How to Bet on the NBA Online

Online sports betting is not yet active in Florida. This page will be updated with the latest promos, news and odds once Florida sportsbooks launch.

The NBA is among the most popular sports to bet on in the United States, and with legal sports betting coming to Florida, we’ll cover the basics of wagering on professional basketball on this page.

Florida has plenty of NBA fans with a pair of franchises in the state, so there should be plenty of action during the season. Whether you want to bet on basketball or just want to know what everything means so you can sound more educated with people who do bet, we will teach you how to read NBA odds, the different bets available and some tips for betting on basketball games.

Best NBA Betting Sites

Once legal online sports betting is officially live in Florida, you’ll see a list of the top online sportsbooks and their new-player bonuses here.

Reading NBA odds at the sportsbook

When it comes to odds, the first thing you should know is what the plus and minus signs mean. The team with the negative number is the favorite, and the team with the positive number is the underdog. To calculate what a winning bet will pay, it is easiest to use $100 as the benchmark. For a team that is a -130 favorite, you would need to bet $130 on that team to make a $100 profit. On the other hand, for a team that is getting +130 odds as the underdog, a $100 bet would net a $130 return.

How to bet on NBA games online

Here are the major options for placing bets on the NBA and other team-based sports in general:

Spread bets

The point spread bet is one of the most popular basketball wagers, and it also comes up in conversations about sports betting in general. As sports fans, we know not all teams are equal. Some are more talented than others, and that is where the point spread comes into play. These bets essentially even the playing field by giving the lesser team a head start prior to the game tipping off.

For example, let’s say you are betting on Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers at home in a regular-season game, and the oddsmakers expect the Heat to win. The point spread would look something like this at any sportsbook:

  • Indiana Pacers +4.5 (-110)
  • Miami Heat -4.5 (-110)

Looking at the numbers, this means Miami is a 4.5-point favorite, and Indiana is a 4.5-point underdog. If you bet on Miami to cover the spread, you will need the Heat to win by more than 4.5 points. If you bet on the Pacers, you’d need them to either win outright or lose by fewer than 4.5 points.

Odds of -110 or thereabouts are standard for point spread bets. Oddsmakers will look to set the spread number with the goal of getting 50% of betting money on both sides to ensure a profit for the sportsbook.

Moneyline

The moneyline is possibly the easiest bet to understand. When you bet on the moneyline, you are simply betting on which team will win the game. However, like we said earlier, not all teams are the same, and the odds reflect this. In this example, let’s say it’s a bet on Orlando Magic on the road vs. the Chicago Bulls. Here’s what the moneyline odds could look like at PointsBet:

  • Orlando Magic +175
  • Chicago Bulls -210

As you can see by the minus and plus signs, the Bulls are the favorites, and the Magic are the underdogs. Since the sportsbook doesn’t expect Orlando to win, you would receive a higher payout with a winning bet than you would if you correctly bet on the Bulls to win as the favorite. A winning $100 bet on the Magic would result in a $175 profit with these odds, while you would need to bet $210 on the Bulls to receive $100 in profit, given the Bulls win.

Over/under

With the over/under, aka the total, bettors do not factor in which team wins the game or how many points the team wins by. All that matters in over/under wagers is the total score by both teams. Here’s what the Caesars sportsbook betting board might look like ahead of a matchup between the Orlando Magic and the Detroit Pistons.

  • Over 210 (-110)
  • Under 210 (-110)

If you believe the teams will combine to score more than 210 points, you’d take the over. And if you think the opposite, you’d wager on the under. Just like the point spread, the odds will be somewhere around -110, and sportsbooks would like an even amount of money on each side.

Parlays

A parlay is an all-or-nothing style of wagering that requires multiple outcomes to be correct. Parlays are extremely difficult to win, especially on a consistent basis, and because of that, payouts can be quite large if you can pick a winning parlay bet. For example, let’s take a three-way parlay on spread bets involving the Miami Heat, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers.

  • Miami Heat +7.5 (-110)
  • Orlando Magic -2.5 (-110)
  • Los Angeles Lakers +3 (-110)

To win this bet, all three outcomes must be correct, which is much harder than you’d expect. However, the appeal of parlays is how massive the payouts are if all your picks are correct.

Teasers

A teaser bet is similar to a parlay in that multiple outcomes must be correct to win, but there is a twist. Bettors can move the numbers in their favor for a better chance at winning, but the potential payouts are smaller as a result. Let’s say you want to bet on the Orlando Magic against the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

  • Orlando Magic +8.5 vs. Boston Celtics
  • Miami Heat -7 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

To give yourself a better shot at a winner, you could add in a four-point teaser. Now, here’s what the bet looks like.

