Betting On Different Sports

How To Bet On Basketball


Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world. Millions of people all over the globe enjoy watching the sport in numerous leagues and tournaments year after year.


It is similarly one of the most popular sports to bet on, with bookmakers offering a broad range of betting types and markets in which you can find many value opportunities.The most popular league in the world is the National Basketball Association in the United States. The NBA began in 1946 with just 11 teams.

Over the past six decades the league has grown to 30 teams across the North American continent attracting the best talent from not only America but in recent decades players from across Europe, Asia, Africa and South America. Each team in the NBA plays an 82 game regular season, with 41 home games and 41 away games.

Such a number of games played over a seven month period provides us with many opportunities to find value, with games played daily. But if the NBA doesn't provide you with enough opportunities, then there's always college basketball, where thousands of games are played every season, with dozens of games on the schedule night after night.

See all active bettingexpert tips on basketball

Betting On Basketball - Spread Betting

Spread betting is the most popular form of betting on basketball. It also goes by the name of Line betting. But whatever you like to call it, it is essentially a form of handicap betting. If you go to your preferred bookmaker you will see NBA games listed in the following manner:

Los Angeles Lakers -5.5 VS Boston Celtics +5.5.

What this means is that if you bet on the Lakers to beat the spread, they must win by more than 5.5 points, or in other words, their winning margin must be 6 points or greater. However if you bet on the Celtics to cover the spread, they have to win the game outright or lose by a maximum of 5 points.

Betting On Basketball Underdogs

Like many other sports and leagues, the average punter likes to bet on favourites. This can often mean that the market is distorted in favour of underdogs, particularly underdogs receiving large handicaps. We can look at just a few simple statistics to demonstrate this in betting on basketball.

Over the last 10 NBA seasons, teams playing away as underdogs of +12 points or greater have covered the line over 53% of time. We see similar trends in college basketball where underdogs of +17 points or greater similarly have a strike rate of over 53%. Yes, this strike rate will not make you rich any time soon. However, it displays the point that a bias exists in the market in favour of lowly regarded underdogs. Always keep this in mind when assessing your bets. When a team is often regarded as having no chance of winning the game, the spread is often in their favour.

Much in the same way that the average punter likes to bet favourites in the NBA, they also like to bet on popular teams. The most popular team in the NBA is the Los Angeles Lakers. Yes they have been a successful team over the decades, but this successful history often sees average punters throwing silly money in their direction, based purely on reputation alone. However, if we look at some simple statistics, we see that such thoughtless betting on basketball has not been particularly successful.

Over the last 10 seasons, the Lakers have a strike rate against the spread of just under 47% when playing at home as favourites. When we break this down a little further we see that the Lakers have had a very poor record when highly favoured at home. When playing at home over the last 10 seasons and favourites of -10 or greater, the Lakers have a strike rate against the spread of just 37%. A fairly remarkable number.

We see similar stats when we look at another popular team, the Boston Celtics. When home favourites of more than -10 over the last 10 seasons, the Celtics have a strike rate of 45%. Likewise the Chicago Bulls, 43%. The lesson here is that there are teams the average punter will automatically assume are good. Some of these teams are historically popular, while others like the Miami Heat are popular in the current era. It pays to find situations in which to bet against these teams or where to avoid them altogether.

Betting On Basketball Totals

Betting on the total points scored in a game is a very popular form of betting on basketball. Depending on the league or tournament, the number of points scored will vary significantly. In the NBA, point totals will land in the range of 180 to 220 points game to game, with the average in the mid 190 point range. In college and European basketball, you can expect to see point totals in the range of 120 to 160 points.

So how can you succeed betting on basketball totals? The first thing is to not pay any attention to a team's short term averages. This wont help you much. What you want to be keeping a note of are occurrences. For example, games featuring the New York Knicks may have had an average of 195 in their last 10 games. But one of those games may have been an overtime result that saw 245 points scored. This result will distort the average significantly.

So rather than depend on averages, look at how often a team's game have gone over or under a given points total. For example, if the total listed for an upcoming Knicks game is 195 points, make a record of how many times recent Knicks games have gone over or under that total. If you can identify a significant trend either over or under that 195 point line, you may want to consider taking that bet.

Another thing to consider are recent meetings between the two competing teams. This will give you a good indication of what you might expect to see in the game. Likewise, take into account how teams play when they are at home and when they are away. You can often find quite a contrast between the two. Lastly, consider the situation a team is playing in. A team may normally prefer fast paced high scoring games, but they may be at the end of a long schedule of away games and be more inclined to maintain a slow pace resulting in a lower scoring game.

How To Bet On The NBA


NBA Odds Explained

NBA odds are displayed in three popular formats. These are:

Many of you reading this article will be familiar with Moneyline (American) odds. However for the purposes of this NBA betting guide, we will display odds in the decimal format. Why? Because they are much easier to work with than American and Fractional odds.

