The National Basketball Association (NBA) is famous around the globe and is the best men's professional basketball league in the world. Each NBA season finishes with the play-offs and Finals, which is contested between the winners of the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference. In this NBA betting guide, we will look at what the NBA is, its history, how it is structured, how to place NBA bets, and the betting markets available.
Betting on the NBA is very easy to do, but firstly, you will need to navigate your way to the sports betting page and select ‘Browse sports’. From here, you might need to choose ‘More’ to reveal the Basketball markets. You should then see NBA as the top option to select from. Tick NBA and click ‘Apply’ where you will be taken to all the available NBA markets.
There are two different areas that you can examine to choose which type of bet you’d like to place. In the ‘Events’ area, all the upcoming fixtures with the ‘to win’ odds will be on show, but you can click on an individual game to open up other bets that are more specific to that game. For example, if you clicked on a game between the Miami Heat v New York Knicks, you would see betting markets such as ‘Match Specials’, and ‘Player Specials’.
In the ‘Outrights’ betting area you will see the odds for teams to win their various leagues within the NBA structure. There are also markets for team season bets, as well as who might win ‘NBA Coach of the Year’ or the ‘MVP (Most Valuable Player) winner’.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the highest level professional basketball league in the world, consisting of teams from the United States and Canada. There are 30 teams in total, with 29 based in the USA, and one based in Canada, but the NBA attracts fans from around the world.
Founded in New York City in 1946 as the Basketball Association of America (BAA), the organisation changed its name to the National Basketball Association (NBA) in 1949 after merging with the National Basketball League (NBL).
The NBA is now divided into two conferences, the Eastern Conference, and the Western Conference. The Eastern conference is broken down into three divisions, namely the Atlantic Division, Central Division, and Southeast Division. The Western conference also has three divisions, which are the Northwest Division, Pacific Division, and Southwest Division. The ultimate winner of the NBA championship is contested between the winners of the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference each season.
The NBA's regular season usually runs from October to April, with each of the 30 teams playing 82 games across the campaign. The NBA then hosts their play-off and Finals into June. The Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics are the most successful teams in NBA history, each having won 17 NBA championships.
The current defending champions are the Golden State Warriors, who defeated the Boston Celtics 4–2 in the seven-game series in the 2022 NBA Finals.
As of 2020, players in the NBA were reportedly the best paid athletes in the world.
A regular NBA season starts from October and runs to April, with each of the 30 teams playing 82 games across the campaign. This will be 41 home games, and 41 away games. A team will face opponents in their own division four times a year, which make up 16 games of their fixture list, whilst they will also face six teams from the other two divisions in their conference four times, which make up a further 24 games.
A team will also face the remaining four teams three times to add another 12 games to their schedule, before finally facing all the teams in the other conference twice to make up another 30 games.
The regular season is paused in February to celebrate the annual NBA All-Star Game, which showcases 24 of the NBA’s best players who have been selected using a combination of votes from fans, the media, and other player votes.
The two teams are made up of the best 12 players from the Eastern Conference, and the best 12 players from the Western Conference. The head coach for each team is the coach of the team with the best record in each conference.
The regular season then continues and usually ends mid-April when the play-offs begin. The top eight teams from each conference, regardless of where they finished in the division, then compete for the NBA championship, which is named the Larry O’Brien Championship.
Teams are seeded based on their regular season record with the top seed in each Conference playing the eighth seed in that same Conference, the second seed facing the seventh seed and so on. The play-offs follow a tournament format with each team playing an opponent in a best-of-seven series. The first team to win four games will advance to the next round, with the losing team being eliminated.
The two winning teams from each Conference will then face each other in another best-of-seven series in the NBA Finals in June, hoping to be crowned NBA champions. The Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award is also given to the best performing player of the Finals series.
You can bet on all of your favourite sports at LeoVegas - the NBA is no exception! Since its meteoric rise in popularity through players such as Michael Jordan and LeBron James, NBA betting has been a staple on our site. With the regular season primed to commence from October, there’s no better time to get into NBA betting at LeoVegas.
Basketball betting is one of the most popular betting markets in New Zealand, so it is no surprise to see NBA betting follow a similar trend and become a preferred betting market for our players. Whether you want to bet before a match with our pre-game markets, or follow along with the action live with our in-play markets, we have hundreds of popular NBA markets waiting for you.
In its simplest form, betting odds are compiled by bookmakers to display how likely or unlikely an event is to happen. The shorter the odds, the more likely the event is to happen. Similarly, the longer the odds, the less likely an event is to happen, but these odds offer a higher payout.
In New Zealand, odds are usually displayed via decimal odds. The closer these odds are to 1.00, the more likely that event is to happen. However, you can also see odds displayed with a +/- sign, or fractional.
When you bet on the NBA with LeoVegas, you can find the odds shown in decimal form. While these may look confusing to begin with, they are very simple to understand once explained. For example, you want to wager $1 on a specific market at 6.00 odds, if that bet comes in, you’ll get $6 in return. Your $1 stake back and $5 in profit.
