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Learning how to bet an NBA spread is more straightforward than it looks. Betting a basketball point spread is a bet based on the winning margin of victory.
For example, Portland is playing at home against Detroit. The Trail Blazers are -3.5 favorites with the Pistons as +3.5 underdogs. The -3.5 number means that Portland has to win by 4 points or more for Trail Blazer’s bettors to win. Conversely, it means Pistons can lose by 3 points or better for +3.5 bettors to win.
If the point spread was on an even number, like Portland -3, and the final score was Portland winning 114-111, that means you would push the bet and get your money back.
In simple terms, betting a moneyline is betting who will win the game. The biggest problem betting the moneyline in the NBA is that if you want to bet on a big favorite, it will get costly. However, betting underdogs to win the game outright can be a very profitable endeavor.
Looking at our Portland/Detroit example, if Portland is a -3.5 point favorite, the moneyline would roughly be Portland -155 and Detroit +135. The minus number means you would have to bet $155 to win $100, while the plus number means you would win $135 when you bet just $100.
In the association, it’s not uncommon seeing 14-point favorites that are -700. That means you would have bet $7 to win $1. That’s generally an expensive bet that can go wrong very quickly.
Another popular betting over or under the total points scored. The game total is the combined number of points scored in the game. In our Portland/Detroit matchup, your sportsbook may offer a total of 217.5 points. That means Portland and Detroit would have to combine for 217 points or fewer to go under the total. Likewise, they would need to score more than 218 points to go over the total.