The NBA is the second-most popular pro league in North America to bet on (after the NFL), and for good reason. With stars on almost every franchise, there’s great entertainment and betting value every night.
Featuring 82 regular-season games and a suspense-filled postseason, there’s no shortage of great moments to enjoy as either a fan or bettor. Technology has also changed the way we follow the NBA with more stats and information available than ever before.
The best handicappers in the world have taken note and post more nightly NBA lines, odds, props and futures bets. With real-time access to dozens of bets at your fingertips, you can now place as many NBA bets as your bankroll can handle.
If you’re betting on basketball for the first time, read on for our rundown of the basics, including moneylines, point spreads, and in-game betting. Also, we cover the best online sportsbooks and apps you can access here in Pennsylvania.
Sports betting is now legal in Pennsylvania, both online and in-person.
That means you can bet on basketball point spreads, moneylines, totals, and team and player futures at any licensed sportsbook inside a Pennsylvania casino, online or by using a mobile PA sports betting app.
To bet on basketball legally, you must be at least 21 years or older and be physically located in the state of Pennsylvania. To bet online, you’ll need to create a sportsbook account and deposit money into it to start wagering.
Online and mobile sportsbooks launched in Pennsylvania in the summer of 2019. There are already several great NBA betting apps that provide NBA odds and lines, with more to come soon.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the top PA sportsbook apps so far plus their new-player bonuses:
Each of these sportsbooks offers generous welcome bonuses. If you’re planning to sign up and play, make sure you take advantage. Click the links above to directly claim your bonus.
Harrah’s, Hollywood Casino, Presque Isle Downs, The Meadows, and Mohegan Sun Pocono are set to have betting apps before the end of the year.
To get started, click one of the links above to register for an account and claim your bonus.
It’s a streamlined process. You’ll out some necessary information, verify that you’re of legal age, and create your username and password.
Once your account is set up, you’ll need to fund it for real-money betting, which you can do in several ways. Banking methods include:
It doesn’t cost you anything to have an account at multiple sportsbooks, so it can be a good idea to do so. If you plan on making NBA bets throughout the season, multiple accounts will help you do a little line shopping to find the best odds.
For example, the 76ers might be -5 favorites against the Nets at one sportsbook, -5.5 at another, and -6 at a third. If you’re going to bet the Sixers, you might as well get the best spread. If you’re betting the other side, you want the same.
The same applies to NBA futures. If you want to bet the 76ers to make the playoffs or NBA finals, you’ll find slight variations on the odds at each sportsbook. Getting +700 versus +600 can make a nice difference to your payout if it comes through.
The pundits (and the handicappers) are saying the 2020 NBA title is the LA Clippers’ to lose. LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and the Lakers are a popular second choice.
But with the Golden State Warriors on the decline and injuries always a wild card, the road to the NBA title may be more wide open than ever, especially for teams in the Eastern Conference.
If you have a favorite team like the Sixers with at least a good shot at a deep playoff run, now might be the time to lay down that bigger bet for a run to the NBA finals.
Check your favorite online sportsbook for the current NBA finals odds for every team. Here’s a quick snapshot of how they look as of Dec. 2019 on DraftKings:
The 76ers are the only NBA team in Pennsylvania and have won three NBA championships. Their most recent title came back in 1983, however.
The 2018-19 Sixers were one heartstopping Kawhi Leonard haymaker away from making the NBA finals.
With returnees Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris combining with newcomers Al Horford and Josh Richardson, the odds look better than ever for 2020.
Bet on NBA Finals or Sixers futures at DraftKings with $25 free:
There are plenty of options for betting on the NBA. Much like other sports, those include the moneyline, point spread, over/under, parlays, futures, and prop bets.
Here is a closer look at basic NBA bets.
The moneyline wager is the simplest of the NBA betting options. Essentially, all you are doing with this bet is picking which team you think will win outright.
Here is a look at what an NBA moneyline may look like:
In this example, the 76ers are the favorite to win at home at -200 odds. So, this means that you would need to bet $200 to win $100 betting on Philadelphia to win outright.
The Celtics are listed at +160 odds, which essentially means that you would need to risk $100 to win an extra $160 betting on Boston to win outright.
Betting an NBA point spread requires betting on a team to cover a specified total as listed by the sportsbooks.