As with any sports, understanding betting odds is crucial to profitable NBA betting. If you do not understand how betting odds are calculated and the probabilities they express, you're going to have a difficult time being a successful NBA bettor.

The video below provides an easy introduction to betting odds and their implied probabilities.

Read More About Calculating Betting Odds

To learn more about betting odds and how to convert them to other popular formats, please read our guide to converting betting odds.


NBA Betting Explained

In this section we will discuss how to bet on the NBA and the diverse range of NBA odds available at virtually every bookmaker in the industry. As you most likely assume, there are many different ways to bet on the NBA. From the more traditional NBA bet types to the more exotic, bookmakers everywhere provide you with a deep menu of markets to exploit through the NBA season. Here we will look at the most popular NBA odds.

NBA Handicap Betting Explained

Let's start with the most popular and most traditional way of betting on NBA games. This is most commonly referred to as a point spread, but goes by other names such as the betting line or handicap.

So what is a NBA point spread?

A NBA point spread is an estimated final margin that a bookmaker will list for an upcoming NBA game. Bookmakers regard this 'margin' as a 50/50 bet in that they believe there is a 50% chance that the actual final margin of the game will end on one side of their margin as it does the other. When you bet on a NBA point spread you are predicting which side of this margin the game will finish on.

How to bet on NBA basketball point spread

Let's take a look at an example. Let's say that the Indiana Pacers are playing the Brooklyn Nets. The point spread for this game is listed at bookmaker Ladbrokes as:

How to bet on the NBA

So what does this mean?

To begin with, the Pacers are the favourites as they have the minus handicap while the Nets are the underdogs with the plus handicap.

In this game, the bookmakers have determined that the final margin will be either side of Indiana by 8.5 points. As a bettor, you can bet that the final margin will be either side of this line.

So if you think that Indiana will win by more than 8.5 points (1.e 9 points or more) you place a bet on Indiana -8.5 points.

Conversely, if you think that Brooklyn will win the game or at the very least will lose by fewer that 8.5 points (8 points or less), you place a bet on Brooklyn +8.5 points.

Determining If Your NBA Spread Bet Is A Winner

So how do you know if your NBA point spread bet was a winner? It's simple to calculate. Let's say that the final score of the game is Indiana 101, Brooklyn 90.

If you had been on the favourite, in this case, Indiana -8.5, you subtract 8.5 points from their final score. In this example, that would create an adjusted final score of Indiana 92.5, Brooklyn 90. With their handicap subtracted from their final score, Indiana still wins the game. In this case, your bet on Indiana -8.5 would be a winning bet.

However, if you had bet on the underdog, in this case Brooklyn +8.5, you add 8.5 points to their final score, giving us an adjusted final score of Indiana 101, Brooklyn 98.5. In this example, even with their handicap added Brooklyn still lose the game. In this case, your bet on Brooklyn +8.5 would be a losing bet.

When a NBA team wins a point spread bet, this is often referred to as that team 'covering the spread'.

Always Take The Best NBA Odds

Odds on NBA point spreads vary from bookmaker to bookmaker. Most bookmakers however offer NBA point spread odds between 1.90 and 1.95. If you're keen to bet on NBA point spreads often, we would recommend you bet with a bookmaker that offers odds of at least 1.92 for this market.

What is a good strike rate for NBA spread betting? If you were to bet on NBA point spreads randomly over the course of a NBA season, you will most likely have a strike rate of around 50% and over the course of a number of years, randomly betting on NBA points spreads should see you hit bang on 50%.

The table below shows the strike rate required in order to start making a profit betting on NBA point spreads.

Betting Line Win % Needed To Make A Profit


OddsWin % Required To ProfitWin % Required For 5% ROI
1.90 52.69% 55.26%
1.91 52.36% 54.97%
1.92 52.08% 54.69%
1.93 51.81% 54.40%
1.94 51.55% 54.12%
1.95 51.29% 53.85%

If you can hit a strike rate of around 54%, you'll be generating fantastic profits. That may sound easy, but it's a difficult strike rate to achieve. If you can achieve it, your betting bankroll will be swelling in no time.

How To Bet NBA Over Under

Given its high scoring nature, another popular NBA bet type is Over Under basketball betting, also known as point totals, or just totals.

What is a NBA Over Under bet?

While point spreads can be a little confusing to the unintiated, Over Under betting is more straightforward. In this case, a bookmaker sets a line on what they believe will be the total combined number of points scored in a NBA game, with a 50% chance that the game will see a total number of points scored either side of this line.

So for example, below we can see the Over Under point total for a NBA game between the Chicago Bulls and the Philadelphia 76ers, with odds listed at bookmaker Winner Sports.

