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THUNDER vs TIMBERWOLVES - How to Bet on NBA Odds and Lines

Betting on the NBA

For those new to betting on the NBA, we welcome you to our brief but hefty betting guides on how to get started. We will cover how to read NBA odds, what they mean, and what to do with them. Learn about the most popular types of NBA betting and a few fringe bets to spice things up.

Betting in the NBA can be profitable and fulfilling if done properly. But, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let’s cover the basics of NBA betting.

How to Bet on the NBA

The NBA remains one of the most popular leagues in the world for sports bettors. In the United States, bets on NBA are second only to the NFL in terms of money wagered.

Individual games can often see a lot of action depending on the teams involved and how important the game is. Naturally, the NBA Finals get the most attention and garner more bet slips than any other NBA event throughout the season.

Considering how popular betting on the NBA lines is, we thought it best to compile a how-to guide to keep you on top of your game.

Some of the topics covered include how to read NBA odds, common ways to bet notable terms, and more. Take some time to review the information it contains and set yourself up for success.

Reading NBA Odds

Before we get into the meat and potatoes of NBA bet types, it’s paramount that we first cover how to read NBA odds.

Without this, how can people who bet on basketball know what they are actually wagering on? Luckily, understanding odds and lines is easy and, for the most part, the same for all sports. For the purposes of this section, we will focus on the American (aka Moneyline) format for odds.

Let’s start with a simple example of a game between the Golden State Warriors and the Boston Celtics. The head-to-head lines for this game may look something like this:

Golden State Warriors -150
Boston Celtics +120

There are two things to take note of here, the numbers themselves, and the (+) or (-) sign accompanying them. If a team is favored to win in this format, their odds will be preceded by a minus (-) sign.

Conversely, underdog odds have a plus (+) sign attached. In our example game above, we now see that the Warriors are favorites while the Celtics are underdogs.

But, what about the numbers that follow these +/- signs? For favorites, the number presented is the amount of money you will have to wager to win $100. So, you would need to bet $150 on the Warriors in order to win $100 back.

On the other hand, underdog odds read differently. The number indicates the payout based on a $100 wager. So, a $100 bet on the Celtics would win $120. In both instances, winning wagers get back their initial bet along with the amount won.

As you might expect, the gap between the odds for favorites and underdogs widens along with the probability of the favorite winning. If both teams have odds of +100, this is called a pick ‘em and it’s assumed each team has an equal chance to win.

There are two other popular odds formats that you will likely encounter as you begin your sports betting journey. Fractional odds (aka “British” odds), and decimal odds (aka “European” odds). Here is the same game as above, but shown with fractional odds:

Golden State Warriors 4/6
Boston Celtics 6/5

While most people dislike fractions, understanding this format is easy once you get the hang of it. A team with 5/1 (or 5-1) odds will pay out $5 for every $1 wagered plus the original stake.

So, the Warriors would pay out $4 for every $6 wagered in the above example as favorites. The underdog Celtics, on the other hand, pay out $6 for every $5 wagered.

Finally, let’s take one look back at the above example with decimal odds:

Golden State Warriors 1.67
Boston Celtics 2.20

Decimal odds are the norm in most places not named the United States or Great Britain and are worth getting to know. The decimal odds integer represents the amount you would win based on a $1 wager.

It is important to note that, unlike the other two formats, decimal odds factor in both the payout and initial stake in one number.

So, a $1 bet on the Warriors would net $1.67. This makes calculating the total payout far easier than the other formats.

Now that we are experts at reading NBA odds, let’s dive deeper. Win or lose, we guarantee you’ll be leaving here a connoisseur of b-ball betting. Below is a rundown of the most popular bet types that BetUS offers for NBA games in 2022-23.

NBA Moneyline Betting

We are going to start with the simplest form of betting, one that’s a major hit in the world of online sports betting both in the NBA and most other professional sports worldwide.

The Moneyline (ML) bet, also known as straight-up or outright betting, requires that bettors simply pick which team wins the game.

Therefore, it’s the best option for beginners looking to get their feet wet. We can use the same hypothetical game as before for this section.

Golden State Warriors -150
Boston Celtics +120

These odds tell us a couple of things. First off, at BetUS, the NBA home team is always listed second on the odds board. So, we know this game is taking place in Beantown.

