks and steals weren’t tracked when he patrolled the paint for the Celtics in the 1960s. The center anchored some of the best defensive units in NBA history and won an unmatched 11 league titles.
The numbers that “Wilt the Stilt” put up for the Warriors, 76ers, and Lakers in the 1960s and early 1970s are still staggering to this day. Even if some of those stats were a bit inflated by the faster pace that games were played at during his career, Chamberlain remains the only player to ever score 100 points in a game. The 7-foot-1 center also averaged more than 50 points and 25 rebounds per game in the entire 1961-62 season.
Even though the book of LeBron’s career has yet to be completed, it’s undeniable that he’ll go down as one of the greatest to ever play in the NBA. An unprecedented blend of size, strength, and athleticism, King James revolutionized the shooting guard position. Although his number of career NBA titles (3 as of 2018) may not compare well to some of the other legends, James has single-handedly carried numerous teams to the NBA Finals and delivered the city of Cleveland its first-ever NBA championship in 2016.
Each spring, the NBA champion is determined by the NBA Finals, a best-of-7 series that concludes that year’s playoffs. Under the current format, the champion of the Western Conference faces the winner of the Eastern Conference, with home-court advantage going to the team that posted the best record during the regular season.
Over the years, it’s become common to see the same team in the NBA Finals in several consecutive years, or even for the same team to win the championship. Due to how much a single player can dominate a basketball game, there have been numerous dynasties in the NBA, whether it’s the Minneapolis Lakers of the 1950s (4 titles in 5 years), the Boston Celtics of the 1960s (11 titles in 13 years under legendary coach Red Auerbach), the showtime Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s (8 Finals appearances and 5 titles during that decade), or Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls of the 1990s (6 championships in 8 years).
The salary cap era has helped prevent sustained domination by one team since the turn of the century, as no team has won 3 straight championships since the Lakers from 2000-02. However, as of 2018, LeBron James had led either the Heat or Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 7 straight seasons, while the Warriors, Spurs, Lakers, and Mavericks had represented the West in 18 of the last 20 NBA Finals.
Even if it’s often the same teams and players in the NBA Finals, it hasn’t taken away from the popularity of basketball’s showcase event. In the United States alone, the average viewership for an NBA Finals game has been well over 15 million people since 2007, with numbers skyrocketing to more than 31 million for Game 7 between the Warriors and Cavaliers in 2016. Don’t forget, those numbers don’t even account for the millions of other people watching in other countries, making the NBA Finals one of the top 5 most popular sporting events in the world.
As the NBA has grown in popularity over the past 20 years, so has the appetite for betting on the league. In order to keep up with the increased demand and to make sure they can attract as many new basketball bettors as possible, online betting sites continue to offer more and more ways to bet on the NBA, which is only good news for you as a basketball bettor. Whether you want to bet on the result of the actual game or just how one particular team or even player will perform, you shouldn’t have a problem finding odds for anything on a typical NBA night.
Here’s a rundown of the most popular NBA betting options that you’ll find at any of the top NBA betting sites.
The point spread is the most popular way to bet on many sports, and the NBA is no exception.
In case you’re not aware, the point spread is a handicap that the oddsmaker applies to the game in order to level the playing field. If you bet on the better team (the favorite), that team will have to win the game by more points than the spread in order for you to win your wager. If you bet on the worse team (the underdog), you will win your bet as long as the underdog does not lose by more points than the spread.
There are a couple of distinct advantages of betting point spreads in the NBA. One is that you don’t have to risk a lot to win a little on the favorite since point spread bets pay close to even money on both sides (typically -110 odds). Another is that it increases your chances of winning bets on underdogs since they only need to keep the game close, not pull off the outright upset.
The one big downside of betting point spreads in the NBA, however, is the unpredictability of the final minutes of basketball games. When teams are trailing late in the game, they’ll intentionally foul the team that is winning in an effort to get the ball back. All of those free throws in the dying seconds can quickly turn a 3-point game into a 7-point game, often affecting the point spread in the process.
Betting NBA moneylines allows you to not have to worry about all of those last-minute free throws affecting your wager. All you’re doing on a moneyline wager is betting on whichever team wins the game. The amount of points a team wins the game by doesn’t matter.
Moneylines can be especially lucrative if you like the underdog to win the game. Instead of taking the underdog +3 on the point spread at -110 odds, you can give yourself a chance to win a lot more money (+150, for example) if the underdog pulls off the outright upset.