How to bet on the NBA

We can see that Winner Sports believes there is a 50% chance that the total number of points scored in this game will be either side of 203.5 points.

In this example, if we bet on Over 203.5 points, we need the total number of points scored in the game to be at the very least 204. Meanwhile, if we had bet on Under 203.5 points, we need the combined number of points to be at the very most 203 points.

Similar to NBA point spreads, bookmakers will offer you odds between 1.90 and 1.95 for NBA Over Under bets.

Many bookmakers now also offer point totals for individual teams. In this bet type, you can bet whether or not a team will score greater or fewer than a set number of points. Here you are not concerned with the total number of points scored in the game, but only the number of points one of the teams will score.

How To Bet On NBA Moneylines

Lastly, let's look at NBA moneyline bets. A moneyline bet is simply a head to head bet in which you place a bet on which team you think will win the game. This bet type includes over time which is common in NBA games.

Below we can see a NBA moneyline head to head market with odds listed by bookmaker Paddy Power for a game between the Atlanta Hawks and the Utah Jazz.

How to bet on the NBA

Again, this is fairly straightforward. In this example Utah are the favourites at odds of 1.71 while Atlanta are at odds of 2.17.

The popularity of NBA moneyline bets is their simplistic nature. There are no point spreads or betting lines involved. All you need to do is predict who you think is going to win the game. That's it.

So in our example, if you believe the Atlanta Hawks are going to win, you bet on Atlanta at odds of 2.17. If on the other hand you think that Utah Jazz is going to win the game, then you bet on Utah at odds of 1.71.

How To Bet On NBA Futures And Outrights

Another popular way to bet on the NBA is betting on futures and outright markets. This typically involves betting on who will win either:

  • NBA Championship Winner
  • Eastern Conference Winner
  • Western Conference Winner
  • Division Winners
  • NBA Most Valuable Player

At the time of publishing, we can see that the Golden State Warriors were favourites to win the NBA Championship at odds of 1.83 while the Cleveland Cavaliers were at odds of 4.25.

Every NBA futures and outright markets works the same way. You bet on which team or player you think is going to win the championship, conference, division or award. If they do, your bet is a winner.

The popularity of NBA futures bets is that they keep you interested in the league day in day out. Even if you do not have a bet on a game that day, you're still keen to see if the teams you have bet on are doing well.

Other Popular NBA Odds

Thanks to the explosion in online betting, bookmakers now offer a deep menu of NFL odds to bet on. The most popular of these additional markets are:

Additional NBA Game Markets


Alternative Point Spreads
Winning Margins
Halftime/Fulltime
First Quarter Winner
First Half Winner
Quarter Winner

There are also a number of statistical betting markets and odds available. These include:

Additional NBA Statistical Markets


Individual player points
Individual player rebounds
Individual player assists
Total fouls

Where To Bet On NBA Games?

Every bookmaker in the industry lists odds for NBA games. For your NBA betting we recommend the following bookmakers. Click the logo to read about their current new customer bonus offer.

Read about the bet365 bonus
Read about the BetVictor new customer bonus
Read about the Matchbook new customer bonus
Read about the Paddy Power new customer bonus
Read about the Bwin new customer bonus
Read about the Unibet new customer bonus

Detailed Bookmaker Reviews

To find the best bookmakers for your NBA betting, please refer to our list of detailed bookmaker reviews.


NBA Value Bets

As with any sport, successful NBA betting is about finding value bets. What is a value bet?

To put it succinctly, a value bet is where you strongly believe that the outcome is greater than the probability implied in the betting odds available. A simple example is that of a coin toss. Let's say we have been offered odds of 2.30 on a coin toss landing on tails. This is a value bet. Why? Because the chances of the coin landing on tails is 50% while the odds were are being offered have an implied probability of 43.5%.

Let's consider an example of a NBA game. Let's say the Los Angeles Lakers are playing the Houston Rockets. We strongly believe given our analysis that the Lakers are a 40% chance of winning the game. We are being given odds of 3.20 for a Lakers win. Is this a value bet? Yes it is because we believe there is a 40% chance of the Lakers winning while the odds we are are being offered have an implied probability of 31.25%.

Read More About Value Betting

Understanding the concept of value and value betting is key to profitable NBA betting. To learn more about value betting, please read our guide to identifying value bets.


How To Bet On The NBA And Win

As we've made clear, your success as a NBA bettor boils down to one thing and that is your capacity to find value bets. This is true across the board, no matter what NBA odds and markets you are betting on. Being a profitable NBA bettor relies on consistently finding betting value and learning how to bet on basketball and win comes down to this crucial task.

