NBA Betting: How To Bet, Top Sportsbooks, Latest News, Analysis

In terms of overall interest at legal US sportsbooks, basketball and NBA betting receives a lot of traffic. The high-scoring league has many diehard fans and a regular season that is packed with games. There’s an even bigger spike in interest when the NBA playoffs roll around.

That sets the stage for the NBA Finals, one of the biggest highlights of the yearly sports calendar. Here’s our complete look at how to legally and safely bet on the NBA here in the US.

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How to bet on the NBA

  1. Pick one of the sportsbooks above that features the best promotions and NBA odds for you. Most sports betting apps offer the same standard NBA bets. But some of the more niche options may only be available on particular platforms.
  2. Sign up for an account at the sportsbook you select. Please gamble responsibly.
  3. Choose a deposit method. Popular options include online banking, debit card and PayPal.
  4. When money is in the account, go to the NBA section and view the available betting options.
  5. Some sportsbooks may offer special retention promos or odds boosts for the NBA. Go to the “Promos” or “Boost” section of the sportsbook to view what’s available.

Some of the growth of legal sports betting can be tied to its variety of flexible options. You can bet online or in-person in a number of states, and also on the go via apps. Here are some of the top legal apps for betting on the NBA in a number of states.

DraftKings Sportsbook

The DraftKings app is among the best in online sports betting, as it offers a good number of features on an easy-to-use platform. For the NBA, it has a solid list of props for each game along with live betting once the games get underway.

DraftKings Sportsbook is available in the following states: AZ, CO, CT, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV & WY.

FanDuel Sportsbook

Starting with its roots in daily fantasy sports, FanDuel has had a reputation for being user-friendly, and the sportsbook is similar. Navigation is smooth, from depositing money to placing bets. The same-game parlay feature has been popular for NBA action.

FanDuel Sportsbook is available in the following states: AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV & WY.

BetMGM Sportsbook

BetMGM has inked a number of promotional deals and plans to expand into additional states, as well. Its app features a range of sports and wagers. NBA bettors will find that odds and lines stack up well with the competition.

BetMGM Sportsbook is available in the following states: AZ, CO, DC, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MA, MD, MI, MS, NJ, OH, NV, NY, PA, TN, VA, WV & WY – Note: Offer not available in DC, MS, NV or NY.

PointsBet Sportsbook

Since its US debut in New Jersey in January 2019, PointsBet has expanded to several other states, with more on the horizon. One of its hallmarks has been PointsBetting, a feature that alters how much you can win or lose depending on how right or wrong your bet is.

PointsBet Sportsbook is available in the following states: CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, MD, MI, NJ, NY, OH, PA, VA & WV.

BetRivers Sportsbook

A member of the Rush Street Gaming family, BetRivers Sportsbook has gone from a regional player to having a presence in more states. A strong betting platform and solid rewards program have helped with that. NBA bettors will find competitive odds and lines.

BetRivers Sportsbook is available in the following states: AZ, CO, IL, IN, IA, LA, MD, MI, OH, NJ, NY, PA, VA & WV.

Understanding how bonus offers work

As states go online with legal betting, the sportsbooks able to operate there will compete to attract users, including by offering various bonuses. These will vary, but it makes sense to shop around while looking for places to play. Here are some of the most common sign-up promos:

Beyond initial sign-up offers, sportsbooks will also extend promotional offers to existing users. For example, there may be an odds boost on an NBA bet, or bet insurance up to a certain amount if you miss a single leg of a parlay.

NBA odds explained

You’ll find odds and lines at legal sportsbooks for every NBA game. If you click on the NBA or basketball tab, the main betting lobby will populate with upcoming games. The default listing features three main bets. Here’s how each one works.

Moneyline betting

Choose which side you think will win the game. The odds will indicate whether a team is the favorite or underdog: negative for the former and positive for the latter. A large gap between the numbers indicates an anticipated mismatch, while a closer range indicates a toss-up.

Milwaukee Bucks+105
Los Angeles Lakers-115

Learn more: What is the moneyline?

Point spread betting

Sportsbooks set a spread, which is essentially an estimated margin of victory to factor into your decision. You can bet on the favorite minus the spread number or the underdog plus the number. For you to win the bet, the side you choose has to cover the spread.

Los Angeles Clippers+2.5 (-110)
Brooklyn Nets-2.5 (-110)

Totals betting

Oddsmakers set a line for the total combined points in a game. You decide if you think the actual total points for the game will be over or under that line.

Over214.5 (-110)
Under214.5 (-110)

You might see odds for the following day’s NBA games the evening before, and they should for sure be available by the morning of the contest. After release, the odds and lines can shift in response to betting action or new information such as injuries.

It’s a good idea to shop around prior to placing any bets. The numbers won’t always be exactly the same everywhere, and seemingly minor differences can add up. Some bettors like to wager soon after the initial release, while others prefer waiting until closer to tipoff.