The flip side of betting NBA moneylines is that you’ll often need to risk a lot more than you hope to win when betting favorites. When the best team in the league is facing the worst, for example, you might end up having to risk $20 for every $1 you hope to win, which isn’t ideal.
Betting the over/under in the NBA is when you wager on the number of points that will be scored in the game. Oddsmakers will post a total for every game, and you bet on whether there will be more points than the total (over) or less points (under). Similar to point spreads, over/under wagers pay close to even money for either outcome.
Over/unders are a fun way to bet on the NBA because they keep you involved throughout the game, regardless of how many points a team is winning by. They can also be a very profitable way to wager on the action if you are good at predicting when games will be fast-paced and high-scoring or when the defenses will dominate.
Live betting (when you bet on games while they’re in progress) may soon become the most popular way to bet on the NBA. That’s because basketball is a game of momentum, and several consecutive baskets by either team is enough to cause massive swings in the live betting odds that you can take advantage of.
For example, if a 5-point favorite falls behind by 10 points in the first quarter, you might suddenly be able to bet them at an underdog price on the live betting odds. Or if the favorite comes out with a lot of energy and hits all of its shots early to take a big lead, you might be able to get +10 or higher on the underdog.
Live betting can also be useful when betting totals. If both teams are shooting the lights out early and there’s a ton of points, you can live bet the under at a much higher number with the knowledge that the hot shooting isn’t sustainable. And if both teams are missing the majority of their shots in the first quarter, the over will be available at a much lower number on the live betting odds.
Props are where NBA betting options have grown the most in recent years. The popularity of daily fantasy sports forced online betting sites to start posting odds for how individual players would perform during games, and sites have also added a lot of props for the overall game as well.
Typical player props include over/unders on how many points, assists, or rebounds a player will get during a game, or whether a certain player will score more points than another player. Game props that you can bet on include which team will score the first basket, which team will be the first to score a certain number of points (10, 20, 30, etc.), what the biggest lead of the game will be at any point, or how many successful 3-point shots will be made.
Some betting tips are applicable for all sports. For example, you always need to be aware of injuries, how each team has played recently, motivation levels, and so on.
Here are three betting tips specifically for the NBA, especially if you’re new to betting on basketball in general.
The NBA is a matchup league in which certain players guard certain opponents, something you don’t see as much in hockey or even football. In addition to looking at how players have fared against other players in the past, look at how each team’s offense matches up against each team’s defense.
For example, one team may struggle defending 3-pointers, which would be bad news against a team that excels at shooting the 3. Or a team could be really strong at forcing turnovers, making them a tough matchup for teams who don’t take very good care of the ball.
This is a big one. The NBA schedule will often see teams play for two straight nights or three times in four days, putting those squads at a pretty big fatigue disadvantage if they’re facing rested opponents. Tired legs will affect all aspects of a team’s performance, from their ability to run the floor to their ability to jump for rebounds or even shoot the ball.
Since both teams often score 100 points or more in an NBA game, you may not think that a single point matters that much on the point spread or over/under. However, a single point (or even a half point) matters a lot in the NBA, where so many games are decided close to the point spread or total. Before you place an NBA bet, take the time to look around at the odds offered by other NBA betting sites to make sure you’re getting the best possible number on your wager.
We wrote a much longer article about NBA betting strategy that covers these concepts and more in greater detail.
Congratulations, you’ve made it all the way through our NBA hub page! By now, you probably feel like you have a pretty strong grasp on the NBA, from the evolution of the game to what to look for when betting on the action. Now that you’re ready to give NBA betting a try, you have several options.
The easiest is to walk into a casino and place a bet at a sportsbook. However, unless you’re lucky enough to live in Nevada or somewhere else where sports betting is legalized and regulated by the government, that probably isn’t a possibility for you unless you’re willing to board a plane and fly there. And even if you live in Vegas, most brick-and-mortar sportsbooks don’t offer nearly the NBA betting selection that you can find elsewhere.
Another option involves using an online betting site. We recommend several based on their history and reliability. The top NBA betting sites allow you to bet safely by only risking money you have in your account. Some sites that offer Bitcoin deposits may even allow you to bet anonymously.
All right – it’s time to take off the training wheels! Go join an NBA betting site and make a deposit so that you can start betting on the NBA!