Sports Betting Tips: How to Bet on Basketball for NBA Gamblers

Basketball Player Doing Slam Dunk During Game

The squeak of sneakers on the hardwood floor. The snap of the net as the ball swishes through it. The roar of the crowd when the home team scores a big basket. Watching an NBA game is already an action-packed, exciting experience. But what if you could take it up a level?

Whether you’re a diehard fan of one NBA team, a devoted follower of one particular player, or you just like watching the sport of basketball, placing bets on the NBA can enhance your game-watching experience. But do you know how to bet on basketball?

Money line. Over/Under. Halftime line. Player props. You’ve probably heard of some of these terms, but do you know what they mean? Whether you want to learn how to bet on basketball games in Vegas or at a sportsbook in another city, we’ll teach you everything you need to know about basketball betting. 


The Basketball Sports Betting Basics

When oddsmakers determine odds for a specific game, they’ll start with choosing The Favorite – the team deemed more likely to win – and The Underdog – the team deemed less likely to win. When looking at a game, the negative number indicates the favorite while the positive number indicates the underdog. Betting on the favorite to win will always pay out less than betting on the underdog to win. 


Favorites and Underdogs Basketball Sports Betting


In the above bet, you can see that Team 1 is the favorite (-410) and Team 2 is the underdog (+315). Below, we’ll shed some light on what all these numbers mean.


Different Types of NBA Bets


Basic Bets

The simplest way to bet on an NBA game is to place a Money Line bet, or simply to pick who you think will win the game. That’s where the numbers indicating the favorite and the underdog come into play. The number indicating the favorite tells you how much you would have to wager to win $100 and the number indicating the underdog tells you how much you would win if you wager $100. 

So using the above example, if you wanted to bet that Team 1 would win, you would have to place a bet of $410 to win $100. If you bet that Team 2 would win, you would win $315 if you bet $100. 

Another common NBA bet is betting using The Spread. In the above example, you can see that the spread is Team 1 -8.5. By betting on the spread, you wager on whether you think that Team 1 will win by more than 8.5 points (so 9 points or more). Conversely, if you wanted to bet on Team 2 +8.5, you are wagering that Team 2 will either win or only lose by fewer than 8.5 points (so 8 points or fewer). 

The number in the parentheses next to the spread indicates your payout, using the same logic as the Money Line bet. Placing a (-105) bet on Team 1 -8.5 means you would have to wager $105 to win $100. Placing a (-115) bet on Team 2 +8.5 means you would have to wager $115 to win $100.

The third basic NBA bet is wagering on the total number of points scored in the game, regardless of who wins or loses. In an Over/Under bet, you simply pick whether you think the total number of points is over or under the predetermined line. In the above example, the number is 217.5, meaning you would win an over bet if the score exceeded 217 total points but lose if the total was 217 points or fewer. Over/Under bets are fun ways to have a stake in a game’s outcome without having to worry about which team will win.


Advanced Bets

Sportsbooks usually offer many other bets that can make any game interesting. You can place Player Proposition (Prop) bets, where you bet on one specific player’s over/under for points, assists, rebounds, or a number of other stats.


Example of Basketball Player Prop Bets


Above you can see prop bets for a player: Over/Under 34.5 points scored, Over/Under 7.5 assists, and Over/Under 4.5 turnovers.

There are other Game Prop bets that you can place like whether the total points will be odd or even, if the game will go to overtime, which team wins the tip, and much more. But if you understand the basics of wagering, odds, and payouts, you will know how to place these bets and what to expect if you win.


Quarter/Half Lines

For every NBA game, you also have the option to bet on the spread or the over/under for a certain quarter or a half. For instance, if you think Team 1 will score more points than their opponent in the first quarter (regardless of the game’s final score), you can bet on Team 1 to win the first quarter. You can also place over/under bets for quarters and halves.


How to Bet on Basketball in Vegas

Now that you understand how to bet on basketball, it’s time to place your bets. Circa Sports is the ultimate sportsbook in Las Vegas for basketball sports betting. Stop by the D in Downtown Las Vegas to place your bets in person. Can’t make it into the sportsbook? Download the Circa Sports app on iOS or Android to have your bookie right in your pocket and bet wherever you are in Vegas.

Whether in person or on the app, join Circa Sports for your premier place to bet on basketball in Vegas.