The other thing we can glean from these odds is that the Warriors are sizable road favorites at -150. A $100 bet on the Warriors pays $50 in profit because Golden State is expected to cruise to an easy win.

But, take a chance on Boston, and you would stand to win $120 plus your initial $100 stake if the Celtics pull off an upset.

NBA Point Spread Betting

While straight-up betting may be the easiest to understand, the most popular form of NBA bet is the spread. Betting against the spread (ATS) is a term you have probably heard before, but might not yet understand.

The idea behind a point spread is it allows bookmakers to level the playing field in any game, no matter how badly teams match up.

This comes in handy for games with such a wide gap that there is no value in betting on either side of the Moneyline. Our GSW vs. BOS example in spread format at BetUS would look like this:

Golden State Warriors -5½ (+105)
Boston Celtics +5½ (-125)

Every point spread has a favorite and an underdog even if the game is a ML pick ‘em. In this case, the Warriors are favorites with a spread of 5½ points that pays out at +105.

The spread, at 5½, is a handicap for the favorite that allows bookmakers to offer digestible odds for every game. For a bet on the Warriors to hit, Golden State not only has to win but win by at least 5½ points.

This is the first time we see half points as Moneyline odds do not use them. Half points are a way for the sportsbooks to ensure that a game doesn’t end in a tie or “push.”

So, a spread of 5 1/2 means that the Warriors would have to win by at least six in order to cover. On the other side of the coin, the Celtics can lose and still cover, but they can’t lose by more than five points.

So, a $100 bet on the Warriors would net $205 if Golden State wins by six or more points. Players looking to net the same $205 payout on the Celtics at -125 would have to wager $114.

NBA Totals Betting

Betting on the total of an NBA game is unique because it doesn’t matter which team wins or loses. The only thing that matters is the total number of combined points both teams score.

Wagering on NBA totals is also known as Over/Under (O/U) betting. This is because you have to bet whether the total goes Over or Under the number set by the oddsmakers. The odds for a game in this format would look something like this:

Golden State Warriors vs. Boston Celtics O/U 203 ½ (-105o/-115u)

This tells us that the total for this game is 203 ½ points as set by the oddsmakers with odds juiced to the Under.

This means that the Under is favored to win at -115 compared to the Over at -105. Generally speaking, the odds on totals are around -110 for both sides.

If you bet the Over in this game, you’d need Golden State and Boston to combine for 204 points or more. Anything under that would be a win for Under bettors.

BetUS Sportsbook also offers team totals for most NBA games. These bets are identical to O/U bets but feature just one team instead of both.

NBA Prop Betting

BetUS Sportsbook offers numerous NBA prop bets for every game during the regular season for adventurous bettors to enjoy.

The bigger the game, the more props are available. The biggest games feature upwards of 100 different prop bets you can explore.

There are two main types of props in the NBA, player props and team props. As the names suggest, the former focuses on the performance of an individual player while the latter lumps the whole team together.

Going back to the GSW vs. BOS game, let’s say that Steph Curry has a scoring total of 23 ½ points (-105u/-115o) for the game.

What this means is that a bet on Curry to go Over this total would require the superstar to drop 24 points on Boston. Anything less would be a loss.

Props in the NBA are not limited to points with odds on rebounds, assists, steals, blocks, and other metrics available.

There are also head-to-head props where you can pit players against each other to predict who will score more points or snag more boards. There are a ton of options to check out every day at BetUS in terms of NBA props so check back daily to find the best value plays.

NBA Futures Betting

Futures are often considered a type of prop bet, often referred to as “season-long” props. This is because, unlike other prop bets, futures allow bettors to wager out outcomes months down the line.

These outcomes can be things such as which team wins the Eastern Conference, who wins the MVP, or who is named Coach of the Year. There is a prop available on LeBron James’ odds to win his 5th NBA title before Stephen Curry does.

Betting on the eventual winner of the NBA Finals is the most popular form of NBA futures betting. But, there are so many more options to take advantage of all season long than just who takes home the championship trophy in 2023.

