A Guide to Online Betting for NBA

Basketball joins football as the top sports favored by US bettors. Of course, much of that focus goes on the NBA, America’s premier basketball league. With legalized online sports betting opening up in New Jersey and set to spread across other US states, NBA betting is going to grow in importance. The NBA offers nightly action, with over 1000 games played throughout the season, and unique betting opportunities and strategies for bettors. Its popularity also ensures that US online sportsbooks are likely to have lucrative NBA betting promotions.

Best Sites for NBA Betting

With the odd exception (The Golden Nugget Sportsbook can’t offer NBA betting due to a conflict of interest in the ownership of the Houston Rockets), all major online sportsbooks make NBA betting a priority. Perhaps only NFL betting is more popular with bettors, so it’s understandable that sportsbooks put their NBA betting experience front and center on their websites and betting apps.

The best sportsbooks for NBA betting will cover every game of the season, offering dozens of betting markets for each NBA game. However, this should also be supplemented by NBA promotions, in-play betting platforms, competitive odds and resource tools – blogs, tips, stats – that can help you be successful in NBA betting.

While several online sportsbooks tick all the boxes mentioned above, arguably the best choice for NBA fans is PointsBet. Its aim is to become a specialized NBA sportsbook, offering over 300 betting markets for every NBA game. Other sportsbooks that come up high in terms of an NBA focus include FanDuel, SugarHouse, BetStars NJ and 888sport –all of these match detailed betting coverage with strong promotions and live betting platforms.

 What Makes a Good NBA Bookmaker?

Despite the importance of offering the best NBA odds possible, there are other factors that make for a great NBA sportsbook.

NBA Promos

As it is one of America’s most popular sports leagues, your sportsbook should have betting promotions that can be applied to the NBA. BetStars NJ and PointsBet are both good options for sportsbooks with a focus on NBA sports betting promos.

NBA Enhanced Odds

All the top sportsbooks will have daily odds boosts on NBA matches, but some do it better than others. Resorts Casino Sportsbook has one of the most well-rounded odds boost selections, offering enhanced betting odds on daily matches and a selection of futures markets.

Betting Market Coverage

We have mentioned above that PointsBet rises above most sportsbooks by offering a long list of NBA betting markets. The key, however, is to ensure that there is variety, i.e. not line after line of props totals. Sites like FanDuel and playMGM also throw a bit of variety into their markets, with bets on individual players and unique match events.

Best NBA Sites for Live Betting

Many bettors are now favoring wagering in-play rather than pre-game. Betting live allows you to react to shifts in momentum, adds extra excitement and basically offers a more intense experience. There are several factors that must combine for the best in-play NBA sites.

First of all, the software must support quick betting. An NBA game, as fans are well aware, is fast paced, so odds updates need to be almost instantaneous.  888sport’s Instant Betting feature and DraftKing’s Instant Bet are good examples of how this is done, with real time odds updates allowing you to bet on a point by point basis. This software should also support swift cash out early functions.

Secondly, there needs to be plenty of live betting markets. Most sportsbooks will offer the standard live betting lines on NBA (see below), but when watching the game, you might have caught something specific; perhaps a particular player is performing well, maybe a team is committing a lot of fouls. FanDuel is a good example of a sportsbook with lots of in-play betting markets for NBA.

Finally, there should be a support network of stats and score updates offered alongside the live betting platform. Getting this analysis updated in real time can be crucial to smart, informed NBA betting. FanDuel again is a good option here, but we also like Resorts Casino Sports’ Match Tracker feature.

Types of NBA Sports Bets

As mentioned, there can be literally 100s of betting lines for a single NBA match if you bet with a top bookmaker. These could be focused on time, e.g., the time it takes for the first foul or for a player to exceed a certain number of rebounds etc. They could also be focused on totals, such as the number of points in the first quarter, which quarter is the highest scoring and so on. However, we will discuss some of the most popular ways to bet on NBA below:

Spread – as with the NFL, betting on the spread in NBA has become more and more popular. In this wager, one team is given a hypothetical points advantage and another a disadvantage relative to their likelihood of winning the match. The odds are adjusted to reflect the advantage and disadvantage given to each team.

