The 2018-19 NBA playoffs tip off on Saturday. Thanks to the spread of legal sports betting across the country, there are now eight states where you can bet on the action.
The NBA playoffs are a lot like the NCAA Tournament with a few significant differences.
Instead of a single-elimination tournament, the NBA playoffs is a best-of-seven elimination tournament. Plus, instead of playing for a National Championship, the NBA playoffs determine which team will be this season’s NBA champions.
Additionally, the NBA playoffs feature only 16 teams, not 64. Only the top eight teams from each of the Eastern and Western conferences battle it out for the title.
Each team’s regular season record determines seeded matchups and position in the final conference standings after the 82-game NBA regular season wraps up.
When it comes to betting on the NBA playoffs, it’s not much different than betting on the NBA during the regular season. Except that in the playoffs you can wager on the outcome of individual games, each seven-game series, and who will win it all.
Basic NBA playoffs betting
Basic NBA playoffs bets available at most legal sportsbooks across the US include:
- Futures: A bet on one of the playoff teams still in contention to win a series, conference or the NBA Finals. Odds are adjusted as the playoffs continue.
- Moneylines: A bet on one team to win an NBA playoff game paying either negative (favorite) or positive (underdog) odds. Odds are set according to what oddsmakers feel are each team’s probability of winning. All you have do is pick the outright winner.
- Spreads: A bet on one team to win an NBA playoff game with a spread set by oddsmakers factored into the final score.
- Totals: A bet on whether the total score in an NBA playoff game will be over or under a line set by oddsmakers.
- Parlays: Two or more basic bets put together into one wager. All legs of a parlay must win to get paid.
Betting on the NBA playoffs first-round series
You can always pick a team to win it all and put a bet down it. Outside of that, the easiest way to wager on the NBA playoffs is to pick winners in each series.
The first round of seven-game series featuring all 16 NBA playoffs teams begins April 13. Most legal sportsbooks across the US will have odds set on who will win each series.
Here’s a look at the odds on the first-round series at two of the top sportsbooks in the country as of April 11:
|NBA Playoffs 1st Round Series||FanDuel Sportsbook (NJ)||Parx Sportsbook (PA)|
|Philadelphia 76ers vs Brooklyn Nets||Philadelphia -650|
|Houston Rockets vs Utah Jazz||Houston -300|
|Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Clippers||Golden State -20000|
Los Angeles +5500
|Golden State N/A
Los Angeles +2000
|Toronto Raptors vs Orlando Magic||Toronto -1200|
|Milwaukee Bucks vs Detroit Pistons||Milwaukee -4000|
|Denver Nuggets vs San Antonio Spurs||Denver -240|
San Antonio +190
San Antonio +220
|Portland Trail Blazers vs Oklahoma City Thunder||Portland +122|
Oklahoma City -148
Oklahoma City -143
|Boston Celtics vs Indiana Pacers||Boston -460|
- West Virginia
- Rhode Island
- New Mexico (At Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel only)
If you can, it’s always a good idea to shop around for the best price these and other bets. Then, lock it in when you find the most favorable.
Legal sportsbooks can also be a fun place to watch NBA playoff games. Most will offer live in-play betting options on NBA playoff games. This allows you to make wagers with odds that are adjusted throughout each game.
Enjoy the NBA playoffs and good luck, no matter how you choose to bet on it.