How to Bet on NBA Basketball Games

How to Bet on Basketball
by Staff

If your looking to bet on hoops, there’s many different options you have to choose from. Some are single game bets with less house advantage while others tie games together forcing you to win all bets and that have huge payouts. We’ll explain them all below!

If you already know how to bet on basketball games and are just looking for some advice on the day’s games check out our free NBA picks section.

The Point Spread – Also known as “sides,” this bet features a favorite and an underdog. If you take the favorite in the match up you give points to the other team which means you take those points away from your score at end of game to determine your score vs. the other team. If you stake the underdog, your getting free points from the other team that you add onto your score at games end to determine the winner. The common odds on this bet have you laying $1.10 to profit $1.00. As with almost all wagers in sports betting, should you tie you get your stake back. If you win you nail the profit as well as your stake back.

The Moneyline – This bet eliminates the point spread and makes it a bet in which the team you select only has to win by one point. If you take the favorite, expect to pay more to win less. If you take the underdog, expect to lay a small amount to profit more. The odds take into account the difference in equality making the wager an even proposition.

Totals – This type of bet has nothing at all to do with the point spread or either team winning. Totals wagers are only relative to how many points are scored in the game by both teams. You either select over or under the posted total. This like sides, is a wager in which you should expect to lay $1.10 to profit $1.00.


Parlays – This is high risk/high reward bet that is tough to conquer and in exchange for that it has fat payouts. In a parlay wager, you bet in between 2-12 teams and have to win all of the best in order for the bet to cash. One loss and your ticket is in the trash. Here’s some parlay odds so you can get a better idea of how the wager works:

Special Reduced
Parlay Odds[-105]
Regular Daily Parlay Odds
2 Teams 2.8/1 13/5
3 Teams 6.4/1 6/1
4 Teams 13.5/1 10/1
5 Teams 27/1 25/1
6 Teams 54/1 40/1
7 Teams 107/1 75/1
8 Teams 210/1 150/1
9 Teams 411/1 300/1
10 Teams 804/1 700/1
11 Teams 1,570/1 1,100/1
12 Teams 3,066/1 1,800/1

As you can see, if you can hit a 12 teamer you can nail down 1800 to 1 odds. It’s been done many times before, but no easy task!

*Note: Special parlay odds shown are only offered by 5Dimes.

Teasers – A teaser bet is like a parlay in that you have to win all your games, but differing in that teasers allow you to move the point spread in your favor. Here’s a teaser chart so you can get a better idea of how many points you can move the line and what the cost will be to do so:

2 1/1 10/11 5/6
3 9/5 8/5 3/2
4 3/1 5/2 2/1
5 5/1 4/1 7/2
6 7/1 6/1 5/1
7 10/1 9/1 8/1
8 15/1 12/1 10/1
9 20/1 15/1 12/1
10 25/1 20/1 15/1

Pleasers – This is quite possibly the knarliest of all bets. Pleasers are a mix of a parlay and a teaser but with a twist. Instead of getting points to use in your favor, your GIVING points away making it harder for you to cover. In exchange, the bookie is willing to give you enormous odds to win. Let’s take a look at a pleaser chart:

Current Basketball Pleaser Payoff Chart: (Courtesy of 5Dimes)

4 PT Pleaser Basketball Ties Lose
2 Team 4 to 1 Lay 100 to get 400
3 Team 8 to 1 Lay 100 to get 800
4 Team 20 to 1 Lay 100 to get 2000
5 Team 50 to 1 Lay 100 to get 5000
6 Team 100 to 1 Lay 100 to get 10000

4.5 PT Pleaser Basketball Ties Lose
2 Team 5 to 1 Lay 100 to get 500
3 Team 10 to 1 Lay 100 to get 1000
4 Team 25 to 1 Lay 100 to get 2500
5 Team 60 to 1 Lay 100 to get 6000
6 Team 125 to 1 Lay 100 to get 12500

5 PT Pleaser Basketball Ties Lose
2 Team 6 to 1 Lay 100 to get 600
3 Team 12 to 1 Lay 100 to get 1200
4 Team 30 to 1 Lay 100 to get 3000
5 Team 70 to 1 Lay 100 to get 7000
6 Team 150 to 1 Lay 100 to get 15000

Props – These bets match up player vs. player such as Tim Duncan vs. Kobe Bryant to score the most points in the game and such. They can even be ridiculous bets such as who will get the ball first or score first. We don’t recommend those type of bets obvioiusly.

There is however value to be found in any betting matchup involving individual players stats. As a tip to you, don’t just look at what the player averages over the course of a season, check out how that player does vs. the team in question. Some gems are to be found here by turning over these rocks! Props have very low limits because astute players can dominate them!

Futures – These are long term bets such as a certain team to have over or under a certain amount of wins during the season. Then there’s the high risk/high reward bets such as picking a team to win their division or league championship. These type of bets are also a great way for small players to get in on the action and have something to root for during the course of the season for a very little investment. Don’t expect a high winning percentage though! Futures are tough to beat but oh so sweet when they cash.

Now that you know how to bet on basketball, may we recommend that you check out our “best sportsbooks to bet on NBA games” article?