The NBA is one of the most popular US pro sports leagues for betting, and its global reach is continually expanding. The spread of legalized sports betting across the US only aids the NBA’s popularity. Every state with legal sportsbooks offers betting on basketball.
That means NBA betting is legal at casinos, racetracks, off-track betting parlors, and at online and mobile sports betting operators across the country. NBA betting may come to your state because many have passed bills legalizing sports betting while other states are considering it.
Here’s a complete look at NBA betting across the US, including in which states you can bet on the NBA online and in person. You’ll also find answers to the most frequently asked questions about NBA betting and some expert insights on the best NBA betting strategies.
States that host legal sports betting provide single-game NBA wagering and NBA futures markets. If you’re 21 years or older and inside state lines, you can bet on the outcome of most NBA games. Also, you can wager on prospects of most NBA teams at licensed retail sportsbooks and their online sports betting apps.
In other words, online NBA betting is legal in many parts of the US, so depending on which state you are in, you can place a legal wager. New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Iowa and Indiana all allow statewide online and mobile sports betting.
Mississippi offers online and mobile NBA betting as long as you’re on the licensed sportsbook’s property. Several more states are planning to launch online and mobile sports betting in the near future.
Mobile sports betting apps and websites in New Jersey, Nevada, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Rhode Island, Iowa and Indiana all offer the same NBA betting markets available at local retail sportsbooks. Furthermore, there’s a growing list of states that will soon provide the same NBA betting markets online.
You can access most legal regulated sportsbooks via your computer, laptop or mobile device. Sportsbook operators usually offer a sports betting app for Apple and Android mobile devices. Beyond screen sizes, online sportsbooks and betting apps are almost identical. They include the same full slate of lines and odds.
Many betting apps are fully integrated between the sportsbook and casino, which allows you to move from one to the other seamlessly. Whether on an app, online or in-person, you easily can place a bet, play around with the bet slip, test out potential payouts, make deposits and cash out your winnings.
As long as you have correctly registered your account and are within the boundaries of a legal sports betting state, you can place a bet on the NBA.
As one of the most developed online sports betting markets in the US, bettors in New Jersey have more than a dozen online sportsbooks and betting app options. Our top three overall sportsbook picks:
See more recommendations for the best sites to bet on the NBA in New Jersey here:
Pennsylvania is a burgeoning online sports betting market with the first wave of sportsbooks and apps out already and a second wave soon to come. Major in-state casino players have launched and driven the action while DraftKings looks poised to continue its domination.
Our top three sportsbook apps in PA:
See more recommendations for the best NBA betting apps in the Keystone State here:
Indiana is new to the online sportsbook game, having just launched in October 2019.
See more recommendations for NBA betting apps in Indiana here:
A new player in the sports betting game, West Virginia came online in August 2019. All five in-state casinos have sportsbook licenses, but only three have betting apps out or are in-progress.
The three sports betting apps in WV are:
More details here:
There are some differences when it comes to betting on the NBA online as opposed to in-person at a retail sportsbook. The first difference is that you need to sign up for an account. It requires a minimal amount of personal information that, for the most part, is limited to your home address and the last four digits of your Social Security number.
Online and mobile sports betting operators also verify your age and location before you can bet freely. Then, once that process is complete, you will need to get money onto the site or app for wagering. Fortunately, sports betting websites and mobile apps across the US also make this an easy process.
Most accept major credit cards, online bank transfers, and popular third-party payment processors, e.g., PayPal. Plus, cash options include making a deposit at an affiliated casino cage, or 7-Eleven or CVS stores using PayNearMe. Once you are set up, you should notice the second difference between betting online versus in-person at a retail sportsbook.
Online sportsbooks offer you the chance to sift through all the NBA betting options before you place a bet. You can see all the varieties of outcomes before you bet online and choose your bets accordingly. If you try that at a betting window inside a busy sportsbook, someone will probably call security.
Online, there’s no waiting in line. You can search through all the available options, and you’ll enjoy quick access to all available in-play and in-game NBA betting options as well. While the retail sportsbook experience is an enjoyable one, the availability of online and mobile NBA betting only enhances it.
