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The mantle for which sports league is most popular with Americans outside of football is still up for grabs, but there’s a good case that it’s the NBA and basketball.
That, in turn, translates into pro hoops being one of the most popular sports to bet on. Betting on professional basketball is now legal in a growing number of states across the country.
Read on for more information about NBA betting, where you can wager on NBA games, and more.
Once upon a time, the only place you could bet on the NBA was in Nevada. Sportsbooks have been legal there for decades, and online sports betting has been legal for the better of a decade.
But betting on the NBA is now legal in a variety of states, and its list is growing rapidly.
Here is where you can legally bet on NBA games currently:
|State||Is sports betting legal?||Is online sports betting legal?|
|Delaware||Yes||Yes, launch undetermined|
|Mississippi||Yes||Yes, on-property only|
|Montana||Yes, pending launch||Yes, pending launch|
|New Mexico||Yes, at multiple tribal casinos||No|
|North Carolina||Yes, pending launch||No|
|Tennessee||Yes, pending launch||Yes, pending launch|
|Washington DC||Yes, pending launch||Yes, pending launch|
In some of those states, you have to visit a physical sportsbook in order to bet. But online basketball betting is becoming more common. Here’s a look at where you can bet on NBA games via an app or website:
Betting on pro hoops is significant business in New Jersey. There are several teams that NJ residents root for: the Philadelphia 76ers, the New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets.
New Jersey has an advantage over a lot of other states, as well: easy access to the New York City market. New York has legal sports betting only in upstate casinos, and no sports betting online. That means NJ sportsbook operators have sole access to people that live or work in NYC.
Here is a sampling of NJ sportsbook apps available:
Pennsylvania is the biggest state in terms of population that has legal sports betting apps. The Sixers are the main game in town here, and after years stuck in the bottom of the heap of the Eastern Conference, interest in the team has been on the rise.
Here are the current sportsbook apps available in PA:
Indiana is one of the newest states with legal wagering; that includes both physical sportsbooks and sports betting apps available around the state.
Basketball of all types is big business in Indiana, from college to the NBA, with the Indiana Pacers in the state and the Chicago Bulls nearby. (For now, folks in the Windy City can easily cross the border and start betting online on NBA games and the Bulls.)
More info: Indiana sports betting apps.
There aren’t any NBA teams in West Virginia, but the state is still hoops crazy because of West Virginia University. That should lead NBA betting to come in No. 2 behind the NFL in terms of the amount wagered in the state.
More info: West Virginia sports betting apps.
Betting has been legal online in Nevada for nearly a decade, and as such, betting on basketball is already well established.
While there’s no NBA team in Sin City, there’s usually heavy action on the two nearby Los Angeles teams: the Lakers and Clippers.
Beyond that, the NBA is usually the king of betting in the city when football is not going (and outside of March Madness in college hoops).
More info: Nevada sports betting apps.
If you want to bet on the NBA legally in Iowa, you’re in luck. The state has both physical sportsbooks and online betting options.
Sports betting currently isn’t legal in any of the surrounding states, so NBA fans from beyond Iowa could make the pilgrimage to bet. (Illinois has legalized wagering, but it’s not yet live.
More info: Iowa sports betting apps.
The first state with legal sports betting on the Pacific Coast was Oregon, as of 2019. The Oregon Lottery offers a sports betting app in collaboration with SBTech.
Without top-level teams in most of the major pro sports leagues, the Portland Trail Blazers get an outsized amount of attention in Oregon. Betting on them could be the most significant single sector for online wagering in the state.
More info: Oregon sports betting apps.
There is just one app in the state, via the Rhode Island Lottery, to use for betting. Like much of Rhode Island, fans look north to Boston for their fandom and usually root for and bet on the Celtics.
More info: Rhode Island sports betting apps.
The states above all have legal sportsbooks, albeit of varying levels of competition and quality, for NBA betting. There are also a variety of options offshore, from companies that flout both federal and state laws to serve the US market.