To make each matchup even, the sportsbooks will assign each team a spread that it needs to cover.
Here is a look at what the NBA point spread may look like for betting on the example we use in the previous section:
The 76ers are the favorite at -3.5. So, this means that if you bet on Philadelphia, they will need to win by four points or more to cover the point spread and be considered a winner.
The 76ers are listed at -110 odds on the point spread, so you would need to risk $110 to win $100 betting on them.
Meanwhile, Boston is listed as a 3.5-point underdog, which means that if you bet the Celtics to win outright or lose by three points or fewer, then you win the bet. As is the case with the 76ers, you would need to risk $110 to win $100 betting on Boston to cover.
The over/under refers to the total number of points the teams will score combined in a game.
Here is an example of what the over/under would look like for that hypothetical Celtics-76ers matchup:
In this example, the total has been listed at 189.5. So, this means that if you think Boston and Philadelphia will combine to score 190 points or more, then you would take the over. If you think the teams will combine to score 189 points or fewer, then you would take the under.
In most situations, both sides of the over/under are listed at -110 odds, which means you would need to bet $110 to win $100.
An NBA parlay is any instance in which you combine two or more NBA wagers on the same betting ticket.
For example, if you take the Celtics to cover the point spread and the over in their hypothetical matchup with Philadelphia on the same ticket, then it would be a parlay.
The point of the parlay bet is to combine two or more wagers on the same ticket in order to increase the potential cash payout prize.
Here is a look at what an NBA parlay may look like:
Parlays are a popular way to try to cash in big-time with multiple picks on the same ticket, especially if you are feeling confident that your picks will hit.
Keep in mind, though, that every pick that you put on a parlay ticket must be accurate for the ticket to be a winner.
If you play an eight-game parlay, all eight games have to win. If there is even one loss on the parlay, then the entire ticket is a loser.
In addition to getting bets down on NBA games before they start, basketball bettors now can bet on sports already in progress.
As you watch a live NBA game, you can make new bets with changing odds as the game progresses.
Wagers include betting live moneylines, point spreads and totals for quarters and halves, plus individual player and team prop bets.
An obvious benefit here is that you don’t have to make all your betting decisions pregame. You can watch part of the game, see some trends or patterns, and then make your bet with a bit more information.
Let’s say you’re watching an NBA game, and the underdog is dominating midway through the second quarter. The favorite, which was at -4.5 before the game, is trailing by 7. The in-game betting point spread now has the 4.5-point favorite listed at -1.5 for the game, much lower than the original number.
If you think the favorite has just started slow and will bounce back, you can bet them at a better price than the pregame number. On the other hand, if you think the underdog can hold on, you can jump on the line in-game and back them.
If you’ve already made your bet pregame, you can use in-game betting for hedging. For example, if you bet on the favorite and you see they’re playing poorly, you can bet on the opposite side to hedge your bet.
This way, you’ll at least get some money back rather than losing your entire bet.
NBA futures refer to any bet that you can’t settle until a later date.
For example, if you bet on the 76ers to win an NBA Championship before the season begins, that’s a futures bet.
You can also bet on who will be the league MVP, Rookie of the Year, or a team’s regular-season win total.
Since you are placing the bet before the season starts, you can get some good value placing this type of wager. The payout is generally quite generous.
Check FanDuel online sportsbook for some of the current NBA futures you can bet.
NBA props are any bets that focus on individual or team performances irrespective of the final score.
For example, if you bet on Joel Embiid to score more than 29 points in a game, or whether or not the 76ers will have at least 10 3-pointers made in the game.
Player props also include a variety of performance-based achievements. Examples include the number of points players score, the number of assists a player finishes with, or the combined number of points plus rebounds a player will register in a game.
Team prop bets include betting on everything from the total number of rebounds a team will record in a game to the number of assists.
Props are an excellent way to bet on the game if you’re not exactly sure who’ll win or who’ll cover the spread, but you have a beat on how different players or teams might perform.
Info is everything when betting on the NBA. The more you know about a team, the better your chances of winning when betting on them. You’ll need to study things like a team’s history versus an opponent, injuries, betting trends, rest situations, and general momentum. Get it dialed in, and you’ll know when and where to pick your sports.