  • Orlando Magic +12.5 vs. Boston Celtics
  • Miami Heat -3 vs. Cleveland Cavaliers

In both outcomes, you gave yourself four extra points. While your chances at winning are greater, the payouts are going to be smaller if you get both selections correct.

Futures

You might see this shared the day after a big event like the NBA Finals, when the championship odds for the next season can already be coming out. Here’s an example of what the NBA Finals futures odds could look like for the Orlando Magic and Miami Heat.

  • Miami Heat: +2500
  • Orlando Magic: +15000

Because so much can happen between the time you place the bet and when the finals end, futures bets can be tough to win. However, for a bet like this with so many outcomes, the payouts can be substantial.

Futures bets can come in a variety of forms, including betting on team win totals, division winners, conference winners, individual player awards and more.

Props

Sportsbooks are getting more and more creative with prop bets, and even though Super Bowl props are most popular, prop bets can be a fun option for those betting on the NBA. A prop bet is somewhat of a side wager as the final score does not necessarily matter. Tons of prop bets will be available for most games, but here’s an example of a wager on the number of 3-pointers the Miami Heat’s Tyler Herro will make in an upcoming game.

  • Over 2.5 (+130)
  • Under 2.5 (-155)

If you believe Herro will knock down more than 2.5 3-pointers, you would wager on the over, and if you believe he will make two or fewer, you’d take the under.

Live betting during basketball games

Until recently, you had to place your NBA bets prior to the start of the game. With the implementation of live betting, however, you can wager while the game is happening. Lines and odds move rapidly according to the latest events of the game, and you need to be on your toes to get your bet in at the best numbers. Live betting is becoming more popular as bettors can wager on games through apps on their phone while watching the game take place on TV or from the stands.

How to calculate potential payouts

Understanding the calculation of odds will take time, but as mentioned earlier, odds are easiest to understand relative to $100. For the standard juice of -110 for point spreads and over/unders for NBA games, that means a $110 wager would net a $100 profit. It doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the unfortunate part of sports betting. The game is slanted toward the sportsbook to profit in the long run.

If you bet on an underdog on the moneyline and win, you are going to receive a greater payout. If you wager on a team that has +340 odds, a $100 bet would result in a $340 profit with a winning bet.

General tips for betting on NBA games

Now that you have the basics of NBA betting down, let’s put that knowledge into action. Below are three wagering tips if you’re starting with NBA betting online.

  • Watch the schedules: If a team is playing a back-to-back situation or is playing its third game in four days, that is a prime spot to bet on the other team. Going after healthy teams on plenty of rest is another spot to look at.
  • Identify styles of play: This is especially relevant when betting on the over/under, where it is important to know if a team likes to push the pace of the game or slow the game down.
  • Keep parlay bets to a minimum: As mentioned earlier, parlays can be fun to bet on because of the possibility of cashing in a huge payout. However, they are incredibly difficult to win, and many bettors avoid them altogether because of it. Do what you think is right with your money, but winning parlays consistently is tough to do.

NBA betting rules

Sportsbooks may differ when it comes to their specific betting rules, so a good idea is to read the rules and regulations of the sportsbook or sportsbooks you decide to sign up for. Additionally, with the regulation of sports betting and legislation coming to Florida, sportsbooks should provide excellent customer service when it comes to questions you may have.

A few examples on DraftKings Sportsbook include a game needing to start on the scheduled day (local stadium time) for bets to have action, and player prop bets involving a player who get no playing time are void.

Different sportsbooks may have different policies in place, so it is important to know the NBA betting rules at online sportsbooks before you start betting.

How to sign up at a Florida sportsbook

Florida should have some of the top US sportsbooks available in the state, and here is a quick guide to signing up for an online sportsbook.

First, do your research on what sportsbook is right for you. There should not be a significant difference if you elect to use an online legal sportsbook, so it is mostly up to personal preference.

Many sportsbooks will require a variety of information such as your name, date of birth, email address, mailing address and the last four digits of your Social Security number. After registering, you’ll be set to make your first deposit and get your sports wagering adventures underway.

One tactic many sports bettors use is opening accounts at multiple sportsbooks. Oddsmakers will not always have the exact same numbers across every sportsbook, so when you decide there is a team you’d like to bet on, you can look at all the sportsbooks and find the best odds for your wager.