How To Bet On The NBA And Always Win

It's surprising to learn that many new to NBA betting believe that it's possible to learn how to bet on basketball and win every time. Many believe there's a way to bet on the NBA and win if not all of the time, but most of the time. While this would be great, unfortunately it is folly. There is no foolproof way to bet on the NBA. There is no NBA betting system that will see you hit a strike rate of 80% on your point spread bets, or 70% on your NBA totals bets. This is just not going to happen. So do not be fooled by websites claiming to have a secret NBA betting strategy or system that will deliver you winners day in day out.

Yes, it would be fantastic if we had possession of a guaranteed NBA betting system. But there is no such thing. Just like any sport, developing a NBA betting strategy demands dedication, strict discipline and most of all, experience in betting NBA markets.

How To Bet On The NBA: A Ten Step Guide

In this section, we will show you how you can enhance your overall profitability betting on NBA games. We will show you step by step how you can start betting like a true expert and develop a winning NBA betting strategy.

  1. Bet Only When There Is Value
  2. Be Prepared To Learn
  3. Start By Betting The NBA Teams You Are Familiar With
  4. Bet The NBA Markets You Know
  5. Apply Sound Money Management
  6. Keep A Record Of Your NBA Betting
  7. Assess NBA Team Performance Accurately
  8. Mark The NBA Schedule
  9. Follow NBA Tipsters
  10. Have Multiple Bookmaker Accounts

Bet Only When There Is Value

OK, we get it, by now you're probably tired of hearing it, but let us say it again – success betting on NBA games is all about identifying betting value. If you bet on the NBA with no regard for the concept of value or value betting, you are just going to lose money time and time again.

Identifying betting value in the NBA or any other sport takes a great deal of time. But in time and with much experience, you will begin to identify betting value in NBA games much easier than when you first began. In fact, with hard earned experience, you'll often look down the list of the next day's NBA games and see two or three value prospects immediately jump out at you.

We discussed NBA value betting earlier in this betting guide. If you did not read it, please take a read of it now before progressing.

Be Prepared To Learn

This is a difficult lesson for many inexperienced bettors to learn. When you begin betting on a particular sport, it's because you already enjoy watching that sport. In most cases you'll consider yourself a keen observer of the league. You know the teams, you know the players, you know it all.

But let's make it clear. There is a difference between possessing a deep understanding of the NBA and possessing deep understanding of NBA betting markets. Of course, having a thorough knowledge of basketball and the NBA is a great start for any successful NBA bettor. But it's only a foundation. Profitable NBA betting requires that you understand the betting markets you intend to bet on. Understanding the NBA and understanding how to bet on basketball and win are two different things and it's crucial you do not confuse the two.

Gain Experience And A Deeper Understanding Of NBA Betting Markets

The task of the inexperienced NBA bettor is to take the knowledge you have of the league and the game of basketball and adapt it to related NBA betting markets. This takes time and patience, but in the end and with experience, you will discover a new found knowledge and a profound understanding how betting markets work and ultimately, how to identify betting value.

Think of it this way. It's generally easy to determine if a NBA game is going to be a high scoring one. But will there be enough points scored to cover the over under basketball line? Likewise, it's easy to say a particular NBA team in great form at home against a terrible team is likely to win the game. But are they more or less likely to win the game than what the odds on offer suggest?

The point is simple. When it comes to sports betting, humility is a great ally. If you want to be a successful NBA bettor, be prepared to learn.

Or check out how best nba tipters do it here and learn from them.

Start By Betting The NBA Teams You Are Familiar With

If you're betting on the NBA for the first time, it's a great idea to begin betting on games involving the teams and/or divisions you are most familiar with. Yes, it would be great to start out betting on the league as a whole, but the best way to test yourself and to learn gradually is to bet on those teams you know best.

You probably follow a particular team more closely than others. You know their roster. You know their strengths and weaknesses. You know their tactical approach. You also probably have a intimate knowledge of the teams in their division. This all makes for a great start. Yes, you may want to jump into the deep end and start betting on every NBA game on the card. But stay patient. Begin by betting on games involving the teams you know best and work from there.

Bet The NBA Markets You Know

As we have already discussed, the most popular NBA betting markets are:

These are only the most popular. There are literally dozens of markets available for each NBA game of the season. But it's best to begin with these three markets as they are the most easily understood. Further, developing an understanding for these traditional markets will help you to approach and exploit more nuanced and exotic markets in the seasons to come.

In fact, the most profitable NBA bettors generally focus on one of these traditional markets. It's quite common for experienced NBA bettors to concern themselves only with points spreads, while some others focus only on points totals. If you want to be a successful NBA bettor, then specialise. Find which markets you are most in tune with, and exploit them.

Apply Sound Money Management

Yes, the key to long term NBA betting is finding value bets. But almost as important is the application of a consistent money management and staking strategy. What does this mean? It means that you must closely manage your betting bankroll and understand how much you should be staking on one bet.

