Update: The NBA is back! On June 5 the NBA approved a 22-team return to play format for the 2020 season. Games resumed July 31 in Orlando and NBA Championship odds are being offered at US online sportsbooks right now; see live NBA odds and lines below.
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 sportsbooks and betting apps across the country. NBA betting might already be legal in your state, too, as several have passed bills legalizing sports betting in the past few years.
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, NBA finals odds and some expert insights on the best NBA betting tips.
States that host legal sports betting provide single-game NBA betting 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. You can also bet on the prospects of most NBA teams and players at licensed online sportsbooks and their sports betting apps.
Here’s a list of the current states offering legal online NBA betting:
All the above states 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, including Michigan and Virginia, are planning to launch online and mobile sports betting in the near future.
Mobile sports betting apps and websites in NJ, CO, NV, PA, WV, RI, IA and IN all offer the same NBA betting markets available at local retail sportsbooks.
You can access most legal online sportsbooks via your computer, laptop or cell phone. 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.
DraftKings Sportsbook is legal in: NJ, CO, PA, WV, IN, NH, IA
NBA bettors can get an account at DraftKings, a DFS and sports betting powerhouse, and access the sportsbook and casino. Fully downloadable iOS and Android apps are both available as is a web-based sportsbook. NBA markets include team and player futures, game lines & odds and varied prop bets
FanDuel Sportsbook is legal in: NJ, CO, PA, WV and IN
FanDuel Sportsbook is legal in: NJ, CO, PA, WV and IN
Top-grossing online sportsbook & sportsbook app in multiple states. FanDuel is a market leader in every state it has launched with a great interface and a massive selection of NBA lines, futures & props.
BetMGM Sportsbook is legal in: NJ, CO, IN and WV
Among the best sports betting apps; it’s easy to use with competitive NBA lines and futures markets. This NBA sports betting app is fully downloadable iOS and Android apps are both available alongside the online sportsbook.
The bubble is bursting with NBA game action every day as teams angle for playoff seeds and rev up for a run to the finals. Here are the real-time odds for every game in Orlando as you’ll find them at legal US online sportsbooks. Use the toggle menu to find sportsbooks in your state and to see moneyline odds and totals odds.
The Toronto Raptors rode a wave of Kawhi Leonard and major injuries to the Golden State Warriors to win their first-ever NBA Championship in 2018-19. Kawhi, of course, moved on to the LA Clippers and instantly (along with Paul George) made them a 2020 Finals favorite.
The Los Angeles Lakers, with Anthony Davis in the fold alongside LeBron, also became instant contenders alongside the Milwaukee Bucks with Giannis Antetokounmpo.
As the NBA season prepares to restart after the global pandemic, those three remain the odds-on favorites. Twenty-two teams have been invited to Orlando to play down to a 2020 NBA Champion with play-in games to determine seeding.
Here are the current NBA Finals odds at legal US online sportsbooks including DraftKings and FanDuel. Use the drop-down menus to change your state or see more NBA odds markets including to win each Conference, win MVP and win Rookie of the Year. Click any odds number to claim your bonus and start the registration process.
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.
Betting on individual NBA games usually involves the following basic single-game wagers:
Visit this in-depth guide for sports betting beginners to learn more.
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.
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.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:
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.