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How to bet on the NBA: The Ultimate NBA Betting Guide

Despite the simplicity of basketball, still many people struggle with NBA betting. It is imperative for bettors to have the knowledge to get an edge over the bookmakers which is a time-consuming effort. If you are just getting started with basketball betting then you need to understand the basic rules of basketball, what kind of bets you can place and outlines to consider to make money with NBA betting lines.  

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the United States with the NBA being the biggest tournament. As straightforward the game is, betting on NBA is as complex. This is why OddsMax has put together this ultimate guide on NBA betting lines, basketball betting types and basic rules that will get you started on the right foot.

Getting started with NBA Betting: Understand the rules

Although the NBA is the elite of all professional basketball tournaments around the world, the rules of the game stay the same which are universally followed across all the leagues.

If you are new to basketball, here’s a quick view of what the sport is all about. In a game of basketball two teams of five players compete on a 28.7m x 15.2m court in NBA. The offence move is when try to outscore the opponent by dribbling and passing their way up the court to shoot. The defence move is when players dispossess their opponents or block scoring attempts.

In NBA a game is split into halves or quarters, each quarter of 12-minute. In basketball games cannot end in a draw like soccer and overtime is used to determine a winner. There are total of 30 teams in NBA split into East and West conference with three divisions in each. During a regular season, teams play 82 games. From each conference, eight teams with the best win-loss record go into the knockout games and the final winner becomes the NBA Championship.

What is the basic NBA bet types? 

On a game of basketball, sportsbooks offer you several bet types. The most common NBA betting types are:

Money Line 

It is exactly like NFL Money Line betting. Simply put, in Money Line, NBA odds are based on the final winning score. You just bet who will finally win the game.


To make basketball more interesting, bookmakers offer handicap bets that are an advanced version of Money Line bets in which each team is given a positive or negative point to level the NBA odds. A team that is heavily favored will be given negative point while the underdog will be given positive point to give a head start.


In this type of NBA betting, it doesn’t matter which of the teams will win, the bet is made on the total number of points scored by both sides and whether that score will be over or under the target set by the bookmaker.

Now, these are the simple types of NBA betting that does not involve a lot of leg work, but if you are feeling experimental then there are more advanced NBA betting lines for you to try. Above bets mostly focus on the outcome of the whole game but there are some markets that offer NBA odds on the outcome of an individual quarter, the first half or even the whole season.

Quarter and half betting

As a bettor, you can choose to on NBA odds on the first quarter or the first half of a game. The basketball betting types will remain the same, i.e. Money Line, Totals and Handicap but the time period for these bets will be reduced.

Suppose, in an NBA game a team starts quickly but starts to trail at the end of the game, it makes more sense to bet on their odds to win in the first half. Similarly, if both teams are racking up points you can bet the over.

Outright markets

When betting on NBA odds for individual games there is little margin for error, although random instances and luck sometimes affects the results, that’s pretty much about it. Outright markets offer you a chance to cover a longer period of time, even the whole 82-game NBA season, sometimes even longer.

For example, there are basketball betting lines for the outright winner of NBA Championship, Eastern and Western Conferences Winners, winner of Most Valuable Player and total season wins for individual teams.

The only problem with outright markets is they keep your bankroll invested for long.

Important things to consider in NBA Betting 

Ask any professional and experienced bettor who plays NBA betting he will tell you that it’s not always about the best in-form team or the team that is struggling to win, but there are various other factors that can change the outcome of a game. Before your covert odds into probability, consider these factors.

Rotation and Injuries

In NBA betting you have an edge if you are able to consider factors that novices fail to even anticipate. In NBA the sheer intensity and speed of games played combined with the volumes in a season results in frequent injuries and squad rotation.

As a basketball bettor, you have to keep up with the news and injury updates as teams often change their starting lineup, rest their star players and makes changes ahead of big games. Such information can get you a serious edge in NBA betting. Many bettors believe Twitter can be a very useful tool for such updates. If one of the star players is missing from a game then that can dramatically change the winning chances of the opponent team. If you are able to anticipate such changes, you get higher odds and reap potential profits.

Team schedule

While in NBA season all teams get to play an equal number of games, but the structuring of the opponents is widely asymmetrical that means individual team strengths can vary as compared to the strength of the opponents.

Even if a team wins, they need to achieve a balance their points in terms of from where their winning shots were taken from. Also, the games played away from home have a bigger impact on the performance of a team. Fatigue and lack of sleep also affect the performance of players, so you need to keep an eye on such instances.

Statistics that will inform your NBA betting

Analytical statistics can be very useful in improving your knowledge of the game. Such stats help basketball bettors make an informed decision. There is a wealth of player and team performance data available that you can use. On OddsMax, we continuously share NBA betting predictions that can help you decide what can be probable outcome of a game.

Other than these you also have the chance to get your hands on valuable sports betting resources on our blog, so keep visiting to keep learning.

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