Managing your bankroll and determining the ideal bet stake is serious business. If you're not taking either task seriously, then you're likely only going to lose money long term. Your staking strategy needs to be consistent and consistently applied to your bankroll. If you are wagering amounts on a whim with no consideration for betting value, you shouldn't be surprised when you discover you are losing money month after month.

Further, your betting bankroll should only be as much as you can afford to lose. Sure, we want, hope and expect to make money betting on the NBA. The issue is however, even if you have a great talent for identifying betting value, unless you're exploiting that value with the application of a considered staking strategy, you'll lose money. Identifying value in NBA games is crucial, but it is only half the task.

Read More About Staking Strategies

To learn more, please read our guide to bankroll management and our detailed guide to calculating the ideal bet stake using the Kelly Criterion.

Keep A Record Of Your NBA Betting

If you're reading this, we assume you want to become a serious NBA bettor. Every serious NBA bettor needs to keep accurate records of their NBA betting. And we mean detailed records. If you do not keep a record of your betting, then you are likely to lose money and will simply fail to learn from your mistakes.

Your record of NBA betting should include these details:

  • Date
  • Bet Type (market)
  • Bet Details
  • Bookmaker
  • Your Stake
  • Your Odds
  • Your Profit/Loss
  • Comments/Notes

Keeping records provides you with the capacity to review your bet history. This review process is crucial to your development as a serious NBA bettor and your capacity to generate profits long term. In keeping records of your NBA bets, you can see which markets you are performing best in, which markets you are consistently losing money on and most importantly, see moments where poor discipline got the best of you. To put it simply, a detailed record of your NBA betting will increase your self awareness as a bettor and will help you understand your tendencies and habits, both good and bad.

NBA Betting Calculator Spreadsheet

NBA betting calculator

To help you with this task we've created the bettingexpert NBA Betting Spreadsheet. You can download it now and read more about the spreadsheet below.

Assess NBA Team Performance Accurately

The task of identifying betting value comes down to one simple skill and that is, your ability to consistently and accurately assess team performance and potential. If you can become skilled in this task, you will be a profitable NBA bettor long term.

While that is all very inspirational, being able to consistently perform this task is no easy thing. Think about it this way. Bookmakers have some of the most capable analytical minds and tools at their disposal giving them the ability to compile what are for the most part, extremely accurate NBA odds.

The good news however, is that bookmakers do not get it right all of the time. Think about any NBA season. There are always two or three teams that nobody sees coming, teams that are consistently underrated for much of the season. Conversely there are teams that everybody overrates, bookmakers included. Being able to assess team potential and performance is about being able to identify those teams.

So how can you learn to assess NBA team performance accurately? There are a number of things to consider.

Home vs Away Form

This is always a hot topic of debate across a number of sports. Many pundits and analysts believe that a number of teams possess a distinct home field, or in the case of the NBA, home court advantage. Others argue that there is no distinct advantage for any team and that home court advantage is generally consistent across all teams in the NBA. Others argue that home court advantage is consistent but is also in decline.

Home field advantage in the NBA is worth around 2.3 points. What does this mean? If two NBA teams are considered to of equal talent, then the home team will be 2.3 points better simply because they are playing at home. When we think of home vs away potential, this amounts to a 4.6 point swing.

Let's take an example. The Detroit Pistons are playing the Chicago Bulls. On a neutral court, we consider the Pistons to be a 5 point better team. If the Pistons are playing at home, then we add 2.3 points to our neutral court estimated margin, making the Pistons a 7.3 point favourite on their home court. On the other hand, if the game is being played in Chicago, the Bulls will be a 2.3 better team. In this case we subtract 2.3 points from our estimated neutral court margin of a Detroit win by 5 points, meaning the Pistons will only be a 2.7 point favourite when playing the Bulls in Chicago.

Why do home teams have an advantage? There are a number of explanations for home court advantage in the NBA. The most promoted of these is that home crowd noise influences referee decision making in a very fundamental way. Referees are human (no seriously, they are) and as a result are just as easily influenced by “the mob” as any one of us. You've no doubt seen refs give home town calls when the crowd is up and making plenty of noise. It happens and for the most part, this is what explains home court advantage in the NBA.

Injuries and Roster Additions/Subtractions

If you know your NBA intimately, the start of the season can be your most profitable time. Why? Because possessing a detailed understanding of NBA rosters and off season additions and subtractions will help you identify which teams are likely to be underrated and which are likely to be overrated.

For example, a team may have added a high profile shooting guard to their line-up. This will excite the fans and TV pundits alike and see expectations rise for that team in the coming season. But what may go missing is that this same team lost two regularly used big men from their bench rotation. This won't grab the headlines, but the team's inability to now protect the rim as well as rebound in minutes where their starters require rest is going to diminish the team's prospects for the season. This will be lost on fans, pundits and potentially bookmakers. Understanding what wins basketball games and the importance or roles players can help you identify tremendous value early and well into the NBA season.