Money Line betting is one of the simplest markets that we offer. It refers to when a player places a bet on the outcome of a match. All you have to do is wager on which team you believe will win the game - home or away.
A Point Spread creates a virtual handicap between the two teams playing. As an example, if the MInnesota Timberwolves were -4 favourites for an NBA game, they’d have to win the game by five or more points to cover the spread. However, if they were +4 underdogs, they’d have to avoid losing by five points or more, or win the game.
You can also place a bet on the total points in the match. On every fixture, the oddsmaker will select a number based on the total points in the game. For example, a match between the LA Lakers and Golden State Warriors may have a points total over 158, if you believe that a game will surpass the points total set by us - select the over. If you think it’ll be a lower scoring affair, take the under.
Feel like combining multiple bets for the chance at bigger winnings, a parlay is for you! Simply combine numerous teams you think will win onto one bet, and if it lands, you’ll unlock a higher payout. Remember, every result you wager on has to come in for your bet to be a winner!
Prop bet is short for proposition bet. This aspect of NBA betting is when you wager on a certain thing happening within the game, regardless of the result of the match. These bets are usually posed as a question for players to answer - how many points will a certain player score?
You can bet along in-play with the NBA at LeoVegas. Live betting allows players to place bets during the game, reacting to what is happening in real time. Odds will change to reflect how a game is trending, allowing you to find the best value market for you!
When NBA betting, you must always make sure to gamble responsibly. An important way to do this is setting yourself a budget and managing how much you are wagering. This budget should be the amount you’re willing to risk aside from everyday expenses. You should stick to the budget you have set yourself scrupulously and avoid chasing your losses.
The first common mistake relates to the aforementioned bankroll management. Novice bettors will sometimes not set themselves a budget - this is a huge mistake. Setting a budget allows you to stay in control and continue to keep gambling fun.
Another mistake made by newer players is betting with their heart over their head. We aren’t saying don’t back the team you support, but don’t let it get in the way of the smart choice.
To make a more informed wager, it’s always important to research how certain teams and players are getting on. Do some franchises have a bogey team? Are any teams on a hot streak against a certain opponent? If you do your research, you’ll be able to find the answers and place your best bet.
This works the same when researching players! Player research can aid your prop bets or individual player markets.
As the saying goes, “form is temporary, but class is permanent”
However, as a bettor, capitalising on that form can be integral to success with your wagers. If you spot a team is on a win streak, you can analyse the recent performances and suggest whether that form will continue or come to a sudden halt.
Player stats can also help your betting experience. By analysing a player’s recent stats, you can make wagers on over/under player markets, prop bets, and any other player-specific markets you please.
One of the key factors is the aforesaid form. Teams can sometimes ride a wave of momentum all the way to the postseason - hop on the hype train early and you could reap the rewards. Plus, you should always consider home advantage when it comes to betting. Some franchises within the NBA make their home court a fortress, so they’d be more likely to win when playing in a familiar setting.
There’s plenty of other factors to consider when NBA betting, including injuries, load management, and style of play.
Unfortunately, not every bet you place will be a winner, so we aim to ensure you avoid the pitfalls that sometimes come along with NBA betting. Firstly, it’s important to understand to never chase your losses when betting on the NBA. Your bets may lose, but always wager on those bets with money within your set budget.
Another potential pitfall is becoming fixated on NBA betting. Not every game requires a wager, so feel free to pick and choose the specific games you want to bet on to give yourself the most enjoyment.
Our first tip to avoid costly mistakes is doing your research. Although, we have commented at length about how important this aspect of NBA betting is in other sections, so we won’t repeat ourselves here. But, in short, research is important!
Now, another costly error that people make is increasing the size of the bets based on how well they’re doing. If you win on a bet, it doesn’t mean you have to double your wager next time and chase the bigger payout. Enjoy any win!
Avoid having unrealistic expectations. We all dream of the 1000.00 parlay coming in and buying that expensive product we’ve always wanted. But these aren’t always the bets that land. Be sensible with your wagers and don’t always search for the biggest wins.
You can deposit funds into your LeoVegas account using a number of our quick and easy methods - including Skrill, Neteller, Ecopayz, VISA/Mastercard, or paysafecard. Once you’ve finished playing and are ready to withdraw, simply head over to the ‘My Account’ page and you’ll be given the option to withdraw from your account.
You can bet along LIVE on any NBA game! Visit our sportsbook and check underneath the ‘Live’ tab to find the game you’re looking for. If your game is underway, click on your selected game, and find numerous in-game markets ready for you.
While no betting strategies are full-proof, some players like to implement plans to help themselves when NBA betting. One strategy that could prove fruitful is researching injury reports and load management. This means keeping up to date on whether a star player is likely to miss a game, informing your wager for the night's action.