Cloudy Social

Level Up Your Game With Hardware Gear for Total Gaming Domination

NBA Betting: A Beginners Guide


Are you a keen basketball fan seeking to place stakes on games in the upcoming season? The 2023/24 NBA campaign may have concluded, but the Olympics in Paris this summer will offer thrilling international basketball action. You could use this period to prepare for the NBA 2024/25 regular season starting in October.

We hope this NBA beginners betting guide is a great place to start to understand the variety of odds in play for all the exciting NBA fixtures. It is important for those wishing to wager on an outright winner to have a basic understanding of the NBA, as odds can fluctuate before and during gameplay. However, browsing sportsbooks and alternative platforms that offer sports betting methods and strategies can help when betting regularly, live betting, and matched betting to cover all potential outcomes.

Understanding NBA Betting Odds

Potential bettors need to understand moneyline odds when betting on NBA games. This involves placing a stake on which team will emerge victorious from the fixture, whether it be the favorite or the underdog.

For instance, if the Los Angeles Lakers are facing the Golden State Warriors, sportsbooks’ odds may appear like this:

Lost Angeles Lakers -150

Golden State Warriors +200

The Lakers are moneyline favorites as they hold the negative number, whereas the Warriors are the moneyline underdogs as they possess the positive figure. The -150 odds mean betting $150 on the Lakers to win could reward $100 on top of your stake for the correct outcome. On the other hand, the +200 odds mean that if you bet $100 on the Warriors to win, you could see a $200 return plus the initial stake, totalling $300 for the correct outcome.

Additional Betting Markets Popular with NBA Bettors

Although moneyline odds are the most common for selecting an NBA fixture’s overall winner or loser due to the clear-cut nature of the rules stating that ties cannot occur, alternative markets exist that can be explored when betting on basketball.

Point Spread

This is also known as the handicap market and is where sportsbooks present the underdog side with a pre-game head start. It poses bettors with a decision as to whether the favorites can “cover the spread” and overcome the handicap set.  

Los Angeles Lakers -16.5

Golden State Warriors +16.5

If the Lakers were to “cover the spread,” they would need to beat the Warriors by at least 17 points. However, for a point spread bet on the Warriors to win, they would need to avoid defeat by 17 or more points.

Totals (Over/Under)

You can bet on the total number of points scored in a game. For example, if a sportsbook offers a chance to bet on Over 210.5 and Under 210.5 points, you must decide whether the teams can accumulate 211 points combined.

Prop Bets

Prop betting involves specific outcomes within a game. You can wager on player performances in the NBA, such as total points scored or assisted and rebounds collected. Other targeted areas for making prop bets are adjusted point spreads, adjusted totals, and specific predictions for differing events to occur in a game. This could include which team will score the first basket or which team will lead at the quarter or half.


A sportsbook futures list is based on long-term possibilities within the sport, which could be determined weeks or months into the future. It frequently involves end-of-season results such as Coach of the Year, Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, and the outright NBA Finals winner.


These aren’t restricted to being placed at the beginning of a season. It is still possible to place stakes on these outcomes well into a given NBA campaign; however, the odds will likely be less favorable for players, coaches, or teams in advanced positions.


Once bettors have gained an understanding of how to bet on NBA games involving stakes on moneyline options as well as point spreads and totals, they may feel more confident to move into the aspect of parlay betting. This is where a bet involves two or more wagers and qualifies as one bet, which usually offers higher return potential due to more factors affecting the overall outcome.

You will be required to win all the individual bets you have listed to qualify for one to win the parlay; however, if one fails, you will lose the parlay. For example, these bets can include moneyline, totals, point spread, player performance such as rebounds or assists, and which team will score the first basket or lead at the quarter or half.

Beginner Tips for Betting on Basketball

Multiple factors can shape the course of an outcome in the NBA, which, in turn, affects your wagers, too. Be sure to consider these tips before placing a stake.

Look Out for the Best NBA Odds

Odds can fluctuate rapidly across different sportsbooks. Use comparison platforms to find the best odds for your bets, especially on the day of a game, due to the latest information being released, such as travel problems or injury concerns.

Don’t Back Pre-Game Favorites Instantly

Research individual rosters and performances, especially at the start of the season. Avoid placing bets on pre-game favorites at very short odds without thorough analysis.

Consider External Factors

External factors like player injuries, team form, and even travel schedules can influence game outcomes and should be considered before placing bets.


An 82-game regular campaign can strain NBA players, so if a team is scheduled for consecutive fixtures in the same number of days, always consider the fitness levels and if a star player could be rested for the same reason.


In summary, NBA betting starts with understanding moneyline bets to predict game winners. Betting strategies can be expanded by exploring additional markets like point spreads, totals, prop bets, futures, and parlays. Always compare odds across different sportsbooks to find the best value. Thorough research into team rosters, player performances, and game dynamics is essential. Additionally, consider external factors such as player injuries, team form, and travel schedules, as they can significantly impact game outcomes. Integrating these key takeaways allows you to support your NBA betting approach and make more informed decisions.