Who do you think will win? If you want a simple way to bet on basketball, bet the moneyline.
NBA Point Spread Betting Explained
NBA point spread betting online is a wager on how many points a team will win or lose by. This is one of the only wagers where you can bet on a team to lose, and as long as they keep the final score within the spread number, you still win your wager.
In point spread betting, to make the games fairer a number of points are taken from the favorite and given to the underdog by the oddsmakers. This is designed to receive equal action on both sides, and to minimize the gap between both teams.
A spread bet allows the bettor to place a wager on the favorite to win by more than the set number of points (covering the spread), or the underdog wining outright or losing by fewer points than the set spread number.
Using the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat as an example, where the Lakers are favored by 2.5 points, the market will be shown as:
|Los Angeles Lakers -2.5 (-110)|
|Miami Heat +2.5 (-110)|
In this game the minus sign (-) beside the spread indicates the favorites. In this case, the Lakers are favored by 2.5 points. If you think the Lakers will win by more than 3 points, then your spread bet would be Lakers -2.5 at -110 odds. A $100 wager would return $190 – your initial stake in the bet, plus $90 profit.
If you think the Heat will win, or lose by 2 points or less, then your spread bet would be Miami +2.5 at -110 odds. A $100 wager would also return $190 – your initial stake in the bet, plus $90 profit.
It’s important to note that you do not have to wager $100 when NBA point spread betting online. The choice is yours. Our Odds Calculator can show you how much you'd win based on your bet total.
Think you know how many points a team will win by? Find out how to bet the spread with our guide.
Find out why betting over/unders, AKA totals betting, is an important skill for any online bettor.
Get bigger odds and bigger returns - learn how to make the most of parlays.
A +7 spread means you are getting seven points by selecting the underdog. The team getting the points do not need to win the game outright, but they simply need to keep the score within those seven points in order for you to win your wager.
Point spreads are an educated guess by oddsmakers designed to entice equal action on both sides. They are very accurate, but often a great way to wager on an underdog if you think the game will be close, or better value than a straight up moneyline bet on the favorite.
Betting on the team favored by 2.5 points means they need to win the game by at least 3, and betting on the underdog means they need to either win outright, or keep the game within 2 points. The .5 in the point total (and the majority of bets) helps to eliminate the push (when the margin is exactly the same as the spread given), which results in refunding your bet.
If the odds are negative, this means the outcome is more likely to happen. Negative numbers signify the favorite on the betting line. The number behind the negative sign indicates how much you'd need to bet in order to win $100.
‘Betting the spread’ or ‘covering the spread’ is simply another way of describing point spread betting. NBA point spread betting is a way to evenly match two uneven teams by giving points or taking away points from each team. Betting the spread is intended to incentivize betting on both sides.