How to bet on the NBA

10 Sep 2021
Phil Lowe 10 Sep 2021
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How to bet on the NBA 

Basketball is one of the biggest sports in the USA and the sport’s prize jewel is the National Basketball Association, otherwise known as the NBA. 

With the NBA continuing to grow in popularity worldwide, it is only natural that gambling interest in the sport continues to grow and bookmakers continue to create new and exciting markets for the division. 

The NBA has an incredibly packed timetable, and as such, there are plenty of exciting opportunities to make some serious money from the division. 

For those not from America and those not acquainted with the sport though, getting to grips with the NBA, especially its league structure, can be incredibly tricky. That’s why we here at Bonus Bets have compiled this useful how-to guide to break down everything you need to know about betting on the NBA. 

NBA schedule 

The NBA has one of the most hectic schedules of any sporting division in the world and for newcomers, it can take some getting used to. 

There are 30 teams split across two conferences, each split into three divisions each. Making up six individual divisions of five. 

The season typically runs from October through to April, with the playoffs normally running from the end of April to the start of June. The play-offs are the most anticipated games in the entire sport and bookmakers will often have a wide range of markets available during this time period. 

There is now also a female division running alongside the NBA called the WNBA, which runs two months shorter than the male version, with the regular season taking place from May through to September. 

The rise of all of these leagues and the sheer number of games taking place in each division means that there is pretty much no time during the calendar year where you can't bet on basketball.  

Types of bets 

The NBA is one of the most popular sporting divisions in the world these days and bookmakers are constantly looking for new and exciting ways for punters to bet on the sport. The following are the most common types of bet placed on the NBA: 

Results betting

The simplest type of bet in any sport is the results bet. In this type of bet, the punter bets on what they believe the full-time result of the game will be. There are three options available here- the home team, the away team, or a draw. 

Points totals

Another type of market that is incredibly popular in team sports is the points or goals total market. 

In this market, you will bet on how many points will be scored in a game. These are often presented as either over/under markets or in margins. So you could often see it presented as over/under 190 points, or 190-220 points, for example. 

NBA Winner outrights

One of the most popular types of bets placed on the NBA is on who is going to be crowned the winner of the entire league. 

There is, however, normally a clear favourite for this kind of bet, so don’t expect to find massive value on betting in this market. 


The most valuable player or the MVP award is effectively a man of the match award for the entire season. 

The award is handed out by a voting board at the end of every season. Like the outright NBA winner market though, the outcome of this is often fairly predictable and therefore, you would likely have to place a high bet to see any sort of serious returns. 

Handicap bets

A handicap bet is incredibly common across all types of sports betting and it effectively imagines a hypothetical scenario where one of the two teams, usually the team who is the favourite, starts the game on fewer points than their opponent. 

For example, in a handicap match, Team A may start the game with -8 points, meaning that they would have to outscore the opposing team by at least 9 points to win the match. 

This can be an effective way of evening the odds in a game where one team is a runaway favourite and wouldn’t be worth betting in a singles bet. 

Special bets

Given the star power that the NBA attracts, most bookmakers will offer regular specials on certain players, whether that is how many points they will score in a certain match or their points total for the season. There are also a lot of ‘who will score more points’ markets for some of the division’s top players. 

Most bookmakers will offer special bets or price boosts during the play-off games, which you would be wise to try and take advantage of.

Basketball betting strategy

Like any sport, basketball can be extremely unpredictable and as such, there is no secret winning formula when it comes to having a bet on it. 

One thing the NBA does offer that a lot of sports don’t, however, is a massive calendar of fixtures. Given that every team plays a mouth-watering total of 82 games during an NBA season, there is literally hours and hours of footage for analysts to go back over to help them decide who is worth a punt and who isn’t.

The same principles that one would apply to betting on any other team sport are also important though, such as paying attention to a team’s form, the league table and previous records. 

It is also important to keep up to date with the latest injuries and suspensions. The last thing you want to is to place a bet on a team only to find out their star player is out for the week. 

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