Moneyline – a simple straight wager on who will win the selected NBA game.

Totals – a wager on whether the total number of points scored in the game will be over or under a specific figure.

NBA futures betting is also very popular, and a lot of focus goes on these outright markets:

NBA Finals winner – a bet on the team that wins the NBA Championship at the end of the season.

NBA MVP betting – a wager on which player will be awarded the title of MVP during the regular season.

Popular NBA Offers

We stated earlier that a good selection of NBA betting promos should be among your expectations when choosing an online sportsbook. But what do the popular NBA betting offers look like? A selection of the popular NBA sports betting promos is discussed below:

Money Back Specials – this kind of promo usually offers money back – often as an NBA free bet – on the proviso that your selection loses but other criteria have been fulfilled. For example, if your selection loses in overtime.

Parlay Insurance – a type of money back special specifically related to parlay (multi-leg) bets. For example, if you bet on the Bucks, Warriors, Celtics and Knicks in a parlay bet, you might receive your stake back if one selection loses.

Parlay Boost – a promotion that rewards bettors who make multiple selections. Some sportsbooks, like Resorts, will add a percentage boost to your winnings for a parlay consisting of three legs or more.

Early Payout – a betting offer that pays out early if some conditions have been met. Normally, it is based on a proviso that your team takes a strong lead in the game. A great promotion for bettors and sports fans who detest late disappointments.

NBA Betting Tips and Strategies

On a game by game basis in the regular season, the NBA is arguably less predictable than the NFL but probably more predictable than MLB. Even the best teams will manage to lose around a quarter of all games during the regular season. However, there are lots of indicators that we can use to help NBA betting. Home court advantage can help a lot. Consider that in the 2018/19 season every team except for the Chicago Bulls has a better record at home than away.

Timing is also crucial for NBA betting. Coaches might be more likely to rest players if progress to the Playoffs has already been ensured. You should also watch out for clashes in styles, as some coaching tactics can prove troublesome for top teams. Analysis of stats, of course, is important. The Milwaukee Bucks, for instance, was the highest scoring team in the NBA in the 2018/19 regular season, but Milwaukee also conceded a lot more than the average top team, making the Bucks’ games a perfect option for high scoring totals wagers. Above all, remember that individual players impact basketball games like few other sports. So, if the star player is injured, consider your options carefully before betting on a team.

NBA Overview

The NBA is divided into two conferences, Eastern and Western, both of which are comprised of 15 teams each. Teams will play 82 games each during the regular season, with the top eight teams in each conference qualifying for the Playoffs. The season starts in mid-October, running right through to the NBA Finals in June.

For the last several years, Golden State Warriors has been the dominant team in the NBA, but the consensus is that the pendulum has now swung to Los Angeles, with both the Clippers and Lakers tipped to be the teams to beat this year. It’s part of the allure of the NBA that trades can change the whole picture seemingly overnight. Big trades – like Lebron James moving to the Lakers – can transform a team’s chances and the betting odds applied to them.


Thanks to its popularity among young people, there is a lot of talk about whether basketball will soon outstrip football as America’s most popular sport. Regardless if it pans out that way, basketball betting and, in particular, NBA betting is set for huge growth. All of our recommended bookmakers are strong betting platforms for basketball, but some are perhaps better than others. Choosing the right sportsbook is as least as important as the wagers you make, so be sure to read our detailed sportsbook reviews before betting on NBA online.

Gamble Responsibly

We at PlayRight love online sports betting for all the fun and entertainment. Keep in mind that fun is what it’s all about. Participating in online sports betting is not a way to earn money and make a living. So if you are starting to feel that you are a bit over your head, stop betting. Online betting sites also list contact details for support organizations (usually found at the bottom of the website or app) that are trained to help and support you.