As a bettor, you often don’t have to worry about legal issues regarding an offshore sportsbook, but legal sports betting does offer several advantages:
Two of the states have monopolies on sports betting, meaning bettors in the state have only one option. Despite that fact, those sportsbooks, in Oregon and Rhode Island, are at least competitive with offshore sportsbooks.
If you want to bet on an NBA in states with legal sports betting, you have a couple of options: Head to a sportsbook near where you live or wager online. In the early days of the expanded US betting market, we know that about 80% of wagers for NBA and other sports come online, a percentage that is only going to rise.
Why? For many people, betting online is more convenient. With an app, you can bet wherever you want, including at home while watching a game. You could even bet while at a sportsbook if you wanted.
A sportsbook is a different type of experience. You make bets before you watch a game; then you sit and watch how the game turned out, and perhaps have some drinks and food. As more NBA games start, you could place more bets. You get a communal feel betting and watching at a sportsbook, as people are rooting on their favorite NBA teams, and their bets.
The significant advantage of betting online is live betting (or in-game betting), which is difficult to do or outright impossible, depending on where you live.
If you made the decision to bet on NBA games online, you usually still have a choice to make, but this one often isn’t hard either.
US sportsbooks typically offer NBA betting both via a website and an app. The most convenient way for more bettors to get a wager down on the NBA is via a dedicated app. Apps will provide an experience that is tailormade for a mobile device, letting you bet anywhere you go.
Sportsbook apps are available for both Android devices (like the Samsung Galaxy) or iOS (iPhone and iPad). You can download Android apps from sportsbook websites; they are not available in the Google Play Store. For iOS, apps are always available in the App Store.
Sports betting sites are certainly convenient if you are near or on a computer, but betting on a phone is generally more accessible and can be done anywhere.
Every state where it is legal will take action on the NBA. While some states have limitations on college basketball, those are nonexistent for the major pro sports in the US.
There are several common ways to bet on NBA games:
To bet on the NBA at US online sportsbooks, you need to have a way to deposit online. Several options are available, depending on where you are, including PayPal, Neteller, e-checks, Play+ cards, and credit and debit cards. The options vary by state and by sportsbooks.
If you’re betting at a physical sportsbook, you will usually have to use cash to wager.
One of the fastest-growing segments in NBA betting is live betting or in-game betting.
One upon a time, the only way to bet on NBA games was before they happened, or if you were placing a futures bet. Now, those limitations have been eliminated, at least in states with online betting.
Here is a sampling of what you can bet on at some legal US sportsbooks:
Here are some frequently asked questions (and answers) about betting on the NBA:
Yes, you can bet in several states, including:
* Online betting is allowed statewide.
It will be legal in more states in short order.
Sportsbooks will set a number of points that one team will win by; for instance, the Lakers could be favored over the Sixers by 3 points. If you bet on the Lakers (-3), they would have to win by 4 points or more. If you bet on the Sixers (+3), they have to either win the game outright or lose by 1-2 points. If the Lakers win by 3 points in this situation, bettors will get their wagers back.
For an over/under bet, also known as a totals wager, sportsbooks will set the number of points that will be scored in a game. You can bet over or under that total. For example, for a game between the Lakers and Sixers, the total could be set at 240 points. If you bet the under, you are saying the combined points will be under that total. If exactly 240 points are scored, the bet is a “push,” and a sportsbook will refund your money.
Sportsbooks will set initial lines, sometimes days before a game takes place. They will do this based on how they rate the teams involved, or perhaps by the early lines set by other sportsbooks. Sportsbooks will then take bets on the games, and they could move the line on the game based on how much money is coming in on one side or the other.
For instance, in a game where the Lakers are favored over the Sixers by 3 points, a sportsbook might move the line to 4-5 points (or perhaps more) if a lot of money comes in on the Lakers to cover.
Well, it depends on where you are. Different states have various regulations about whether you can bet on things other than the outcomes of games. In some states, you can place limited wagers on when players might be drafted. Betting on the draft is a fairly limited form of wagering in the US.