The 2019 NBA playoff finals encapsulated everything that is brilliant and exciting about basketball. There was drama aplenty as the Toronto Raptors overcame the Golden State Warriors, arguably one of the finest teams in NBA history.
With over 1000 high-octane games played every season, there is plenty of action to bet on in basketball. As the biggest, most popular league in the sport, it is incredibly easy to find sportsbooks that allow betting on NBA games.
Many sportsbooks also make it a habit to provide attractive to bonuses to their customers. As a punter, you can leverage these bonuses to your advantage and rake in extra winnings.
This guide will teach you all about the basics of basketball betting and provide useful tips on NBA sportsbook bonuses.
The Basics of Betting on Basketball
Sports betting on basketball games can seem complicated if you are a beginner. This is actually true about any team-based sport in general.
With so many factors and potential outcomes to bet on, it is quite natural to feel overwhelmed. But don’t let that get you down, because basketball betting is actually very simple once you understand the basics.
Pre-match Vs Live Betting
In a live sporting event like an NBA game, sports betting can be approached in two main ways:
● You can place bets before the start of the match (pre-match bets)
● Or place bets while the match unfolds (live sports bets)
In pre-match betting, you can place bets well in advance of the start of the game, even weeks or months ahead. You can even place bets on the outcome of the entire playoff finals. For example, before the playoffs began, the Raptors were clear underdogs at odds of +1400. If you had placed a $100 bet on them before the start of the finals, you could have won $1400!
In live betting, you are free to place bets for the relatively short duration when the game is happening. Sportsbooks will accept bets on markets like which team is going to win a quarter, or total points scored in a quarter, that sort of thing.
Next, there is the issue of the different types of bets involved in basketball games. Sportsbooks will usually offer odds on the following types of bets in NBA games:
Money line bets
These are the easiest type of bets for beginners to understand because of their extreme simplicity. A money line bet pretty straightforward - you place money on any one team to win the game. The example we mentioned for pre-match betting is a money line bet.
Money line bets are extremely popular in many sports and basketball was no exception in the past. But these bets have one weakness - since some teams are stronger than others, those teams will attract more bets, resulting in a lopsided betting market.
To create a more level playing field, other betting markets like point spread and over/under were introduced in basketball. Since then, money line bets have become less popular to bettors.
Points spreads were introduced in basketball because people were all betting on the favorites in money line bets. You will find this system in football as well. If you are familiar with betting in the NFL, then the NBA should hold no mysteries for you as far as wagers are concerned!
If you are a rank beginner to all kinds of sports betting, point spread might sound a bit confusing in the beginning. It works quite similar to the handicap system in golf - leveling the playing field between stronger and weaker teams.
In the points spread, the stronger team which is expected to win the match is called the favorites. Their opponents are called the underdogs. The favorites are given a handicap of a specific number of points, determined by their perceived skill and form advantage over their opponents. The handicap or point spread is decided by the oddsmaker or the sportsbook.
It works like this - the Warriors are one of the best teams in recent history, while the Knicks are pretty awful. In any game involving the two, the Warriors would be overwhelming favorites in a money line market. But in an example of a point spread, Warriors are called 15-point favorites. The odds would look like this:
Warriors -15 (110)
Knicks +15 (110)
That means if you want to bet on the Warriors and win cash, your team has to win by a margin of 15+ points. If they only win by 10, you don’t get any money. If they win by exactly 15 points, it is a tie and no cash changes hands. If Knicks win or lose by less than 15 points, you lose the cash you wagered on the game.
In a point spread bet, to get $100 as winnings, you have to bet $110. That extra $10 is the commission pocketed by the sportsbook (11-to-10 odds). Depending on the odds for a game, this number can fluctuate.
After point spread, this is the second most favorite betting market in basketball. These bets are also called over/under bets. Here you will basically try to predict how high or low the total points scored in the game will be.
The sportsbook will put up a number, and you have the option of placing your bet on the final score being over or under that figure. In the NBA, games tend to be rather high scoring affairs, with teams routinely going above 90 points.
So the common totals predicted too range between 180 and 220. For example, the 2019 finals game 6 between Raptors and the Warriors had a total of 212 at several sportsbooks. The game ended 114-110 for the Raptors. If you placed an under bet on this market, you would have lost your cash.
Totals betting is similar to point spread with regard to betting odds - you have to bet $11 to stand a chance of winning $10 back. That $1 is the risk you have to take in order to win. And if you don’t want to use your own money and try games that rely less of skill but more on luck, try these no deposit slots.
Exotic Bets - Parlays & Teasers
These are the advanced types of bets offered in basketball games. Parlays and teasers involve betting on the results of multiple games. You can bet on two or more matches happening that week in the NBA.
In parlays, you can take the point spread or the money line markets - the choice is yours. In teasers, you only have the point spread, but with the added freedom to adjust the spread in their favor.
But that kind of freedom comes at a price - you have to pick the winner in all the chosen games to win the bet. If you get 2 out of 3 or even 5 out of 6 right, it is still a loss. If you are a beginner, you may not want to play against such odds.
Online Sportsbooks & Basketball Bonuses
With the rise of the internet, online sportsbooks have become the go-to destination for bets on NBA games. And now thanks to the legalization of sports betting in the US, there is a glut of sportsbooks for NBA betting.
Some of the top names in the market at the moment include:
● 888 Sportsbook NJ
● Betstars NJ
● Draftkings Sportsbook
Faced with intense competition, most online sportsbooks offer a bevy of bonuses to keep players wagering on their platforms. These sportsbook bonuses can be used on NBA bets as well:
● Welcome Bonus - these are cash bonuses credited to your online sportsbook account when you join their site and make a deposit. The bonus cash is usually a percentage of your initial deposit, anywhere between 10% to 100% or more.
● No Deposit Bonus - these are usually small token amounts given to new visitors at an online sportsbook. The aim is to give you a taste of online gambling, in the hope that you sign up and deposit your money there.
● Free Bet - sites offer this as part of the Welcome Bonus or other promo deals. You basically get a free bet whose size is determined by your deposit. Often the bet is 100% your deposit amount. But if you win the bet, you will not get the stake, just the winnings.
● Reloads - these are matching bonuses offered on deposits you make at the sportsbook after your initial deposit. They will usually provide a percentage of your deposit as the cash bonus.
● Cashback - Some sportsbooks offer a percentage of your losses at their site as bonus cash.
All bonuses (except cashback) are subject to rollover requirements, which mean that you cannot withdraw the bonus funds without wagering them a specific number of times at the sportsbook. They are also subject to other terms and conditions like expiry dates and ineligible betting markets. Read all T&C details before using these bonuses on your NBA bets.
Now you can bet like a pro:
That’s it. You’ve made it to the end of our practical guide. You are now all set to start betting like a pro on the NBA! Good luck