You’ll want to start your research with a basic game preview at a mainstream website like ESPN. Read the game preview and get a general overview of what to expect. From there, you can read local newspapers to get a different angle from the reporters who closely cover the team.
After that, check websites, like Rotoworld, for updates on injuries and trend websites to figure out how teams perform in different situations (e.g., off a win, as a favorite, on the road and against winning or losing teams).
It’s essential to come up with a budget because, if not, your betting bankroll can get cleaned out quickly.
A good benchmark is to bet no more than 1%-5% of your betting budget on a single game. If you’re taking a flier, you might bet $10 on a game. If you’ve handicapped the game and you think one side has a clear-cut edge, then you might bet $50 as one of your best bets.
You need to have an overall budget and a staking method to determine how much you’re going to bet on a nightly basis. If you’re flying by the seat of your pants, you’re more likely to lose.
It’s important to note that you’ve likely seen ads or bonuses at what are called “offshore” sportsbooks. These are sportsbooks typically based in Europe or the Caribbean.
These are not legal for residents of Pennsylvania. There’s also no legal recourse should you find your bets not honored or your account frozen, for example.
With legal, licensed and regulated sportsbooks that are open in Pennsylvania, there’s no incentive to risk any of your money betting on an offshore site. Stick with the legal and licensed options in Philadelphia. There are plenty of great choices, and they all offer generous welcome bonuses for new customers.
Pennsylvania doesn’t have a WNBA team yet, but the New York Liberty, Connecticut Sun and Washington Mystics are local enough that they have loyal fans in Pennsylvania, too.
If you’re into basketball betting, you might want to consider wagering on the WNBA.
Unlike the NBA, where the sportsbooks are paying attention to every single roster move, game result, injuries, and betting play before adjusting their lines, there aren’t nearly as many eyes on the WNBA.
The less active the sportsbooks are in adjusting lines, the better the opportunity to capitalize if you are on top of them. Keep this in mind if you are thinking about betting on the WNBA.
As is the case in the NBA, the WNBA is all about star power. The best players in the league are consistently able to dominate, which makes it easier to capitalize on finding the edge in different matchups.
The majority of sportsbooks in Pennsylvania provide lines for all WNBA games. That includes spreads, totals, and moneylines. Some sportsbooks even offer live, in-game betting for WNBA contests.
The 2019-20 NBA playoffs start April 18, 2020. The top eight teams in each conference match up based on their regular-season record. The top seed plays the No. 8 seed, No. 2 plays No. 7, and so on. Each series is a best-of-seven with the first team to win four games advancing. The higher seed in each subsequent matchup retains the home-court advantage.
The 2020 NBA All-Star game will take place on Feb. 16, 2020. All-Star Weekend will take place in Chicago for the first time since 1986. Among the festivities at All-Star Weekend:
Each team plays 82 games in the regular season. The top eight teams in each conference based on overall record advance to the playoffs. There are four playoff series that could each extend to seven games, so an extra 28 games could be added on to a team’s schedule.
The sportsbooks establish point spread lines for each matchup to try and draw relatively equal betting action on each team.
The spread is the number of points the favorite needs to win by to cover. So, this means if you bet on the 76ers at -3.5, the Sixers have to win by 4 points or more to cover the spread. When you place your bet, you are picking which team will cover the point spread listed by the sportsbook, not which team will win.
It’s not the only factor by any means, but it’s one of the most important. Home teams in the NBA win around 60% of the time. That number increases even more in the playoffs. However, keep in mind that it doesn’t mean they’re covering the spread in all those games.
Any time you place an NBA point spread bet, you are making a pick against the spread. You can choose a team to win outright (moneyline), or you can bet against the spread, which means they have to cover a margin.
The 76ers have made the playoffs 46 times. Philadelphia’s all-time playoff record is 209-195.
The best approach to betting the over/under in basketball is to look at the pace of play. If it’s two offensive teams, it’ll likely be a run-and-gun, high-scoring affair.
If it’s a back-to-back situation for one of the teams, they could be tired and struggle to score. Or if one of the teams is strong defensively and has the advantage of being at home, they may dictate the pace and keep the game low-scoring.
Try to examine what you think the game flow will look like, which will help you predict either an over or an under.
The 2020 NBA draft and lottery are scheduled to take place on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. The lottery determines the order in the NBA draft. The 2020 draft is set to take place on Thursday, June 25.