NBA Odds and Scores

NBA Odds Explained

Before betting on a game, it’s important to understand what the NBA odds mean.

Example: Knicks (-130) vs. Bulls (+110)

The “favorite” is the team expected to win and will have negative (-) odds. In this case, the Knicks are favored to win the game at -130 odds. Negative odds indicate how much a bettor needs to bet to win $100. To win $100 on the Knicks, a bettor needs to risk $130.

The “underdog” is the team expected to lose the game and will have positive (+) odds the majority of the time. The Bulls are underdogs with +110 odds in our example. Positive odds indicate how much a bettor will win on a $100 bet. A $100 bet on the Bulls would pay $110 profit if they win the game.

Now that you know how to read NBA odds, the next step is learning the types of NBA bets.

NBA Odds – Moneylines

Example: Nets (+315) vs. Celtics (-400)

NBA moneyline bets are simple to understand, but difficult to master. However, they are the basis of NBA odds.

Your job is to pick the winner of the game. Big favorites will have low payout odds and you’ll need a high winning percentage to turn a profit. To win $100 on the Celtics to win, you’d need to risk $400. 

On the flip side, underdogs can offer bigger payouts ($100 bet on the Nets pays $315 profit) and you can have a much smaller winning percentage (<50%) and still make money betting on the NBA.

NBA Odds – Point Spreads

Example: Kings -7.5 (-110) vs. Spurs +7.5 (-110)

This type of NBA odds bet assigns a spread to NBA games. The team with a negative spread is the favorite and needs to win by more than the number. In our example, the Kings are -7.5 favorites on the spread, which means they need to win by eight or more points for a bet on them to win.

The underdog will always have a positive point spread. A bet on the Spurs at +7.5 would win if the Spurs win the game or if they lose the game by seven or fewer points.

Some spreads don’t have ½ points and can “push”. For example, if the spread dropped to Kings -7 and the Kings won by exactly seven points, the bet would push (tie) and your wager would be refunded.

NBA Odds – Game Totals (Over/Under)

Example: O 230 Points (-115) vs. U 230 Points (-105)

For NBA game total bets, you need to pick whether both teams will combine to score over (O) or under (U) the total. In our example, you predict whether the game total will go over or under 230 points.

If both teams combine to score 231+ points, the over wins. If both teams combine to score 229 or fewer points, the under wins. If both teams combine to score exactly 230 points, the bet is a push.

NBA 1st Half / 2nd Half Odds

Example: Knicks vs. Magic – Over 115.5 Points (-110) vs. Under 115.5 Points (-110)

You can also bet on the 1st half or 2nd half of NBA games. You can bet on the moneyline, point spread or over/under markets. In our example, the Knicks and Magic 1st half total is 115.5 points and you can bet on the 1st half having over or under 115.5 points rather than betting on the game total.

In the NBA, you can also bet on the 2nd half during halftime. Bookies will release 2nd half NBA odds during halftime. This allows you to watch the 1st half of a game before betting on it.

NBA Quarters (1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th) Odds

Example: Knicks +0.5 (-120) vs. Magic -0.5 (+100) (3rd Quarter Only)

With NBA odds, you can bet on single quarters. Have you identified a trend that team X dominates in the 2nd quarter of games? Do two teams playing each other average more points in the 3rd quarter than others? You can bet on the moneyline, point spread or over/under for every quarter before an NBA game starts.

In our example, the Magic are -0.5 favorites to win the 3rd quarter. With such a low spread, the team to win the quarter will cash this bet, but only points scored in the 3rd quarter count towards the wager.

NBA Odds: Alternate Spreads and Totals

Example: Knicks Alternate Spread -5.5 (+160)

In our example, the Knicks are -1 favorites against the Magic at -110 odds for the normal game line, but you can also bet on NBA alternate spreads and totals. We’re betting the Knicks at -5.5 (+160) instead of the Knicks -1 (-110), as we expect them to win by 6+ points and we’re getting a much bigger payout.

You can also shave points off a spread or total, but the NBA odds get worse for every ½ point.

