NBA Odds & Betting Lines

Andy Jay

Written by: Andy Jay

Last Updated:

Read Time: 4 minutes

How to Read our NBA Odds Page

Our NBA Odds page aggregates up-to-date lines and odds from the top legal sportsbooks in the sports betting industry and highlights in green the best available line for every market no matter what side of the line you’re looking to bet. Filter through different betting markets by clicking the Point Spread, Moneyline and Total tabs above the odds table.

What is the Point Spread?

Similar to the NFL, the Point Spread is the most common way to bet on the NBA. The point spread system is used to “handicap” teams to put them on an even playing field, making for a more interesting betting experience.

Let’s say the New York Knicks are playing the Los Angeles Lakers and you’d like to bet on LA. The problem is that the Lakers are a much better team in this matchup and you’d stand to make very little money betting on them to win straight up (see moneyline example). Because of this, sportsbooks offer a point spread of 10.5 for the game to “even the odds”.

Lines for the matchup would look like this:

  • New York Knicks +10.5 (-110)
  • Los Angeles Lakers -10.5 (-110)

The (-) symbol in front of the point spread indicates the team that’s the favorite in a given matchup while the (+) symbol indicates the team that’s the underdog. In our example, the Lakers will have 10.5 points subtracted from their final score. If their final sum is higher than the Knicks actual score, it means the Lakers have covered the spread and you’ve won your bet.

Here’s a visual example:

Final Score

  • Knicks: 105
  • Lakers: 117 (117 – 10.5 = 105.5)

The opposite is true if you’d picked the Knicks point spread, as they would have 10.5 points added to their final score (105 + 10.5 = 116.5).

The number beside the point spread (-110) is the odds or juice being offered on that line. The American Odds system bases everything off a $100 bet so that simply means in this example, you’d have to bet $110 on either side to make $100 of profit. If the juice was +110 instead of -110, it means you could make $110 of profit on a $100 bet.

What is the Moneyline?

The Moneyline is the simplest NBA bet available at sportsbooks. If the team you select wins the game, you win too. If the moneyline odds in the previous example were: Knicks +500 (underdog), Lakers -700 (favorite), you would have to bet $700 on the Lakers to earn $100 of profit in the event of a Lakers win where a $100 bet on the Knicks would result in a $500 profit in the event of a Knicks upset win.

What is the Total?

Betting on the Total or OVER/UNDER is a common way to take specific team performance out of the equation. Instead of betting on one team to win or cover, you’re betting that the two teams will combine to score more or less than a certain total of points. In the above example, if the total was set at 221.5, OVER bets would win, as the two teams combine to score 222 points (105 + 117 = 222).

If you had made a $110 bet on o221.5 -110 in this scenario, you would win $100 plus your original stake ($100 of profit).

Learn more about odds and sports betting at our Guides section.

NBA Odds & Betting Lines FAQs

Where can I bet on NBA games?
You can bet on NBA at licensed sportsbooks if sports betting is legal and regulated in your geographical location. Some examples of licensed sportsbooks that are widely available: BetOnline, Bet MGM and UNIBET.
How do I read NBA odds?
As in other major US sports, the NBA has 3 basic categories to bet on. The Spread, the Moneyline, and the Game Total. The Spread shows which team is favored and by how many points. This is explained further below. The Moneyline is simply which team is favored to win outright. This is also explained further below. The Total is betting either the over or under on how many points will be scored in the game in total. This is also explained further below.
How do point spreads work in basketball?
Betting the spread in basketball is fairly straightforward. The spread shows which team is the favorite or the underdog and how many points they need to cover in order for you to win your bet. For example, let’s say the Pacers are +4 point underdogs against the Nets, who are -4. This means that the books believe the Nets have a better chance to win and should by more than 4 points. For you to win your bet if you bet the Nets -4, the Nets have to win by 5+ points. If you think the Pacers are going to win or at least keep it close, you should bet the Pacers +4. If the Pacers lose by one basket, or 2 points, you would win your bet.
What are the odds for a point spread?
Betting the spread is the most profitable way to bet sides, as the spread value is usually -110 on both sides. It sometimes varies to -120 and +100 if a line is moving one way or another, but it always stays close to even.
How to place an NBA point spread bet?
From the example above explaining Point spreads, the Pacers are +4 against the Nets. In this scenario, I think the Pacers have a better chance to win, but want to bet them on the spread to give me insurance if they lose by a basket. Betting the spread, especially on underdogs who you think have a good chance of winning, is a great way to give you some extra insurance. Maybe they don’t win outright, but they cover the spread and you win your bet.
What is a push in NBA spread betting?
Sticking with the Pacers +4 example, say you have bet the Pacers +4 and they end up losing by 4 exactly. That would mean your bet pushes and you get your bet back, with no profit. You didn’t win but you didn’t lose. Pushing isn’t the worst result but many spread bettors like to find .5 decimal numbers on spreads to guarantee either a win or a loss. For example, the Pacers could have been +4.5. If the Pacers are +4.5 and they lose by 4, you win your bet.