NBA Betting Guide 🎖️ 2023

NBA betting is one of the most popular legal types in the US. Nowadays, you can place bets on most NBA games in the retail and online sportsbooks, as well as by using mobile betting apps. Here is a brand new guide on how betting on NBA works. You will find all the answers about odds, betting lines, bet types and the best basketball betting strategies in 2023.

NBA Betting Guide

Learn more about NBA Betting with our tips and tricks.

🏀 NBA Betting

NBA is the second most popular sport in North America and that makes it a perfect wagering opportunity. Sports fans have multiple betting options, including usual games, NBA playoffs, and All-Stars weekend.

Now, that more than 20 states have legalized online sports betting, you can easily find the best options to win big. NBA betting has endless options, due to the number of games and teams. In this guide, we explain how to read NBA odds and pick the best bet type from legal online sportsbooks in the US.

🏀 How to Read NBA Betting Odds

Understanding basketball betting odds is the most important part of profitable wagering. Picking the right odds will drastically increase your chances of winnings, as well the amount of money you can win.

There are different odds formats that are used by sportsbooks. Usually, NBA odds are displayed in American, Decimal, or Fractional formats. All of them carry two main goals, to show the implied probability of the outcome and how much money you can win. You can use our odds calculator to check out your potential winnings.

American Odds

US Sportsbooks usually use American odds. A lot of professional sports bettors might also call them NBA Vegas odds. It is quite easy to spot American odds since you will see + or – in front of the odds numbers.

The negative number will indicate the favorite of the betting line. It will also show the amount of money you need to bet to win $100.

The positive number will indicate the underdog. It will also show the amount of money you can win if you bet $100.

Decimal Odds

Decimal odds are the easiest to understand since you just need to multiply your wager by the odds. This format is commonly used by European sportsbooks, so the chances of you seeing them are quite low.

Naturally, the lower the decimal odds are, the lower your potential win is. If you want to calculate your possible win, just subtract the original bet from the expected payout.

Fractional Odds

This type of odds is mostly used in the UK and in horse-racing wagering. The odds are depicted like this 3/6. The first number (3) indicates how many times the expected outcome is expected to lose, and the second number (6) indicates how many times the outcome is expected to win.

🏀 NBA Betting Types & Tips

There are infinite betting opportunities when it comes to NBA betting. You will find the most unique bet types throughout the NBA season. Usually, the most popular bet types are shown at the top of the online sportsbook page, while the niche bets will be at the end. Here is the list of all NBA betting lines explained.

Moneyline Bets

Moneyline wagers are the easiest way to get some NBA betting action. You simply wager on the game-winner. If you bet on the Milwaukee Bucks to win the Boston Celtics and the Bucks win, you’ll get your stake + winnings.

Straightforward: Moneyline bets are simple, and you get some extra enjoyment for following the game.

Safe: Quite often, there's a clear favorite to win, so if you find them at decent odds at a NBA sportsbook online, they're a quite safe bet.

Bad payout: Most betting sites have accurate odds for game winners, so you rarely find exceptional lines.

BonusFinder Tip

Use for deposit bonuses: If you're playing with NBA online sportsbooks that have deposit bonuses, decent moneyline NBA bets on the favorite go a long way to satisfying your bonus wagering requirements.

Point Spread Bets

Basketball teams are rarely equal. Therefore, mobile NBA betting apps will set a spread that the other Team needs to cover. So if you bet on the Dallas Mavericks to win the Houston Rockets at a +7,5 point spread, and the Mavs win by 8 or more due to some Luka Doncic magic, you’ll win your bet.

Good value: Spread bets generally have -110 odds on both sides, meaning that you have to wager $110 to win $100. Compared to -200 odds on the favorite on the moneyline, this is decent value, especially if you know there's a big gap between the NBA teams.

Expert picks: Your NBA knowledge will be very useful when spread betting. The Lakers might still be favorites to win even if LeBron James and Anthony Davies are out, but they probably won't cover the spread. If you're fast, you can place your bet, before the NBA basketball betting sites have time to adjust the spread.

Unreliable: The players do not care if they cover the spread or not. So if the Nuggets are up by 9 against the Warriors with 5 seconds remaining, they do not care if Steph Curry hits another 3. However, your +6,5 spread will go right down the drain.

BonusFinder Tip

Follow the news: Spread bets are easily influenced by one key player missing. The team might still win with a star player missing, but maybe they won't cover. You can use this to your advantage when betting.