Time of BetAdvantageDisadvantage
When the lines come outYou’re wagering on the number set by the book without worrying about market influences.New information may emerge in advance of tipoff that could impact the bet.
Just ahead of tipoffAll of the information is in, and the market has spoken.Late movements can impact your perception of the contest.
Live after the game has startedReal-time wagering allows you to focus on the game in progress.Need to pay careful attention as the game plays out.

Online sportsbooks will also have some standard rules that cover the placement and settlement of bets, as well as any circumstances that could impact the proceedings. For the NBA, here are some points to keep in mind:

Understanding vig/juice

Vigorish, also known as “vig” or juice, is the amount that sportsbooks tilt the odds in their favor to try to guarantee a profit. With standard point spread betting odds of -110, for instance, a $100 bet would stand to win a profit of $90.91 if correct. So if the betting money coming in is even or nearly even on both sides, sportsbooks will make money on the bet instead of it being a wash.

Of course, the vig can change in either direction. Very favorable results will have a lot of vig, while unlikely situations would have higher payouts. It’s also important for bettors to do some line shopping and determine the best available odds. Our odds pages feature tools to help with this process.

Futures, props and live betting odds

The big three bets aren’t the only ways to wager on the NBA. There’s an active futures market for pro basketball, as well as various props for each contest. Once the games start, you can also place live bets as the action plays out.

NBA futures betting

Futures odds for the NBA will appear first in the offseason and are for long-term bets, generally on outcomes of the full season or playoffs.

When betting on futures, the goal is to make the right call while also finding the selections you want at the best possible prices. This is another area in which line shopping can be beneficial.

NBA prop betting

You can find props for upcoming NBA games by clicking on each individual game listing. There’s typically a range of choices for each contest, with options like game, team and player scenarios.

On the player prop side, those with fantasy sports experience often find this to be a natural entry point for crossing into sports betting. Many wagers focus on specific accomplishments, so projection skills and experience translate well.

NBA live betting

After the games get started, you can bet live as the action plays out. Many legal books have dedicated sections for current and upcoming live betting options.

Live betting is fast-paced, which makes it easy to get caught up in the action. That being the case, it’s imperative to have a clear budget in place and limits to adhere to whenever you plan on betting on a live NBA game.

How the playoffs work

Since the 1984 season, the NBA playoffs have traditionally included 16 teams: eight each from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference. The format expanded prior to the restarted 2019-20 season to include play-in rounds. That addition is here to stay this season. Here’s how the NBA playoffs will work under those rules.

Betting on the NBA Finals

The NBA Finals pit the winners of the two conferences in a best-of-seven series to determine a champion. It’s the signature event of the NBA season, and also the star attraction from a betting perspective. You can bet on the NBA Finals in several ways. Here are some of the top options:

Each game will also have a variety of props, and after the games tip off, you can place live bets in real time.

Since 2018, the NBA has inked deals with a number of gambling companies, including MGM Resorts International, DraftKings and FanDuel. Individual teams can sign their own sponsorship deals, as well, and many have done so, including the following:

TeamSportsbookDeal Highlights
Detroit PistonsDraftKings, FanDuel, PointsBet, BetRiversAll books gain access to various promotional and advertising opportunities.
Denver NuggetsPointsBetNamed official betting partner on team media outlets, branding throughout the arena.
Indiana PacersDraftKings, PointsBetDraftKings gets branding in the arena and a postgame presence. PointsBet gets signage and special sign-up offers.
Memphis GrizzliesFanDuelMarketing in the arena, access to marks and logos, contest integration in telecasts.
New York KnicksDraftKings, FanDuelArena signage and various other promotional and advertising opportunities.
Philadelphia 76ersBetMGM, DraftKings, Fox BetBetMGM gets signage and a branded game. DraftKings gets marks, logos and other opportunities. Fox Bet gets branding across 76ers assets.

As more states legalize sports betting, we could end up seeing more deals between NBA teams and sports betting companies in the future as additional states legalize sports betting.

NBA betting FAQs

Where can I bet on the NBA?

All of the top online sportsbooks offer NBA wagers in states where they are legal. This includes traditional spreads and totals, along with various props, futures and same-game parlays. View our list to find out what states have legalized sports betting.

How can I bet on the NBA online?

As long as you’re in a state where online betting is legal, it’s easy to create an account and place a bet online. Make sure you’re at a legal book when doing so.

What is the difference between DraftKings and FanDuel for NBA betting?

For the most part, top sportsbooks will feature very similar wagering options for the NBA. Some differences may include the specific odds, niche props and retention offers. Sportsbooks will have different layouts in how they present what they offer for NBA betting. They will also feature different odds boosts when available.

Where can I get free NBA predictions?

Legal Sports Report does not offer picks and predictions on NBA games. We provide information on how and where to bet, including promotional information from top legal sportsbooks. We also provide tools and resources to help people understand odds and make educated bets.

Can NBA betting be profitable?

There’s an extremely slim chance that your sports bets will be profitable long-term. LSR features content to be a safer and smarter bettor, including understanding odds and bankroll management. For many, online sports betting should be a fun and leisurely activity. As always, please gamble responsibly.

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