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Types of NBA Basketball Bets – A Beginner’s Guide (2024)

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As an NBA fan, you are always looking forward to every season and all its exhilarating highs and lows. It is the top basketball league to watch and is full of iconic franchises that have produced legendary players. The quality in this league is unrivalled, and for diehard fans, every single game is important. 

NBA Betting Possibilities

As a bettor, these action-packed games open up a world of betting possibilities. Whether you bet every weekend, only back your favourite team, or bet on special games, you have no shortage of options.

Types of NBA Bets

Whether you are a frequent bettor or not, you should know all your options, when it comes to NBA betting. You will not need to use them all and definitely do not bet on what you do not know. However, if you have extensive knowledge of the league, some of these markets may pick your brain. Putting that good knowledge to use, you may have a knack for predicting certain bets.

  1. Futures
  2. Moneyline
  3. Point Spreads
  4. Over/Under Totals
  5. Quarters and Halves
  6. Game Props
  7. Parlays
  8. Teaser Bets
  9. Round Robin Bets
  10. Live Betting

Futures

Who do you think will win the next NBA Championship? You can make your predictions in the futures betting markets, where odds are offered on all 30 franchises. These are outright bets, on events that are determined at the end of the season. Alternatively, you can bet on which Conference will win, which Division will win, or even the winner of the Conference or Division regular seasons. There are tonnes of choices to pick from.

Futures are not limited to outright winner bets either. You may also find futures on which player will be named the MVP, who will be the MVP coach, and various similar bets. 

These bets are made available before the season starts, and you can place them whenever you want. The odds will change constantly throughout the season, so the earlier you can get your predictions in, the better. For a more detailed analysis of futures betting markets, be sure to check out our guide to futures bets.

Moneyline

This is a bet on a team to win a game. The only requirement in the bet is for your team to win, and it does not matter by how much or whether the game goes into overtime or not. In a game between the Boston Celtics and Golden State Warriors, you can either back the Celtics to win or the Warriors to win. The odds will give you an indication of which team the bookmaker thinks has a better chance.

Although the bets are relatively simple, there are a lot of different ways you can employ them. Find out more in our moneylines explained guide.

Point Spreads

These are similar bets to moneylines, only the two teams are given a more equal chance of winning. This is because the bookmaker introduces a betting line to the game. The line is a number of points that are subtracted from or added to a team’s score. The favourites will receive a points deduction whilst the underdogs receive a points boost. This levels the playing field, making the bet a 50-50 affair. The odds will also reflect this, as they are as close to being even as possible.

So how does a point spread work? You are betting on a team to win with a points adjustment. Betting on the favourites requires them to beat their opponents by a margin of points higher than the spread. A bet on the underdogs can only lose if the favourites win by that margin of points. Then, there are alternative lines, which give you a massive range of options. Instead of picking an even money bet, you can go as long or short as you like with the odds. But remember, longer odds are a lot more risky.

For a full rundown on how to use these bets, check out this guide on spread betting.

Over/Under Totals

This bet is on the number of points scored during a game. You do not need to predict which team will win, when the points will be scored, or how they are scored. Your only job here is to bet on the combined number of points that both teams score during a game.

Over/under bets also use a betting line. You must predict whether the game will end with over or under the number of points stated by the line. There are alternative lines too, so you can create a range of points as big or small as you like. For example, you can pick a high line such as 210.5 and bet over. This means you need the game to end with a combined score of 211 or more. There are loads of possibilities, and you can play with as much risk as you want. There are also totals bets that relate to the score of only one team It does not matter if they win the game or not. Your bet should pay out as long as you can correctly predict how many points they will score during the game.

Quarter and Halves

Each NBA game is played in 4 quarters of 12 minutes. Looking at a game, you can divide it into 4 quarters or even 2 halves. The quarters and halves betting markets allow you to bet on these periods as if they were separate events. It can be highly thrilling, betting on which team will win the first quarter or who will win the second half. Note that the points from the previous half or quarters are not carried on into the period you are betting on.

Though an NBA game cannot end in a draw, a quarter or a half can. This means that instead of betting on a 2-way moneyline, you can also bet on that period to end in a tie. This opens up the possibility of making double chance or tie no bet wagers. Double chance is basically betting on 2 of the 3 possible outcomes. Tie no bet is a wager on a team to win, and if the period does end in a tie, you get your money back.

