NBA Betting Lines Explained
NBA Odds can be broken down into a few different sections including; NBA Point Spreads, money lines, over under totals, and more. How to read NBA Odds can be confusing but BetQL is here to help.
NBA Spreads Explained
Betting against the spread or ATS for short is the most popular way to bet on NBA games and is also very simple. The team that is favored will be listed with a negative number (ie. -5) and that is the number they need to win the game by. In this example the favorite must win by 6 or more points to “cover” the spread and win the bet. If they win by exactly 5-points the bet is considered a “push” or “no-bet”.
NBA ATS Example:
The Miami Heat are favored to win against the Charlotte Hornets and the spread is set at +/- 6 this means that the Heat are -6 and the Hornets are +6. If you placed a bet on the Heat against the spread it means that the Heat have to win the game by 7 points or more. At the end of the game take the Heat’s final score and subtract 6, if the Heat still win that means you have covered your bet and can cash your ticket. If you bet the Hornets that means the Hornets can lose the game by 5 points or less. At the end of the game you can add 6 points to the Hornets final score and if they have more points than the Heat that means your bet won!
When betting against the spread, many sportbooks will allow you to “buy points”, which will change what the line is at adjusted odds. For example the Heat are -3.5 favorites to the Hornets with the game being played in Miami at -150 odds, meaning a $150 bet on the Heat -3.5 will pay out $100.
You really like the Heat to win the game, but are worried that the Hawks will keep the game close and it could come down to the last possession, leading to a Heat 3-point win, and thus they would not cover the spread.
In this case, you could buy a point -- bumping to the line Heat -2.5 and thus making the Heat cover the spread if they win by a 3-point magin. However, if you decide to do this the odds for new line (Heat -2.5) will bump to -160 and thus lessing your potential payout. Buying points in not available on all sports books.
NBA Money Lines Explained
Betting an NBA moneyline is the simplest form of sports betting. You are simply picking which team will outright win the game. The favorite will be listed as a negative number (ie. -200) that means you will have to bet that amount to win $100. The underdog will be listed as a positive number (ie. +500) that means you will win that amount on a $100 bet.
NBA Moneyline Example:
The New York Knicks are taking on the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center and the Nets are favored to win. The Knicks odds are listed as (+400) while the Nets are (-250) this means if you bet $100 on the Knicks moneyline and they somehow win the game you win and cash your ticket and you win $400. If you bet $100 on the Nets moneyline and they win the game you would cash a ticket for $40. The easier way to figure out the favorite team’s odds payout is to do the inverse. If the Nets are (-250) you would need to bet $250 to win $100 on a moneyline bet. If you want to read a more in depth breakdown on how NBA Moneyline betting works you should check out our page for that topic.
NBA Over Unders Explained
NBA totals betting also known as over under betting is a bet on the total for a game or how many total points will be scored in a game. NBA over under lines are typically set between 190 and 240 points. Similar to betting the spread, there can be a “push” if the total amount of points scored in the game exactly equals the total. The term “over/under” can also be used to describe betting the total. Many books also provide “team total” bets, which is a bet on how many points one of the teams will score in either the entire game, one half, or one quarter of play.
Over Under Example:
The Portland Trailblazers are playing the Denver Nuggets and the over under or totals spread is set to 202 points. For this bet type you are simply betting that the score will go over 202 points or go under 202 points. A typical over under bet in the NBA combines both team’s scores so if you bet the over you will be hoping for a high scoring game and if you bet the under you are rooting for limited scoring. At the end of the game when you add the scores of both teams the total comes out to 189 points. This means anyone who took the over losses while anyone who took the under wins and can cash their tickets. The unders win this bet because the combined total was less than 202 points where the line was set.
As mentioned before you can bet on team totals or team over unders where you are only betting on one team’s final score. If the line was set at Trailblazers O/U 105 and you placed a bet for the Trailblazers over you need them to have scored more than 105 points by the end of the game. If the Trailblazers scored less than 105 points the under bets win. To read a more in depth explanation of NBA over under betting you should check out our page on that topic where we provide even more insight.
NBA Betting Lines
Betting on the NBA is all about finding value in the odds, but it can be difficult to find value in the odds because they are always changing. BetQL always shows the most updated NBA odds, lines and spreads. We work closely with the sportsbooks to show by the minute updates. If a line moves you can ensure that BetQL has the most updated line. Finding value in your bets is easy with BetQL because we allow our users to create and save custom sports betting dashboards. With BetQL you can add / remove data to specifically identify value on NBA spreads. For example you can add in data on a team’s ATS record, spread open, and the linemovement. This way you can see which game has the best odds to bet on and start cashing tickets today!