NBA Totals (Over / Under)

Totals are bets on the total number of points scored during the game. NBA games are quite high scoring, so betting sites usually set the line at something like over or under 231,5 points. If the teams combine for more than 231 points, your wager cashes.

No need to pick sides: If you know that two attacking NBA teams with weak defenses are playing each other, you can just pick the under and cheer every time someone sinks a three.

Overtime: Totals count all the points in the game, including overtime. Therefore a game going to overtime might ruin your under, although it already looked like a done deal.

BonusFinder Tip

Take the under: Or rather, don't just bet the over because you want to see many scores. Online sportsbooks know players like to bet the over and adjust the lines accordingly. You're much more likely to find a good price on the under.

Parlay Bets

Parlay bets are combinations of two or more bets. These bets can be any type of bets. The parlays pay out a combination of all the odds of the individualized bets minus the NBA betting sites’ juice (which is considerably higher than for straight bets. Check out our parlay calculator to calculate your parlay winnings.

Big payouts: If you hit a big parlay, you'll win big. Parlay odds can climb to more than 1:100, meaning that a $10 wager will net you a $1,000 profit.

Hard to hit: Every time you add more than one item on your bet slip, the odds of the bet cashing decrease significantly. Even if you only add "locks" to your slip, something is almost certainly bound to happen, and the bet fails to cash.

Increased juice: Professional sports bettors rarely use parlays, because every top NBA betting site takes an increased cut from your parlays compared to straight bets to cover the potential losses. Therefore, placing parlays will hardly be beneficial in the long run.

BonusFinder Tip

Use free bets: Some NBA betting apps give you free bets when you register a betting account. If the odds for this free bet are not capped, why not try to hit a +2,000 parlay? You can't lose real money anyway.

NBA Prop Bets

NBA props are bets placed on the events during the game. Best NBA betting apps offer two types of props: player props (player’s points, fouls, rebounds, assists, etc.) or game props (no of three-pointers, fouls, etc.) NBA props are one of the most common ongoing promotions at online sportsbook sites.

Fun: Watching your favorite player's performance is a bit more fun when you have a little money riding on him doing as well.

Knowledge matters: Most casual bettors don't follow NBA closely enough to recognize when a player or a team has had a bad game or if they're actually in a bad form. They will move the NBA betting lines based on a single result, giving true NBA fans better odds on many prop bets.

NBA betting bonuses: Many NBA sportsbooks feature bonuses on props. These are usually minimum wager bonuses, but they are easy to win and can boost your bankroll nicely.

Rotation: If the coach decides to rest a star player when they are comfortably in the lead or playing a weaker team, your prop bet for scored points will fly out the window (unless you bet the under of course).

Referees: Unless you are a true hard-core bettor, you probably do not know the ins and outs of different referees. The number of fouls a certain ref calls might not decide the fate of the game, but how closely they call the Euro Step might decide the fate of your Dwyane Wade prop bet.

BonusFinder Tip

Watch the games: NBA betting markets are quite volatile to one bad or good performance. People see good stats on someone, and the line is shifted one way or another. However, if you watched the game, you might notice that somebody only scored a lot in the previous game because the opposition did a bad job defending. They are not hot at the moment, and you'll be better off with the under on their points scored.

NBA Futures Bets

Futures are bets on teams or players season-long performances. The best NBA betting websites offer NBA futures odds on everything from NBA finals winner to a player’s three-pointers during the regular season.

Long-term enjoyment: Futures will certainly benefit your long-term online NBA wagering experience as you can follow them all year long.

Current knowledge: Futures are often based on past performance. If you have a good grasp on how the player or team is doing currently, you can find good odds on your futures wagers.

Injuries: The NBA regular season is long, and when you add playoffs to the mix it is two additional months. One injury will rarely determine who will win the NBA Championship, but if you have an MVP or Best Rookie futures bet, your chances are as good as gone if your chosen player gets injured.

BonusFinder Tip

Choose less known players: There are hundreds of players in the NBA. The lines for the top players are set quite accurately, but you might find great NBA betting markets for lesser known players' props.

Live Betting

Live betting or in-game betting are bets placed during the event. They are fast-paced bets where the odds change quickly. Most NBA betting sites offer live betting, but the number of lines is more limited on some of the smaller sites.