See a snapshot of today’s NBA betting lines below; click the “Bet Now” link to open an account and see the full NBA betting slate. Use the drop-down menus to toggle between states and moneyline, spread and totals betting lines.
As NBA fans know, the Toronto Raptors rode a wave of Kawhi Leonard and some major injuries to the Golden State Warriors to win their first-ever NBA Championship in 2018-19.
Kawhi, of course, has moved on to the LA Clippers and instantly (along with Paul George) made them a Finals favorite. The Lakers, with Anthony Davis now in the fold alongside LeBron, are also an early betting draw.
The Raptors Finals forecast has dropped some but are by no means out of the picture—and especially in the Eastern Conference. If you want to see the current odds and get a bet down on your favorite team to win the 2019-20 NBA Finals, check out DraftKings:
*Odds as of Jan. 20, 2020 at DraftKings Sportsbook
Betting on individual NBA games usually involves the following basic single-game wagers:
NBA futures markets are exactly what they sound like. These are NBA bets involving something where the outcome is not determined until the future.
These betting markets open before the season. The odds on each team adjust throughout the year as their chances of winning increase or decrease.
Most state gaming commissions allow for team prop bets, e.g., how many wins a team will have throughout the season. Also, they will allow player prop bets for each game or things like the annual NBA Awards or NBA draft.
Here’s a list of NBA futures and props you’ll find at legal US sportsbooks:
NBA moneyline bets pay according to each team’s probability of winning. Moneyline bets require you to pick a game’s outright winner. The posted odds are locked in at the time you place the bet.
Sportsbooks post the odds on each team as either a negative (-) or positive (+) number.
Negative numbers indicate that the team is the favorite and represents how much you must bet to win $100 plus your bet back.
Positive numbers indicate that the team is the underdog and represents how much each $100 you bet will pay, plus your bet back.
NBA spreads are the number of points oddsmakers figure one team should win by in a game. The home team is a standard 1.5-point favorite in most NBA games. Check the line and predict who will win the game with that line factored in.
Taking the favorite means you must subtract the spread from the team’s final score to determine a betting winner.
Taking the underdog means you’re betting on that team to win outright or lose by less than the spread. NBA spread bets are booked at moneyline odds posted by sportsbooks.
NBA totals require you to pick whether the total score in a game will end up over or under a line set by sportsbooks. NBA totals bets are also booked at moneyline odds posted by sportsbooks.
When you combine two or more basic bets into one wager, you’re subsequently betting on a parlay. Parlays pay better than individual bets, but the catch is that you must win all the bets in the parlay to win anything.
As a beginner NBA bettor, parlay bets can look enticing with their odds and potential payouts, but they are fairly challenging bets to win.
Oddsmakers create lines for the basic NBA bets described above based on several factors. These include the scheduling and location of the game, historical matchup statistics, each team’s expected lineup, and both seasonal and most recent performance data.
Lines are also set based on a few fundamental NBA game principles. These include:
Obviously, it’s a good idea to consider all these factors when deciding which side of an NBA line you should bet.
Lines on the basic NBA bets, which you see above, will differ from operator to operator. Therefore, you will find value by shopping around for the best lines at different sportsbooks.
If you can lay less money on a favorite or get more on an underdog, you are essentially putting money in your pocket. Obviously, this is easier with online and mobile sports betting. However, sharp sports bettors will also shop around at retail sportsbooks in search of the best price on a bet.
NBA lines only move for two reasons:
The first is an injury to a key player, which is entirely understandable.
In the 2019-20 NBA season, teams will be forced to provide the lineup for each game a half-hour before tipoff. If a key player is not on the lineup for one team, you will see sportsbooks adjust the basic NBA lines for the game ahead of time.
The second reason an NBA line might move is when more money comes in on one side or the other.
Sportsbooks set lines in the middle to attract action to both sides of a bet. That way, they are less exposed to major losses. If a significantly greater amount of money is bet on one side, they will move the line to reduce that exposure.
Bettors can track this artificial line movement and take advantage of the better price offered on a bet. Think of it like betting on oddsmakers being right the first time they set the line and then taking advantage of the fact that while their minds haven’t changed, the line has.