Game Props

Here, you can find bets on team statistics, player performance and other events that may happen during a game. The game props market has bets on lots of different aspects of the game. You can find bets on which team will score first, the correct score at the end of a period, whether there will be an odd or even number of points scored in the game and many more. Yes/no bets such as will the game end with an odd number of points, can be 50-50 affairs.

On the other end of the scale, you can find bets such as the range of the winning margin. Some bookmakers may offer 8-way or even 12-way bets, which come with tremendous odds. Game props do not only relate to the game stats. You can bet on team performances or even player feats. A few player bets to look into include total points scored, total rebounds and total 3-point field goals.

More information about props can be found in our guide to props bets.

Parlay Bets

Parlays are combination bets which merged multiple single wagers. Instead of betting on each one separately, you can make one bet. The odds from all the single bets are multiplied against each other, generating massive odds for the parlay. The more legs you add, the larger your potential profit will grow to. However, bear in mind that all your selections need to win. If only one of those single bets is not fulfilled, then your parlay loses and you do not receive any money.

Parlays do come with a lot of danger. Fortunately, in our summary of parlay betting, we talk through some strategies and tips to help you out.

Teaser Bets

These are quite intriguing bets, as they are basically boosted point spreads in a parlay. With teasers, you are betting on multiple point spreads, all of which are boosted. By buying more legs, you are increasing the line and giving yourself more safety. The most common example is the 4-point teaser. Say you pick three spreads: -6.5, -9.5, +3.5. After the teaser is applied, these become -4.5, -5.5, +7.5. The odds on teasers are slashed, so they will not be as high as if you placed them in a parlay.

Find out how to use these wagers in our analysis of teaser bets.

Round Robin Bets

So the problem with parlays is that they are too risky, and teasers do not have the odds you desire. One solution is to look at round robin betting. This is basically one bet in which you have numerous parlays, covering different possibilities. The idea is that you pick numerous bets and should one, or even more fail, you can still win some money. Round robin bets favour punters who want to form bets with 4, 5, and more selections.

Broken down, if you pick 4 selections, you can make a Lucky 15 bet. Your stake is split 15 ways, going on 4 singles, 6 doubles, 4 trebles and 1 four-fold. Should 3 of those selections lose, you are still getting a bit of money back from the 1 single that did win.

Round robin bets are simple to use, but the theory is a bit more complex. Learn more about round robin betting, in our comprehensive guide

Live Betting

The NBA is home to the most thrilling and inspiring basketball franchises. Games can be electric, and as a bettor, the live betting experience is unrivalled. Instead of placing pregame bets before the games start, you can make your predictions at any point during the game. All you need is a mobile device (or PC) at the ready, and you are set.

Live bets use live odds, so you have to pounce quickly on any opportunity you see. The odds can change in seconds. When something momentous happens on the court, then they can change dramatically.

Live betting markets include most of the pregame bets, but also a few new ones too. For example, you can bet on which team will win the next penalty, score the next 3-point field goal, or whether there will be another 3-pointer in the quarter. There are lots of different intriguing bets that may pop up, and will only be offered for brief periods of time. If you keep an eye on the markets, you can snap them up and win (or lose) literally in seconds.

Find out more in our guide to live betting, where we look at different strategies and types of bets.

Where to Bet

With such a massive following, virtually every sportsbook will offer bets on the NBA. However, you are not looking for your average bookmaker. Some bookmakers specially cater for NBA bettors. What you should look for are extensive betting markets and a few features or promotions to make your NBA betting all the more fun.

Conclusion

You can definitely increase the excitement level of each NBA game through your bets. With a plethora of options, your knowledge is put to the test. It is always better to stick with teams you know and not to bet blindly. Doing your research is a good way to get ahead, and it is also worth trying out different types of bets too. You never know which ones you will be better at predicting. For example, you may have a talent for spotting high-scoring games or betting on the feats of one player.

When betting, it is important to form a budget and keep to it. With all the excitement, it is easy to get carried away but you should not overspend. Bet responsibly, trust your instincts, and most importantly, enjoy the games.

Lloyd is passionate about online gambling, he lives and breathes blackjack and other table games, and he enjoys sports betting.