The Ultimate guide to betting on the NBA

Despite the simple outlook of basketball, becoming an expert bettor and beating the bookmakers at the game takes a lot of effort and patience. In this article, we discuss some basic rules of the NBA and explain what to look out for if you want to make money betting on the NBA.

Basketball is one of the fastest-paced team sports in the world. Its style of play and high scoring outcomes makes it an exciting sport to watch for both fans and bettors alike.

The betting market for the NBA varies, from the most simple to the most complex, although the rules for playing the game is fairly straightforward.

Understanding the Rules of the Game

Despite the popularity of the NBA, basketball rules are universal whether it is in local leagues like the La Liga ACB, Greek basketball league, or international competitions like the FIBA World Cup.

The game involves two teams of 5 players each competing on a 28m x 15m court in the FIBA Championship or 28.7m x 15.2m in the NBA. Each team attempt to outscore the other by making the basket (offence) or blocking the other teams attempt to make the basket (defence).

Points are scored by putting the ball through a hoop that is 46 metres in diameter, and 3.05 metres off the ground. Points are in form of goals in soccer and are calculated as 3 points if scored from outside the 3-point line and 2 points if scored inside the 3-point line. Free throws are usually awarded after a rule violation and it is worth one point.

Games are usually either split in half or quarters and unlike soccer, no game can end in a draw, Overtime is used to determine the winner.

The NBA is split into Eastern and Western conference consisting of 30 teams altogether, with three divisions in each conference. Each team plays 82 games in a regular season, and the top eight teams with the best win-loss record in each conference go to the playoffs with the winner of the NBA playoffs final being crowned the NBA Champion.

How to Bet on the NBA


Handicap betting in the NBA is an advanced form of betting as teams are given a point handicap which would either be negative or positive to counter their difference in ability.

This simply means the favourite team gets a negative handicap while the least favourite gets a positive handicap.


Betting Totals in the NBA is simply betting if the total number of points scored by both sides would be over or under a certain figure set by the bookmaker.

Quarter and Half Betting

In addition to betting on the full-time outcome of games, bettors can bet on the outcome of a certain half in an NBA game. Money Line, Totals or Handicap can be applied here; the only difference is that the time period is reduced.

Outright Markets

Unlike betting on individual games which leave room for error and relying too much on luck to determine the final outcome. The Outright market covers a longer period of time, which could be the whole 82 games season.

A few examples of outright betting in the NBA include the winner of the NBA Championship, Winner of the MVP, winner of the Eastern and Western conference etc.

Important things to consider when betting on the NBA

Experienced bettors know that betting is much more than finding an in-form team coming against a struggling side and betting that the in-form team would win. Just like in other sports, there are a few factors to consider when betting in the NBA.

Injuries and Squad rotation

Due to the intensity at which NBA games are played and the number of games in a regular season, injuries and rotation are inevitable.

To succeed as an NBA bettor, one has to keep an eye on team news to know if key players are injured or if they are being rested. If a big player is being rested ahead of a game, the odds of his team winning could change drastically, smart bettors that would bet according to this information would benefit greatly.

Team Schedule

The number of games played by each team in the NBA means the impact of games played away from home is higher than in other sports. Formerly a team would have to play four games in five nights, but there has been a slight change although teams can still play four road games in a row.

If a home team plays another on the end of their four away games, fatigue could see the home team get the upper hand in the encounter, while a home team playing a team at the beginning of their away days could see the outcome change dramatically.

Use Statistics to improve your betting

Like in other sports, analyzing statistics is a sure way to improve your knowledge of the game you want to bet on and help you make informed decisions.

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