NBA Betting

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NBA Betting Update | January 2022

There are 30 teams on the NBA odds board at Bovada Sportsbook, all with desires of claiming the title. Many of these teams have enough talent to get the job done, but between injuries and the coronavirus pandemic, it’s getting harder and harder to keep all that talent together. Just ask the Los Angeles Lakers (+1500), who are once again battling for a spot in the Western Conference play-in after losing Anthony Davis to a sprained knee.

NBA Odds to Win the 2022 NBA Championship

To nobody’s surprise, the top title contenders at Bovada have also struggled to keep their rosters intact. Here are the five leading favorites at press time.

1. Brooklyn Nets (+260)

The Nets were on top of the Eastern Conference standings for most of the early 2021-22 campaign. However, now they’re in a dogfight with several other teams and they’ll have to compete without the most important member of their Big Three; Kevin Durant. Durant suffered the same sprained left MCL as Davis last week, taking him out of commission for the next month or so. As a franchise, Brooklyn have played just 10 games total with all of Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving in the lineup.

2. Golden State Warriors (+500)

Durant’s injury problems may have cost the Warriors the title in 2019, but it wasn’t just him – Klay Thompson also couldn’t stay healthy. He’s finally back after multiple setbacks, and the early returns have been mixed at best, with Golden State losing three of Thompson’s first four games SU and ATS. That’s partly because they were also missing Draymond Green (calf), who isn’t expected back in action until February.

3. Milwaukee Bucks (+600)

The Bucks have a Big Three of their own in Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, who managed to stay healthy to win the championship last year. Now Holiday is out with a sore left ankle; Milwaukee went 2-3 SU and ATS in the first five games he missed, with the Under cashing in every time against Bovada’s NBA odds.

4. Phoenix Suns (+700)

It’s more of the same for Phoenix… they’re No. 1 in the overall standings, and for the most part, they’ve managed to avoid having their roster torn apart by illness and injury – until now. DeAndre Ayton sprained his right ankle on Sunday and is considered day-to-day going forward. As his replacement, JaVale McGee will absorb those minutes at center until Ayton is ready to return.

5. Utah Jazz (+1100)

The Jazz have been remarkably healthy this year, and they’re once again battling for the top overall seed in the playoffs. They’ve got by far the best offense in the league, at 114 points scored per 100 possessions, but despite the presence of Rudy Gobert, Utah’s defense has been surprisingly mediocre at 106.2 points allowed/100 (No. 12 overall). We’ll see if they address those concerns ahead of the February 10 trade deadline.

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How to Bet on the NBA

The NBA has made incredible strides over the past 50 years. After struggling to gain a foothold in the North American sports market, the Magic Johnson-Larry Bird rivalry captured the world’s attention in the early 1980s. Then Michael Jordan came along to solidify things. Now basketball is second only to football when it comes to betting on sports – and the NBA is gaining ground.

 

Believe it or not, you don’t actually have to know all that much about basketball to bet on the NBA. But you do need to understand how the NBA odds work. We’ll show you how to bet on NBA basketball at Bovada Sportsbook; you’ll be introduced to the different ways you can bet, and we’ll give you some tips for how to approach these odds correctly and make better picks.

 

NBA Spread

The point spread is the engine that drives NBA betting. Instead of one team or the other winning straight-up, the spread asks the favorite to win by a certain number of points in order to pay out. That number will be chosen carefully, and will make your bet closer to a 50/50 outcome – which is easier for everyone to deal with at the end of the day.

Here’s an example from Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors:

  • Toronto Raptors +2.5 (-115)
  • Vasyl Lomachenko -2.5 (-105)

The Warriors were playing at home, so they were listed at the bottom, and in this case, they were favored by 2.5 points – as indicated by the negative sign next to their spread. For Golden State to pay out, they needed to beat Toronto by at least three points, while the underdog Raptors could have lost by up to two points and still cover the spread.

The numbers in parentheses refer to the juice (also known as vigorish or vig) that you pay the sportsbook to process your wager. The “American odds” format is used at Bovada to express this number. Most NBA games will have the juice set at –110 for both sides, meaning you’ll bet $110 to win $100, or $11 to win $10, or any other multiple. In this case, the juice was moved slightly to give Golden State a better “price” (you only needed to bet $105 to win $100) and encourage more action on the Warriors.