Similarly, the ability to accurately assess the impact of injuries is another way in which shrewd bettors can exploit NBA odds. This is particularly true again where there are injuries to key players with low profiles. Meanwhile, injuries to high profile players can be overestimated. Always remember that what is most important is the value of the replacement player. Sure, a team's super star small forward may be out for the next 5 games. In an example such as this, consider the potential of the player who will replace him. He may not have such a high profile, but he may be more than an adequate replacement.

Tactical Matchups

A mystery for many in the sports world is how often teams of lesser talent cause trouble for their more highly touted opponents. This happens more often in the NBA perhaps than any other league, due largely to how often teams play each other, particularly division rivals. NBA divisional rivals know each other's squads, tendencies and tactical approaches intimately.

While some teams may have failings in many areas, often they posses a strength that counters a more highly fancied opponent's strength. Possessing a detailed understanding of both the game of basketball and NBA team rosters will provide you with plenty of value opportunities, giving you an insight into which inferior teams have the potential to make life difficult for their more talented opponents. These inferior teams may not win the game, but in such instances they are more than capable of covering the point spread.

Develop A NBA Betting System Or Betting Model

Developing a betting model to find value in NBA games is well worth your effort. Unlike other sports leagues such as the NFL where each seasons sees just 256 regular season games played, the NBA schedule has a total 1230 regular season games. This sheer number of games played makes the time in developing such a model for betting on NBA games worth the time and involvement.

While one NBA betting system and/or model may only consider point differential, there are other models that take a number of factors into account, looking at a broad range of data and statistics. Speaking broadly, most NBA betting models will take into account a selection of the following:

  • Points For/Against
  • Shooting Percentage For/Against
  • Rebounds For/Against
  • Points Per Possession For/Against
  • Individual Player Point Differential Plus/Minus

Whichever NBA statistical categories you want to employ in your betting model, the goal of your model is the same as any other sports betting model – the accurately assess the potential of a given team in a given matchup and in so doing, determining if there is any betting value available to exploit in that matchup.

Mark The NBA Schedule

The NBA season is a marathon. While the NFL is often regarded as a sprint consisting of 16 regular season games, the NBA tasks every team with 82 games. The length of the NBA season not only means numerous betting opportunities virtually every day of the season, but it the demands of a NBA season provides shrewd bettors with opportunity to find value via what is often referred to as 'situational analysis'.

Situational analysis involves determining how a team is likely to perform in certain circumstances. For example:

  • How does a particular club perform towards the end of a long road trip?
  • How does a club perform playing back to back nights on the road?
  • How do teams perform their first night on the road following a long run of home games?

There are many situations to consider. For this reason, before the season begins it's important to mark the NBA schedule for each team. Identify situations that are irregular for each club, situations where their performance may be influenced simply due to scheduling. Look for league wide trends based on historical data as well as trends for each team. For example, let's say the Minnesota Timberwolves are 0-12 against the spread in the final game of road trip of at least five games. While this trend may be a result of randomness, it's a trend to certainly keep in mind when the Timberwolves are closing out a road trip in the coming season.

Conducting situational analysis such as these can help you find value right through the NBA season. 

Follow NBA Tipsters

Following NBA tipsters is another great way to generate profits betting on NBA games. Finding a stable of consistently profitable NBA tipsters will see you build your betting bankroll quickly and will relatively little fuss.

While that all sounds great, the problem of course is in finding tipsters you can trust. Any Google search for the term best NBA tipsters will present you with a long list of sites claiming to deliver reliable and most of all, profitable NBA tips. The fact is that most of these sites are fraudulent, asking unsuspecting bettors to hand over sizeable subscription fees to receive these 'gold plated' tips. Do not be fooled. And please, never pay for betting tips. You are more than likely going to lose money in betting account as well as your bank account paying ridiculous subscription fees.

The great news is that there are a number of profitable tipsters in the bettingexpert community, posting their NBA tips through the season. And what's best is that their tips are both verified and free. You can find each tipster's NBA record clearly displayed so you can choose who you want to follow this season and into the next.

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Have Multiple Bookmaker Accounts For Your NBA Betting

It might be convenient to have just one betting account for all your NBA betting. But the reality is that this is likely going to cost you money long term and can easily be the difference between making money as a NBA bettor and making a loss.

We recommend all NBA bettors have at the very least three bookmaker accounts. Having three bookmaker accounts will provide you with the flexibility you need, giving you the chance to take the best odds available on any NBA market.