NBA Parlays

Example: GSW -2.5, ATL +5.5 and ORL/DET Over 209.5 Points

An NBA parlay bet combines two or more bets on the same wager. All of the picks on a parlay need to win or the bet loses, but there’s potential for a massive payout if you hit on a big parlay.

In our example, we have made three picks and they all need to win. A three-team parlay with fixed odds pays out at 6/1 odds. Parlay payouts increase for every pick you add to the wager.

You can use a parlay calculator to find out how much your NBA parlay bet will pay.

NBA Futures Betting

Example: Nuggets to Win 2023 NBA Championship (+800)

NBA futures are season-long bets, but most markets can be bet on throughout the season. Generally, the payout odds for a futures bet will be higher the earlier you place the bet.

There are numerous NBA futures markets to bet on, including the following:

  • Which team will win the NBA Championship?
  • Which team will win a conference or division title?
  • How many regular season wins will a team have? (NBA regular season win totals)
  • Will a team make the NBA playoffs? (Yes or No)
  • Who will win the MVP Award, Rookie of the Year Award or other NBA awards this season?
  • Who will lead the NBA in points, assists or rebounds this season?

NBA Odds – Player Props

Example: Steph Curry Over 29.5 Points (-125) vs. Steph Curry Under 29.5 Points (-105)

NBA player props are immensely popular, especially with fantasy basketball players.

Rather than bet on the result of an NBA game, you bet on player performance. Most NBA odds for player props are over/under bets. Here’s a list of the most popular NBA player props to bet on:

  • How many points will a player score?
  • How many assists will a player have?
  • How many rebounds will a player have?
  • How many steals will a player have?
  • How many blocks will a player have?
  • How many turnovers will a player have?
  • How many three-pointers will a player make?
  • Will a player record a double-double or triple-double?

There are also combo player props markets. For example, you can bet on how many points, assists and rebounds a player will have or you could bet on how many steals and blocks a player will have.

Live NBA Betting Odds

You can also bet on NBA games live (in-play) as the game is being played.

There are the standard moneyline, point spread and over/under markets. You can also bet on which team will score next, how the next points will be scored (two-pointer, three-pointer or free throw) and more.

NBA bettors can also wager on adjusted NBA player props live during the game. The NBA odds can be lots of fun.

How to Bet on the NBA

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is the second-most popular sport to bet on in the US. Not only is betting on the NBA entertaining, but it can be profitable once you understand what you’re doing.

That’s where we come in. We’re here to teach you how to make money betting on the NBA.

Our NBA betting guide explains how to understand NBA odds, provides examples of the different ways to bet on the NBA and prepares bettors to earn profits from the start of the season to the NBA Finals.


How Does NBA Odds Betting Work?

The most basic way to bet on the NBA is picking a team to win a game (moneyline). The next two most popular ways to bet on the NBA are point spreads and game totals (over/under).

What Does +4.5 Mean in NBA Betting?

The number +4.5 represents an NBA point spread. If you bet on an NBA team at +4.5 it means that you’re betting on the team to win or to lose by four points or less. If they lose by 5+ points, the bet will lose.

What Does +7 Mean in NBA Odds Betting?

In NBA betting, +7 represents a point spread, which the team needs to cover for the bet to win. In this example, a bet on an NBA team +7 will win if the team wins or loses by six points or less. If the team loses by exactly seven points and you have a bet at +7, the bet is a push and your bet will be refunded.

Is it Better to Bet Spread or Moneyline NBA?

With an NBA moneyline bet, the team simply needs to win the game. With a point spread bet, the team needs to win by X amount of points or lose by less than X amount of points depending upon the spread.

Both NBA betting markets are popular and the better question is whether your pick presents value.

Important NBA Dates for the 2023/24 Season

Here are the most important dates for the 2023/24 NBA season:

June 22nd, 2023: NBA Draft

October 24th, 2023: NBA regular season starts

February TBD, 2024: NBA trade deadline (3 PM ET)

February 16th-18th, 2024: NBA All-Star Weekend (Indiana)

April 14, 2024: End of regular season

April 16th-19th, 2024: NBA Play-In Tournament begins

April 20th, 2024: NBA Playoffs begin

May TBD, 2024: NBA Draft Lottery

June TBD, 2024: NBA Finals begin