NBA Point Spread Betting

What is NBA Point Spread Betting?

Like an Over/Under Bet a ‘Line Bet’ or ‘Spread Bet’ is basically an assumption of how an NBA match-up will pan out.

NBA Point spread betting is recognizable by the use of the + or – symbols. 

  • When a team has a line with a plus sign (+), it shows that the team must win the game outright or lose the game by fewer number of points than what the line indicates.
  • When a team has a point spread line with a minus sign (-), it indicates that the team must win the game by a greater number of points than what is indicated in the line.

Spread betting is a type of betting in which a bookmaker will handicaps a match-up by setting a margin for each team, which essentially makes the game equal. This estimated margin outcome is referred to as the ‘line’, which is where the term line betting comes from. A line bet is only available for events where there are two possible outcomes, such as a game of NBA basketball, where there are no draws.

A typical point spread betting line will look something like this: Chicago -8.0 @ Philadelphia +8.0

For example; if the bookmaker believes Chicago is an 8-point better team than Philadelphia, the bookmaker can handicap Chicago 8 points. The line bet becomes Chicago to win by more than 8 pts or Philadelphia to be within 8 points at the end of the game.

Both outcomes should be of equal odds roughly -105 to -110 or $1.91.

The above example would be listed by the bookmaker as: Chicago -8.0 @-110 | Philadelphia +8.0 @-110

When you play the point spread, you are not betting whether an NBA team is going to win or lose a game, you are betting how many points they will win or lose by.

If you think Philadelphia are a decent chance to beat Chicago in the above example, taking a spread of +8.0 would be a great bet. Alternatively if you think Chicago will dominate the game, a -8.0 line is a good bet to take.

With a point-spread line of +8.0, Philadelphia must win the game outright or lose by 8 points or less to cover the spread and be graded as a win. Alternatively, Chicago must win by at least  8 points to cover and be graded as a win.

How to NBA Point Spread Bet

For picking the Spread in NBA basketball, the main aspects to focus on are –

  • Recent matchup results between the two teams – Some NBA teams play really well against others and there are also cases where lower teams match up well against better teams (these are the cases when there may be ‘value’ in the market).
  • Injuries to players  – If there are significant injuries to players on either team, the line will definitely move accordingly. Make sure to keep an eye on injuries and “personal leave” of players, and maybe you can spot a bargain before the bookies adjust the line.
  • Previous performances over the last 5-10 games – Teams often go on slumps and runs, checking their form over the previous 5-10 games can be a good indicator of their cohesion and confidence coming into a game.
  • Back to back games, travel and rest off –Regardless of how good a team is, if they are playing back to back (or back to back to back) games, they will be tired. Likewise if a team is on a road trip, they will be tired. Take advantage of the fresher team. If a team has rested for a couple of days, they should have a lot of energy and be itching to play. Keep an eye on their history over these phases though, as some teams perform poorly following multiple rest days, and likewise some teams play great back to back.

I guess the best advice here is to WATCH THE NBA NEWS! Get ahead of the bookies and find where the traps are st, and set your own traps.

What if the spread matches the betting line?

The bookmaker will list thespread/line as either a solid number, or to a decimal point.

For example; the bookie may list the spread as -8.0 or -8.5.

The odds for the solid number will usually be less, as there are now 2 outcomes that can favour the bettor, not 1.

If the spread/line is set as -8.0 and the winning margin is 8, the bettor has “Pushed” the bet, and (depending on bookie) will get their outlay refunded.

If the spread/line is set as -8.5, the only outcome for the bettor is a Win or Loss.

Still confused about NBA Point Spread Betting? Drop me a line at jimmy@themidfield.com