Saying that NBA is the biggest basketball league in the world or that NBA fans tend to be extremely passionate about their favorite sport would be stating the obvious, so it should come as no surprise that virtually every online sportsbook tries to provide its customers with plenty of lucrative NBA betting opportunities.
As a result, NBA enthusiasts are free to take advantage of some of the best odds and promotions available in the industry these days. The goal of this short guide is to provide you with some basic information on how the popular NBA wager types can make those odds work in your favor.
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Money Line Betting
Money line bets are often referred to as straight bets, since they’re the most basic type of NBA wagers. Whenever you place a straight bet, your job is simply to predict which team will win the match in question. Money lines use $100 as the basis for calculating the potential returns on your investment. Negative lines indicate the favorite and are always marked by a minus sign, which means that you have to wager $100 to win the money listed by the site. Conversely, positive lines are marked with a plus sign and give you a shot at winning a larger sum by putting $100 at risk. Consider the following example:
Chicago Bulls -230
Cleveland Cavaliers +170
In this hypothetical scenario Chicago Bulls are a rather strong favorite, so you’d have to invest $230 for a chance to win $100. Quite obviously, if your bet was lower, the potential payout would also be scaled down: for example, if you wagered $20, your winnings would total $46. Betting on Cavaliers would involve more risk, so you’d be able to win $170 for every $100 you put on the line.
Point Spread Betting
Betting against the point spread is slightly different from placing a straight wager, as the favorites are handicapped by the sportsbook in order to entice more people to wager on the underdogs. When you bet on the favorites against the spread, you wager that your team will manage to beat the other team by a pre-determined number of points. For example, if the spread is set at +3.5/-3.5, winning a bet of this kind would require your team to win by 4 points or more. Conversely, if you opted to bet on the underdogs, you’d receive a payout even if your team lost by 3 points or less.
Over/under wagers are very different from betting the money line or against the spread, as you don’t have to predict the winner of the match. Instead you have to guess whether the combined score of both teams will be higher or lower than the total set by the sportsbook. For example, if the total is set at 188, winning an over bet would require both teams to score 189 points or more, while winning an under bet would require the combined score to be equal to 187 or less.
Parlays are often referred to as accumulators or multipliers, as they allow you to combine multiple basic wagers into a massive combination bet. Placing a parlay means that the potential return on your investment will be significantly higher than if you were to place each bet separately, but you need to cover all of your selections in order to receive a payout. Losing on a single selection results in losing the entire parlay, so placing complicated parlays is best suited for seasoned bettors or adrenaline-thirsty high-rollers.
The aforementioned wagers require you to predict the outcome of specific NBA matches. However, most sites provide you with an opportunity to wager on the overall outcome of the entire season. Bets of this kind might require you to guess which team will win the NBA Championship or who will the next divisional champions will be – but in the end, they all require you to put your money on the table before the season’s action starts. As you’d expect, the odds offered on NBA futures are ridiculously high, especially if you have no qualms about wagering on one of the underdogs. Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that betting on NBA futures tends to tie up your sports betting funds for prolonged periods of time, so you should be very careful not to wager too much or you might end up having to money to pay for your weekly or monthly wagers without actually losing that much.
The term “proposition bets” refers to bets that don’t really fall into any of the categories listed above. Most props tend to be rather gimmicky, as they allow you to put your money on who will be the first player to score or whether a particular star player will be able to score a particular number of points throughout the entire match.