NBA Betting Odds & Lines

Historic High-Scoring Season: 50-Point Games Take Center Stage

The 2022-2023 season was historic for high-scoring outputs. The association saw 15 players combine for 25 50-point games. This was the most for a regular season since the early 1960s. We saw some of the best-scoring performances in about 60 years. Take a moment to appreciate that.

The following players were in the 50-point club: Joel Embiid (three times), Darius Garland, Stephen Curry (twice), Devin Booker (twice), Anthony Davis, Pascal Siakam, Luka Doncic (four times), Donovan Mitchell, Klay Thompson, Giannis Antetokounmpo (three times), Damian Lillard (three times), Jayson Tatum, Julius Randle, and Jrue Holiday.

The NBA has 13 70-point performances in league history. Wilt Chamberlain accounted for six. Basketball fans were fortunate enough to see two players erupt for 71 points in the 2023 season. Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers did it first on Jan. 2. This was the first 70-point game since Booker totaled 70 in 2017. Lillard matched Mitchell’s 71 points on Feb. 26.

This was the second time in NBA history that one season had multiple 70-point games. The last time? When Chamberlain did it four times in 1962 (talk about a one-man wrecking crew).

The Electric Performances Continued in the Postseason

Jimmy Butler turned in a 56-point performance against the Milwaukee Bucks. Curry erupted for 50 against the Sacramento Kings in the first round. Nikola Jokic had a memorable 53-point and 11-assist performance in Game 4 against the Phoenix Suns, which the Denver Nuggets somehow lost. Tatum’s 51-point outburst in Game 7 against the Philadelphia 76ers was another remarkable performance.

Curry’s 50 against the Kings was the most points in Game 7 history according to betting news outlets who couldn’t get enough of GS’ “Chef Curry”. That record was snapped only two weeks later on a bigger stage by Tatum. We truly witnessed some of the best playoff performances in NBA history.

The postseason continued the wild regular season, setting several records. The second round featured one of every seed one through eight, which was the first time in NBA history.

The Miami Heat

The Miami Heat were the second No. 8 seed to make the NBA Finals – the New York Knicks did it in 1999. As mentioned, Curry and Tatum had the highest-scoring performances in Game 7 history.

The Heat’s first-round win against the Milwaukee Bucks was one of the biggest upsets in league history. It was only the fifth time a No. 8 seed won in the first round. Butler turned in an unbelievable performance, fueling the Miami Heat’s shocking win over the Bucks. Milwaukee was one of the most popular title picks in NBA betting.

The Los Angeles Lakers also took out the No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies in the first round. However, many NBA predictions expected this result as the Grizzlies had a banged-up frontcourt.

Several Rivalries Were Renewed as Well

LeBron James and Curry met in the second round, which was the first time since the 2018 NBA Finals. The Celtics and 76ers collided for the third time in the postseason since 2018. Once again, Embiid and the Sixers could not get past Boston. The Heat-Knicks was reminiscent of the intense postseason battles from 1997-2000, featuring Alonzo Mourning and Patrick Ewing.

The 2023 Season Was Capped With a First-Time Champion, the Denver Nuggets.

Before the 2022-2023 season, Denver had yet to win the Western Conference Finals. NBA odds had the Nuggets as one of the title favorites ahead of the playoffs, as they held the Western Conference’s best record for most of the season. However, there were still plenty of doubts due to Denver’s poor history.

What was the difference? The Nuggets never had Jokic. He dominated the postseason, becoming the first player to lead the playoffs in points, assists, and rebounds. Jokic became the first player to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds, and 500 assists in the regular season. In the Finals, he was the first player to total 30 points, 20 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Led by Jokic and Jamal Murray’s 26.1 points per game in the playoffs, Denver hoisted its first Larry O’Brien Trophy. The Nuggets finished the postseason with a 16-4 record. The Suns were the only team to take Denver past five games.

Are the Nuggets the team to beat for the 2024 season? Per NBA futures odds lines, Denver is tied with the Celtics as the title favorite (+500). One thing’s for sure, Jokic is the best basketball player on the planet.