You're on the pulse: If you react fast enough, you can take advantage of events that happen during the game. If LeBron looks like he might have injured himself, betting against the Lakers spread might be a good idea.

Getting carried away: It is easy to get carried away with live bets and bet more than you can afford when youa are watching the game. Remember to always gamble responsibly.

BonusFinder Tip

Only bet live if you're watching: The odds change for a reason. You should always watch the event in question when placing live bets, not just bet the numbers, because the sportsbooks don't change the line for fun.

🏀 NBA Teams

The NBA consists of 30 teams and each team plays 82 games in the regular season. The sport itself is very fast paces and offer multiple betting options. There is a big variety of teams that you can pick, so you won’t have any trouble with finding a perfect option. Here is the full list of NBA teams.

Atlantic Boston Celtics
Brooklyn Nets
New York Knicks
Philadelphia 76ers
Toronto Raptors
Central Chicago Bulls
Cleveland Cavaliers
Detroit Pistons
Indiana Pacers
Milwaukee Bucks
Northwest Denver Nuggets
Minnesota Timberwolves
Oklahoma City Thunder
Portland Trail Blazers
Utah Jazz
Pacific Golden State Warriors
LA Clippers
Los Angeles Lakers
Phoenix Suns
Sacramento Kings
Southeast Atlanta Hawks
Charlotte Hornets
Miami Heat
Orlando Magic
Washington Wizards
Southwest Dallas Mavericks
Houston Rockets
Memphis Grizzlies
New Orleans Pelicans
San Antonio Spurs

🏀 How to Pick the Best NBA Sportsbook

New betting sites and basketball betting apps are constantly launching in the US, and it’s hard to keep track of all the options available. To make matters worse, not all of the sites in the internet are trustworthy. Therefore, we have compiled a list of the things you should look for when choosing your NBA betting site.

Welcome Bonus

Different sites have varying bonuses. If you are a new bettor, we suggest that you choose a betting site that offers no deposit free bets, like Unibet. You can place these free bets on any NBA game without any risk. Experienced bettors will of course look for the biggest possible bonus, like the Caesars $1,250 offer, to maximize their winnings.

NBA Odds

NBA betting odds are quite standard across different betting platforms. However, if you register for several online sportsbook accounts, you might that betting lines for certain NBA games might look very different. For example, DraftKings might list the New York Knicks as a +115 underdog against the Los Angeles Lakers, but you might find the Knicks as a +125 underdog at BetMGM. It might not sound like a lot, but if you do this for every game, the difference will quickly add up.

Ongoing Promotions

Ongoing promotions like odds boosts and enhanced odds are always a nice addition to any NBA betting site. If you regularly get higher odds for the home team, you’ll also quickly add to your account balance. Some betting sites even run promotions like: bet $1 and win $25 if Joel Embiid scores. That’s an actual offer from PointsBet. By choosing a sportsbook with such offers, you easily get extra betting money for NBA games, practically for free.


Unfortunately, online sports betting is only legal in a handful of American states (we’ll talk about them below), and many offshore operators try to to enter the US sports betting market. Therefore, you should always make sure that you are choosing a reliable NBA betting site that is licensed by a correct state authority, like the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement. Do note that some states, like West Virginia, have less betting options.

🏀 Legal NBA Betting States

You can bet legally on basketball and other sports at any retail or online sportsbook that operates in a legal gambling state. Below are the states where online betting is legal; you can also find brick-and-mortar sportsbooks in many of these states.


1️⃣ How do I know if a NBA betting site is legit?

You can check for a state authority logo at the bottom of the page (like Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board). If it's there the site is legit. You can also check the state specific pages for BonusFinder, we only list recommended NBA betting sites that are 100% legal and legit.

2️⃣ Can I bet on the NBA with my phone?

Yes, betting on the NBA is just as easy from your mobile device as it is from your computer. NBA betting apps are offered by most sportsbooks, and even those that don't offer an app have a mobile-optimized page.

3️⃣ What is the best NBA betting app?

Our top rated NBA betting sites all have a great mobile NBA app. However, DraftKings app is perhaps the best, even though PointsBet and BetMGM are not far behind.

4️⃣ Where can I watch NBA games online?

Most online betting sites might have a stream for the event in question, but if you want high-end coverage, we suggest you head out to, Youtube TV, or watch TNT or ESPN through internet.


Riku is the Editor in Chief at BonusFinder and is a global expert in casino, sports betting and poker.