Betting NBA Point Spreads

Betting NBA point spreads is the most popular way to bet on the association.

Key Points

  • Bettors must know how to read NBA betting lines in order to understand point spreads.
  • Knowing how point spreads are established can help NBA bettors make sound betting decisions.

Sports bettors, young and old and new and experienced, can enjoy betting on NBA games. The standard, traditional wagers are the moneyline, totals, and the point spread.

Oddsmakers at sportsbooks use the point spread to account for differences in the ability of teams. Point spreads are affected by a number of factors that we will address. First, we need to understand how we read point spreads.


Betting NBA Point Spread Example

Let’s use the following betting line as an example.

Boston Celtics -6.5 (-110)

Philadelphia 76ers +6.5 (-110)

There are two components of the NBA point spread – the line itself and the juice or vig. The juice is simply the fee charged by the sportsbook for taking a bet. 

In the above example, the juice is in parentheses – (-110). Juice is expressed in terms of winning $100 at the best basketball sportsbooks. In our example, a $110 bet is needed to win $100, which means the juice is 10 percent.

The line on the game is 6.5. The favorite is always listed with a minus sign in front of the number. The underdog is indicated by a plus sign in front of the number.

Favorites and Underdogs

In this case, Boston is favored to beat Philadelphia by 6.5 points. A winning bet on Boston occurs if the Celtics win by seven points or more. A $110 bet would win $100.

On the other side of the line, a winning bet on the 76ers occurs when Philadelphia loses by six or fewer points or wins the game outright. 

Often, you will encounter point spreads with half-points, such as our 6.5. This way, a “push” is not possible. A push occurs when the final margin of victory is equal to the point spread. The hook is why you should shop for betting lines. Using multiple sportsbooks is smart, and the easiest way to win more bets.

If the point spread in our game was Boston -6 and the Celtics won 106-100, a “push” occurs. In those instances, bets are simply refunded and there is no winner or loser.

How NBA Point Spreads Are Determined

A number of factors go into establishing a line on a given NBA game. It’s important to keep these in mind when betting NBA point spreads. Where the game is being played is one such factor. It is often said that playing at home in the NBA is worth roughly three points. 

How a team has been performing in its recent games is another factor. Teams that are on winning streaks and have winning records may receive extra points, especially when playing a team that isn’t doing so well.

Betting NBA Point Spreads – Injuries

Injuries are also a factor. Teams that play without their star players will be given lines different than those if their stars were playing.

Ultimately, bettors should remember that online wagering portals are in the business of making money. Their goal is to take in an equal amount of money on both sides of a bet. That ensures that the sportsbook makes money. They win all the losing bets plus they earn a fee on all of the winning bets that they must payout.

If a lot of money is coming in on one side of a bet, lines can change to encourage bettors to wager on the other side. Knowing what moves a betting line can help bettors make sound betting decisions.

We hope this information has given you some insight on betting NBA point spreads. Keep us in your favorites for more great basketball betting tips.

Have you given your sports bets a good look? It is important to spend time grading your sports handicapping skills this year.