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NBA FAQs

Yes, you can bet on NBA odds from the BetUS Sportsbook during the preseason, regular season, and throughout the NBA post-season. You can find plenty of NBA odds each and every game, including in-game prop bets on unique instances that could happen in the game.
BetUS Sportsbook has an excellent selection of Vegas odds for NBA betting. You can find a wide array of betting options including moneyline wagers, point spreads, totals, prop bets, and more.
It depends which NBA odds format you want to use, but we have comprehensive guides to all three main NBA odds formats that are displayed on the BetUS Sportsbook. We have American NBA odds, Fractional NBA odds, and Decimal NBA odds.
Yes, betting on NBA odds is totally legal and we recommend checking with your state regulations to ensure sports betting is indeed legalized in your location. Many states are rolling out sports betting legislation and there are few places in the United States you can’t bet on sports!
BetUS Sportsbook is a great option for betting on NBA odds in the United States. You can find a great selection of odds, as well as loyalty programs and regular bonuses and promotions to take advantage of.
BetUS is a great option to bet on NBA odds online because we have a huge selection of in-game betting odds including unique prop bets that you won’t find at other sportsbooks. We have a simple sign-up process and when you create your account you are assigned your very own Account Manager that will help you with any betting help you need.
We have a comprehensive guide to help you learn how to bet on the NBA odds, you just click the How to bet on the NBA tab to learn all about moneylines, point spreads, totals, odds formatting and more.
Currently, the Brooklyn Nets are favored to win the 2021- 2022 NBA Finals.
NBA odds will show you how likely it is that a team will win the game. In the case of negative odds, you would recognize that the team is the favorite to win, and the higher the number, the more likely that team is to win. In the case of positive odds, that signifies an underdog, and the bigger the number, the less likely it is that an NBA team will win.
We are currently in the midst of the NBA Finals and the Brooklyn Nets are favored to win the NBA Finals Championship. The Golden State Warriors and Phoenix Suns aren’t too far behind.
We recommend following your favorite NBA teams and ensuring you keep up to date with injury reports, team statistics and follow the odds. Odds will move for a reason and understanding why the odds shifted will help you make better betting decisions.
Luckily, during the regular season, there are usually a few NBA games on any given night. You would select the games you’d like to bet on and compile them into a parlay wager. To win, all legs of your wager must win for your bet to cash.

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Rolling If Bets (RIF) allow you to use the balance (amount) from existing wagers to make a new wager. As long as existing wagers have not been graded, the amount wagered can still be used to make new wagers. However, if your original wager loses, the Rolling If Bet is then cancelled. There are two options for ties (pushes); you can specify if you want the Rolling If Bet to continue in case of a tie or simply cancel the RIF.

Rolling If Bets are:
  • only allowed on straight bets, Parlays and Teasers.
  • not available with Free Plays or Futures and Props
  • only available if you have pre existing, non graded wagers
  • you can only use the funds from the amount of the pre existing wager
How to Place a Rolling If Bet:
  • Choose any straight, parlay or teaser and Place it on the Bet Slip
  • Click on the Rolling If Bet button next to the wager detail
  • In the RIF dropdown, choose a wager that you want to use for RIF
  • Click on "If Win Only" or "If Win or Push" (explained above)
  • Fill in the amount and confirm your wager (the system will not allow you a higher amount than what is available)
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Fund this wager using a pending wager!

More Details...

Rolling If Bets (RIF) allow you to use the balance (amount) from existing wagers to make a new wager. As long as existing wagers have not been graded, the amount wagered can still be used to make new wagers. However, if your original wager loses, the Rolling If Bet is then cancelled. There are two options for ties (pushes); you can specify if you want the Rolling If Bet to continue in case of a tie or simply cancel the RIF.

Rolling If Bets are:
  • only allowed on straight bets, Parlays and Teasers.
  • not available with Free Plays or Futures and Props
  • only available if you have pre existing, non graded wagers
  • you can only use the funds from the amount of the pre existing wager
How to Place a Rolling If Bet:
  • Choose any straight, parlay or teaser and Place it on the Bet Slip
  • Click on the Rolling If Bet button next to the wager detail
  • In the RIF dropdown, choose a wager that you want to use for RIF
  • Click on "If Win Only" or "If Win or Push" (explained above)
  • Fill in the amount and confirm your wager (the system will not allow you a higher amount than what is available)
Close