NBA Betting Tips: Understanding the Odds

NBA Betting Tips: Understand the Odds
by GM, Basketball Handicapper,

Betting on the National Basketball Association is not an easy task. The NBA may very well be the most difficult sport to wager on for beginning, or even seasoned, sports bettors. One of the main reasons behind the difficulty in betting the NBA or even basketball in general, is the constant scoring. On any given possession, an NBA team can score between one and four pointswhich usually means most games will go down to the wire and the spread, whatever it may be, will always be in play.

There is also the fact that there are so many games to bet on, which also means there are more opportunities to make mistakes. The key to betting the NBA is to remain disciplined, and with multiple games on any given night that can be a difficult task. Everyone wants to be a profitable gambler, but not everyone wants to put in the analysis and hard work. Here are a few tips to you help get the best of your NBA wagers.

Understand the Odds

This may sound like a simple concept, but it is the most fundamental aspect of being a successful bettor. Sure, most gamblers can identify a vig of -110 or a moneyline of -210, but, do they really understand what those numbers mean? If someone were to ask about vigs, most gamblers would probably explain that a vig of -110 is standard for the industry, and means that a bettor must wager $110 to win $100. And, while that answer would be correct, it is not the full assessment of what those odds mean.

For every vig that you bet, there is a corresponding break-even point that gamblers need to know in order to truly be successful. You may understand vig, but what is the break-even point for a -105 vig, or a -110, or -125, or even a +130?


Many times bettors will wager on vigorish of -110 and have no idea what that number truly means. In order to be successful it is imperative that you understand the odds, and if you cannot figure out the break-even points for those vigs I just mentioned, then you do not understand the odds. This tip is not NBA specific, but it is something that you need to learn, especially if you plan to take sports betting seriously.

Tip 1: Understand the odds of everything that you are bettingand not just a superficial understanding, but a deep and thorough understanding of the odds.

Shop Around

Understanding the odds and this tip go hand-in-handyou need to shop around at diffferent sportsbooks to find the best price on your vig. Gamblers might not think twice about it, but there is a huge difference between getting a vig of -105 and -115. Different sportsbooks have different prices on their wagers, and getting the best vig will benefit you as a gambler in the long run.

The difference between breaking-even on a vig of -105 and -115 is around 2.27 percent, and while you might not think that number will have an impact on your wagers, it will. In order to break-even on a -105 vig, you need to win 51.21 percent rate, and in order to break-even on a -115 vig you need win at a rate 53.48 percent. Anyone who has gambled for any period of time will tell you how difficult it is to even win 50 percent of your bets, let alone, 53 percent. These small percentage points might not seem like a lot, but they can be the difference between a winning and losing player.

Tip 2: Look at different sportsbooks in order to find the best price on your betsthose small percentages add up.

Look at Against the Spread Records Instead of Straight-up Records

Here is another concept that may seem simple and obvious at first, but is something that many gamblers overlook. There are two types of stats for bettors: normal or straight-up (SU) stats, and against the spread stats (ATS). Normal stats are great and all, but really have no bearing on what a sports bettor should be looking for. Many times gamblers make the mistake of thinking that the best teams in the league are more likely to cover the spread and wager on them without taking a look at their ATS records.

It may be shocking to hear, but simply because an NBA team has a good record does not mean that they are covering spreads, and vice versa. Some of the worst teams in the league have fantastic ATS records because the oddsmakers are giving them so many points. This concept is something sportsbooks take advantage of every season. They know that the general public loves to bet favorites, and is weary of wagering on underdogs. There’s an old rule of thumb in sports betting that goes something like this: “Good teams win, bad teams cover.” And it’s true!

Tip 3: Always look at a teams ATS record over their SU recordand dont be afraid to take the points on bad team.


You may have come to this article looking for a very specific set of NBA tipssomething to the affect of, betting away teams coming off a back-to-backs on a Tuesday night cover 99 percent of the timebut, unfortunately, that is not the way sport betting works. If there were a few set of tips that busted open the sportsbooks bank vault, then wouldnt everyone be rich by now?

Betting the NBA successfully and profitably, takes time and effort. The key is to take advantage of your small edges and over time they will add up into a solid profit. Learn that sports betting is not glamorous.. It’s more like a grind over an extended period time.