As you may know, the new NBA season has been underway for over a month. For aspiring bettors, that’s a month worth of solid data.

Of course, using this information properly is another story. Like most other leagues, the NBA offers a vast range of bet types. Knowing what to focus on can make the difference between a winning streak and a losing one.

Want to know more about how to master the world of NBA betting? If so, this guide should get you started on the right foot.

Standard Wagers

First, let’s take a look at the most common types of bets. If you’re looking to start with something simple, these are great stepping stones.


The moneyline is also known as a straight-up bet (SU). All you need to do is select a game and pick the team that you think will win. The underdog will have positive odds, whereas the favorite will have negative odds.

For example, let’s say that the Los Angeles Lakers are playing the Memphis Grizzlies. The odds for this game might look like this:

Grizzlies -270

Lakers +220

In this scenario, a successful $100 bet on the Grizzlies would net you a $270 payout. If you bet on the Lakers, you’d need to bet $220 to win $100. In other words, betting on the heavy favorite comes with a steep price.

Point Spreads

When two teams aren’t evenly matched, the oddsmakers “even the odds” by using point spreads. A point spread involves betting on the margin of victory. In a Celtics – Hawks game, that could look a bit like this:

Celtics -12.5

Hawks +12.5

This point spread indicates that the oddsmakers favor the Celtics to win by 12.5 points. If you bet on them, you’d need them to win by 13+ points. A bet on the Hawks means that you’d need the Hawks to win or lose by 12 or fewer points.


A totals bet doesn’t involve predicting the winner of the game at all. Rather, you wager on whether the final score would go under or over a set number of points. As an example, a Heat-Mavericks game might have this line:

OVER 220


By taking the over, you’re betting that both teams score over 220 points combined. If you take the under, you’re betting on the opposite. In case the teams score exactly 220 points, you’d receive your wager back.

Other Bets

Once you get your feet wet, you may want to move on to the more demanding types of bets. These include parlays and prop bets.


A parlay wager allows you to combine two or more bets on one ticket. The combinations are endless, as you can mix spreads, totals, and moneylines. For instance, your parley wager might look like the following:

LA Clippers moneyline

Houston Rockets +9.5

Sixers – Knicks OVER 210

Parlay tickets are risky because all the bets you put on them must hit. If you lose even a single bet, you don’t earn any money. On the positive side, a successful parlay wager can lead to a major plus-money payout.

Prop Bets

These bets come in two major categories: player props and game props. Betting on a player prop involves betting on specific events or highlights. These bets often don’t directly correlate to the game’s outcome.

For example, you can bet on James Harden scoring 30 points against the Detroit Pistons. Other than points, the most common player props include assists and rebounds.

Game props work in a similar manner. You can bet on things like which team will win the first half or score more points in the first quarter. There are plenty of options here, which is always a good thing.

Betting Tips

Now that you’re more familiar with the types of NBA bets, it’s time to talk about strategy.

If you’re looking for advice on specific games, it’s easy to find NBA picks that may provide value. That said, there are plenty of tips that come in handy in any situation. Here are some things you should look out for.


Did you know that most NBA players and coaches refer to Toronto as “White Vegas?” The main reason for this is the city’s enjoyable party environment. When other teams come to Toronto, they’re statistically likely to play worse.

Another way to take fatigue into account is to pay attention to teams’ schedules. From time to time, every team will have to play many games in a short timespan. Exploit that by identifying these teams and betting against them.

Keep in mind that mental fatigue plays a big role, too. When faced with a 4-game road trip, many teams try to earn a 2-2 split. If they go 2-1 through the first three games, they’re more likely to stumble in the last one.

Home-Court Advantage

In this league, home-court advantage is worth exactly 2.3 points. This accounts for factors such as crowd noise, comfort, and referee treatment. This number may seem insignificant, but it may contribute to finding good value bets.

For instance, let’s say that the Brooklyn Nets are hosting the Boston Celtics. On a neutral court, we may consider the Celtics to be a better team by 5.5 points. In Brooklyn, however, Boston would only be a 2.3 point favorite.


Long-term injuries are easy to account for. If a star player gets injured, oddsmakers will always adjust the odds to reflect that. That said, many smaller injuries don’t get reported until close to the tip-off.

Before placing your bet, make sure you have up-to-date information. Wait as long as necessary and scour the injury report tables for fresh news. If you’re diligent enough, you’ll be able to react before the market catches up.

More on NBA Betting

As you can see, NBA betting isn’t that complicated. As long as you do your research, you’ll be able to get ahead of the market.

One final tip: don’t give up if things don’t go according to plan early on. If you lose a bet, ask yourself why that happened and what you could have done about it. Once you find angles that make sense to you, keep using them.

Looking for more information about the NBA? Want to check how specific teams perform during this stretch of the season? Take a look at our NBA section!