Yes, it may seem only a slight difference when you take odds of 1.75 rather than the best odds available of 1.80, but over the course of a number of years, this slight difference can amount to thousands of dollars. Seriously. So make sure you have at least three bookmaker accounts for your NBA betting and take the best odds available always. (For a detailed analysis, please read our guide to bookmaker margins).

How To Bet On The NBA Playoffs


NBA Playoffs Format

The NBA Playoffs format has changed a number of times during the course of the league's history.

The NBA Playoffs format, currently consists of eight teams from each conference with each team ranked according to their regular season win-loss records.

Eight teams from each conference feature in the NBA playoffs, making a total of sixteen teams competing for the NBA title over four rounds of play.

The NBA Playoffs Schedule is as follows:

  1. Opening Round
  2. Conference Semi Finals
  3. Conference Finals
  4. NBA Finals

Matchups in each round of the NBA playoffs schedule are best-of-seven series, meaning that the team to reach four wins first, wins the series and progresses to the next round.

NBA Playoffs Home Court Advantage

Home court advantage in each NBA playoff matchup is determined by regular season win-loss records. The NBA playoffs schedule for each series based on regular season win-loss records is as follows:

  • Game 1 - Better win-loss record hosts
  • Game 2 - Better win-loss record hosts
  • Game 3 - Lesser win-loss record hosts
  • Game 4 - Lesser win-loss record hosts
  • Game 5 - Better win-loss record hosts
  • Game 6 - Lesser win-loss record hosts
  • Game 7 - Better win-loss record hosts

The sixteen playoff teams play through each of the four rounds, with the champions of each conference meeting in the NBA Finals to determine that season’s champions.


NBA Playoffs Odds

There are a number of ways you can bet on NBA playoffs odds. Let’s take a look at the most popular NBA playoffs betting markets..

Individual Game Betting

This is betting on an individual NBA playoff game, just like you would bet on a NBA game through the regular season. The most popular NBA playoffs odds for individual game betting are:

  • Moneyline
  • Point Spread
  • Total Points Over/Under

To learn more about these individual markets, please read our detailed NBA betting guide.

Series Betting

Series betting is placing a bet on the result across an individual NBA playoff series. The most popular NBA playoffs odds for series betting are:

  • Series winner
  • Series correct score
  • Total games Over/Under

Series Winner Betting

Series winner is fairly self explanatory. You are betting on which team you think will win a given seven game series.

Series Correct Score Betting

Series correct score is betting on the exact series result. For example, you could bet on Cleveland to defeat Boston 4-2 in a given playoff series.

Many punters like series correct score betting because it not only offers larger odds than series winner, but it also adds an extra level of intrigue..

Many NBA bettors also like to bet on a number of correct score outcomes. For example, if you think a series is bound to be tight and likely to come down to a seventh and final game, you could bet on Cleveland 4-3 as well as Boston 4-3.

Or if you think Cleveland will win the series easily, you could bet on them to win 4-0 and also 4-1. As you can see, series correct score betting offers a deeper level of strategy than mere series winner betting.

Series Total Games Betting

Total games betting is fairly simple. In this market you can bet on the number of games that will be played during a given NBA playoffs series. Which team wins the series is irrelevant. All that matters is that you pick the total number of games to be played in a series

Many bettors like to mix and match their total games bets with their series correct score bets. For example, you could bet on Cleveland 4-3 and the series to go to 7 games.

Conference Championship Betting

Conference winner betting is simple. You bet on who you think will win a particular conference, either the Eastern Conference or the Western Conference. If the team you select wins their conference, your bet is a winner.

Conference Championship betting are popular NBA playoffs odds to bet on, but not quite as popular as NBA title winner betting odds.

Bet On NBA Championship

While each round of the NBA playoffs receives great interest from NBA bettors, it’s the NBA Finals that everyone wants to bet on.

You can bet on NBA Championship odds at every bookmaker including bookmakers such as William Hill and Betfair Sportsbook.

So how can you bet on Championship winner NBA playoffs odds? Most bookmakers will refer to this market as NBA Championship Winner Betting Odds or something similar with the market typically listed under NBA Futures 2016/17.

Most bookmakers will offer Win Only for this market which means to win your bet, the team you bet on has to win the NBA Championship.

Some bookmakers will however offer an each-way bet on NBA Championship winner odds, meaning that if your team does not win the  NBA Championship but at least reaches the NBA Finals, you will receive a reduced return.


How To Bet On NBA Playoffs

What are the best NBA playoffs betting strategies? How is betting on the NBA playoffs different to betting on the regular season? Here we discuss the best ways to enhance your chances of making money and how to bet on NBA playoffs.