Most state gaming commissions allow for live betting, aka in-play betting, on NBA games. This means you can make bets in the middle of an NBA game at odds that change as the action does.
It’s an excellent option for bettors who actively watch NBA games. Particularly in jurisdictions where mobile sports betting apps are legal. With the odds continually changing, it can be difficult to get live bets placed at retail sportsbooks.
Sometimes the line at the betting window can prevent you from placing a bet. Therefore, in-play betting is better for online and mobile wagering.
Sports betting apps that offer in-play betting require quick access to NBA data. Therefore, the ones that have a deal with the NBA offering access to game data have an advantage in setting these live and in-play lines.
NBA.com releases the NBA Power Rankings every Monday during the NBA season. It also issues a midsummer power rankings at the end of July after most top-tier free agents have signed.
The NBA.com Power Rankings are put together by NBA beat writer John Schuhmann, which means it is really just one man’s opinion. However, the power rankings can be valuable to NBA bettors who put stock in the idea that the best team almost always wins.
Here’s a quick look at NBA.com’s pre-season NBA Power Rankings:
Betting on the NBA at legal US sportsbooks is an easy process. It’s picking winners that is anything but easy.
Those who are the most successful at betting on the NBA will follow proven betting strategies they have developed over time. Some even employ computer modeling and algorithms to give them an edge.
Most also carefully manage their betting bankroll, limiting exposure and slowly grind out small edges to make a profit.
You want to look for value in the betting lines to give you an edge. Oddsmakers aren’t above making a mistake, and you need to pounce on these when you can.
Finding value can be challenging, but the following NBA betting tips might help:
Try to avoid the following when betting on the NBA:
Do enough research and you’ll come across a few NBA betting systems that promise to be profitable. Just remember, anything can happen in the NBA.
Here’s a look at a few of the most popular NBA betting systems:
NBA betting is legal at licensed online and mobile sportsbooks in the following states:
The following states are also planning to license online and mobile sportsbooks soon:
NBA betting is legal at licensed retail sportsbooks in the following states:
The following states have legalized retail sports betting, but licensed sportsbooks have yet to launch:
NBA spreads are the same as spreads in other sports. Oddsmakers set a line on the number of points the favorite is expected to win by. That number is then deducted from the favorite’s final score to determine a betting winner. That means favorites need to win by the spread or more, while underdogs can win outright or lose by less than the spread.
You sure can. Betting against the spread simply means you’re betting on the underdog to win outright or to lose by less than the spread.
The best way to predict whether a game will land on the over or the under is to research the teams involved. Check how many points were scored the last time they played. Look at team scoring averages and the specific scheduling situation both teams are in heading into the matchup.
NBA totals, otherwise known as the over/under, is a bet on whether the two teams in an NBA game will combine to score more points than a line set by oddsmakers.
If you bet on NBA totals and the teams hit the line exactly, it is a push. That means you’ll get your bet back.
Overtime counts in NBA totals unless otherwise specified. If a game is tied at the end of regulation, over bettors will start to smile.
Oddsmakers adjust the basic lines for an NBA game based on first-half performance. You can lock in bets on these second-half NBA lines during halftime and either earn back some of what you’re expecting to lose on your pregame bets or eke out an even bigger profit.
Sportsbooks create lines based on things like the scheduling and location of a game, stats based on the history of the two teams involved, and recent performance data. Oddsmakers also lean on basic NBA principles that include the reality of home-court advantage and the fact that most NBA games are decided by just a basket or two.
NBA handicap betting is just another name for NBA spread betting. The handicap line is just the point spread set by oddsmakers.
The NBA Draft Lottery is how the NBA decides the order teams will pick in the NBA Draft. It is held annually in May. The 2020 NBA Draft Lottery is scheduled for May 19, 2020, in Chicago. Teams get more entries into the draw for the top picks based on how bad the season went.
The NBA Draft is where teams get to pick the rights to new players from colleges or overseas. It is held annually in June. The 2020 NBA Draft is set for June 25, 2020, in New York City.