Generally speaking, a sportsbook will move the point spread – and sometimes the juice itself – to create balanced action on both teams. This allows the book to pay the winning bets with the money collected from the losing wagers and keep the vigorish as their commission, thus minimizing their risk of exposure. The odds you get at the time you place your bet will be the odds used to calculate your payout; in the above example, the Warriors opened at –4 two days before tip-off, then gradually moved down to –2.5 (–105) by game time.

 

NBA Moneyline

Before Charles K. McNeil introduced the point spread in the 1940s, the moneyline was the standard way to bet on sports. It’s still a popular commodity on the NBA Vegas odds; you simply pick a team to win, and if they do, you cash in. It just takes a little more work to do the accounting. Here was the moneyline for our example game:

  • Toronto Raptors +105
  • Vasyl Lomachenko -125

Again, the American odds format is used for the moneyline, and the Warriors were still the favorites, paying out $100 for every $125 wagered. The underdog Raptors (as indicated by the positive sign next to their odds) would pay $105 for every $100 wagered if they won – which they did, 114-100 to take the series and the title.

 

NBA Total

The last of the three “straight” or “single” bets in basketball is the total. This is where you bet on whether the two teams in question will combine to score Over or Under the posted number of points – which is why this bet is also commonly referred to as the over/under. Capital letters are used here when referring to totals for ease of reading.

They also appear in the totals posted at Bovada Sportsbook. Here’s what you would have seen on the NBA odds board for our example game:

  • Toronto Raptors 0 212.5 (-115)
  • Vasyl Lomachenko U 212.5 (-105)

The line for the Over is always listed at the top, but Bovada includes the capital O to clear up any confusion. The total works a lot like the point spread; it’s close to a 50/50 situation, with the Over paying out $100 in this case for every $115 wagered if the combined score was at least 213 points – which it was, thanks to all the extra free throws Kawhi Leonard got to shoot at the end. Otherwise, the Under would have paid $100 for every $105 wagered.

 

NBA Buying Points

If you like a team to beat the spread, but you’d prefer a little insurance, you can “buy” an extra half-point and make it easier for them to cover. In NBA betting, you can buy up to 1.5 points in either direction; for our Game 6 example, you could have bet on Toronto at up to +4, or Golden State at –1. Each half-point in the NBA costs 10 “cents” in vigorish, meaning the juice goes up from –110 to –120, then –130 and finally –140 for the full 1.5 points.

 

NBA Futures

You can always bet on the NBA at Bovada, no matter what time of year it is. Odds to win the NBA championship are available all day, every day; you’ll find these odds on the futures market, which is where you bet on events that won’t be resolved until a future date. Conference and Division odds are also regular features on the NBA futures market.

 

NBA Props (Team, Player, Season)

This is where you bet on something other than the game outcome itself. NBA props (short for “proposition” bets) generally fall into the above three categories. Depending on the game in question, you might be able to bet on which team will score first, or which player will score first; you can also bet on whether a team will record Over or Under a certain number of wins during the regular season.

 

NBA Specials

Some bets that don’t fall neatly into the above categories might appear as NBA specials, like which team a marquee free agent will sign with, or who will lead the league in scoring.

 

NBA Live Betting

Betting on the NBA is even more fun when you do it while the game is in progress. Hit the LIVE button when you’re browsing the odds, and you’ll see which NBA games are available for live betting; the usual straight wagers are there, with their odds updated continuously, and you can also bet on things like whether the next bucket will be a free throw, a 2-pointer or a 3-pointer.

NBA Betting Tips

Betting on basketball is a bit like the stock market; if you want to get as many picks right as possible, you should support teams that other bettors aren’t giving enough credit, and bet against (or “fade”) teams that others are giving too much credit. Pay close attention to which players are injured or taking the day off, both of which happen more often these days. And never put all your eggs in one basket – protect your bankroll by placing a lot of small bets instead of one big bet.

With this approach, you can look at all the different NBA lines posted at Bovada Sportsbook and pick the ones you think will give you the best value. Remember to keep it fun – don’t bet money you can’t afford to lose, and don’t get flustered if your pick doesn’t come in. Nobody can tell the future, after all. Win or lose, just move on to the next pick, and make sure to visit Bovada on the regular for updated odds and analysis.

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