How To Bet On NBA Playoffs and Win

  1. Isolate Each Team’s Weakness
  2. Determine Who Can Win A War of Attrition
  3. Determine Who’s Best Equipped to Win a Game’s Last Two Minutes
  4. Monitor the Evolving Impact of Three Point Volume

Defence wins championships. Clean offensive execution is vital. In short, if you’re trying to pick who’s going to win a championship, you need to know who’s best at doing what it takes to win a championship.

So let's start with a pair of factors, factors that are so intrinsically tied together for purposes of betting the NBA Playoffs that we should link them together right off the bat.


Isolate Each Team’s Weakness

This is the nuts and bolts of NBA Playoff betting because every series is stretched out into a best four-games-out-of-seven format. Championship contenders find their opponent’s biggest weakness, and they make them pay. Over and over again until the series has finished.

Favourites with a match-up advantage will try to get their series over with as quickly as possible.

At the other end of the spectrum, an underdog can’t “luck” their way to a series upset. Do achieve this, dogs need to have a skill set that matches up well against a weakness of the opposing favourite.

This happens!

And, the market is often slow to react to dangerous dogs because NBA playoffs odds are so heavily influenced by regular season results and overall stats rather than matchup-specific dynamics.

If you want to beat the market in the NBA Playoffs, you need to evaluate the individual chess pieces for each team and the big picture strengths and weaknesses. Look at the following:

  • Offensive Efficiency
  • Defensive Efficiency
  • Rebounding
  • Turnover Dynamics

Determine which offences have versatility, and which are too one-dimensional, weighted on the shoulders of one or two key scorers. When watching first action in a series, keep a particular eye out for a weak defensive link that can't be hidden.

If you don’t have a clear sense of these elements entering a series, the best head coaches will literally announce them to you by the way they attack opposing defences in the second half of the first two games. You’ll still have time to profit before the series ends if you can crack the strategic code.


Determine Who Can Win A War of Attrition

The gruelling schedule of the NBA Playoffs creates a kind of war of attrition that adds an extra dimension to the challenge of making a profit. And, this really matters if the relative skill sets of two teams in a series are so even that they basically cancel out.

In recent seasons, you’ve seen sideline reports “in the huddle” on TV showing the head coaches trying to inspire their players to keep their energy high, to not give up. Sure it’s still a chess match but it’s an exhausting chess match where the power pieces can’t afford any respite.

As bettors, it’s best not to try and guess which teams have more “guts” or “grit” than the others. But, you can evaluate which teams have more depth, which teams are in better health, which teams might wear down quickly within a series that plays every other day rather than one with more calendar spacing.

And, if you trust your reads from past playoffs in this area, you can certainly apply those to veteran teams with stable rosters.

Keep in mind that picking late-series point-spread winners in the first round often involves recognising when non-contenders are ready to throw in the towel, while picking point-spread winners in the deeper rounds can be influenced by recognising the impact of cumulative wear-and-tear.

Many absent-minded handicappers become bothered by media emphasis on clichés like “who wants it more” and “who’s hungrier.” If coaches thought that stuff was irrelevant they wouldn’t talk about it so much in the heat of battle! You’re trying to pick who’s going to win a series of battles.


Determine Who’s Best Equipped to Win a Game’s Last Two Minutes

So many NBA Playoff games are decided in the final moments of action (both for straight up purposes and in determining the point-spread winner) that handicappers will be well-served evaluating team skill sets offensively and defensively in this area.

For many years, the stathead community saw late game results as mostly influenced by “luck” rather than skill sets.

But, more recent studies have shown that passing the ball around for an open look is much more effective than “hero ball” where one star holds the ball by himself and tries to score on a last second guarded shot. Successful defences are also more sophisticated in how they handle late game rotations. Luck is still a factor of course. There are skill sets in play.

See what you can learn from regular season strategies and stars for the teams involved in the playoffs.

And, watch tight finishes in the early rounds very closely to develop a sense of how coaches are handling pressure situations. You should enter the playoffs up front knowing that there are going to be several late game pick-em situations where profit or loss is determined by team execution.


Monitor the Evolving Impact of Three Point Volume

In recent seasons we have seen the evolution of the three-point offence. If you’ve been reading box scores, you know that good teams are shooting more from long range than they used to. Breakthroughs in analytics have shown the increased efficiency of this approach.

Many teams are taking it to heart. We're not suggesting that teams didn’t shoot the trey before. But, attempt totals are up and quick pass offences are more aggressively trying to create deep open looks rather than settling for the hope that a rim attacker can bully his way inside.

That means strategies you found success with in the past might get trumped by teams going 15 of 35 on three-pointers. Hot long range shooting can make up for a few weaknesses.

And, if you run into a series where both teams are going to attempt 25-35 treys per night, then who wins and loses may come down to who makes more of those shots rather than some of the more traditional indicators.

The world of sports doesn’t stand still. Smart bettors need to stay on top of evolutionary elements as best as possible.