Basketball is the second-most popular sport in the United States behind football, and it is one of the fastest growing sports worldwide. Over the last 30 years, basketball has grown and evolved by leaps and bounds, and that has made betting on basketball increasingly popular. The NBA is far and away the best basketball league in the world, so betting on the NBA accounts for more money than all other leagues combined. There are many ways to bet on the NBA, and the types of NBA bets listed below are the most prevalent.
Types of NBA Betting
As with football, the most common bet in basketball is the spread bet. When you are making a spread bet, you are betting on a team to stay within or win by a certain number of points. For instance, if the spread in a game is 8.5 points, the underdog will cover the spread if they lose by eight points or less or win outright, while the favorite will cover the spread if they win by nine points or more.
Garbage time can play a significant factor in the outcome of spread bets as teams empty the benches once the game is decided. That can lead to a team that was up by 15 points only winning by nine points, potentially giving bettors a loss in a game where they were ahead of the number most of the time. Also, fortunes tend to change at the end of games as teams that are losing in close games send opponents to the free throw line. This is their only shot to win the game, but it can wreak havoc on a team’s ability to cover.
If you don’t want to deal with the ups and downs of spread betting, you might want to bet NBA moneylines. Betting on NBA moneylines means you are simply betting on which team will win the game. Your team could win on a buzzer beater or lead the whole way, as long as they win, your bet cashes. That takes away the worry of a meaningless layup at the end causing you to lose the cover, and bad beats are much less likely with moneyline bets.
Betting on totals or over/unders is another common way to bet the NBA. With total betting, you are betting on the number of points that will be scored in a game. These numbers can vary wildly depending on the teams involved, as fast-paced teams that shoot a lot of threes tend to score and give up more points than teams that play at a slower pace. Overtime counts when it comes to total betting, so factor that into your calculations when betting on NBA totals.
Halves and Quarters Betting
If you don’t want to watch the whole game or only want to have action for a quarter or a half, there is betting on NBA halves and quarters. There are typically moneyline, spread, and total bets that can be broken down into quarters or halves. You might want to only bet on a portion of the game if a star player is on a minutes cap, or you might want to bet the first quarter as the starters usually play the entire first quarter before resting at the start of the second quarter.
NBA Futures Betting
Betting NBA futures can be a profitable endeavor. You typically see longer odds when betting NBA futures, as the tradeoff is you have to wait a longer period of time to collect your winnings. Betting on the NBA Finals winner is by far the most popular futures bet, but you can also wager on teams to win their conferences or divisions, and how many games they will win during the regular season.
Most games will have various prop bets for you to wager on. There are game-specific prop bets like the total number of three-pointers that will be made or the first team to 10 or 20 points, and there are also prop bets on certain players to hit statistical benchmarks like points, rebounds, and assists. These types of NBA bets can be some of the most fun wagers to make, as you are cheering for a player every time he touches the ball rather than the game itself.