NBA Betting Guide for 2021

Sports data analyst/content creator Sal Vetri is an NFL Show Host for Daily Fantasy Sports site, plus runs a personal YouTube channel boasting thousands of subscribers. He specializes in DFS, covering NBA, WNBA, NFL, MLB and PGA golf too.

Our Top NBA Betting Sites for United Statess

Sal Vetri's Expert NBA Betting Tips

Our sports expert Sal Vetri has provided the following NBA betting tips, to help you place smart bets and find the best NBA betting picks:

The two most opportunistic times to place a wager on the NBA are the moment the betting lines hit the marketplace and the moments after an injury is announced to a key player for any given team.

Once the betting lines open, this is the friendliest time to place a bet. The lines are now ‘soft’, meaning there is not much action (money) being placed yet. During this time, you have the ability to get the side of the bet you like before the market and professional bettors influence that line (line movement/changes).

Moments after an injury is the most advantageous time to place an NBA bet. It’s a common trend for teams not to announce injured/resting players until moments before tip (and sometimes after). This puts Vegas and the books at an extreme disadvantage. Following accounts like Fantasy Labs NBA on Twitter is the best way to get an information edge over the books. I’ve found that you will have 2-3 minutes to place a bet before the books change the line due to injury/rest.

Pace refers to the number of possessions per team during a game. When choosing Overs, target games where two teams are in the top-10 in average pace per game. These pace statistics can be found on numerous basketball information sites for free. Now, Vegas ‘attempt’ to incorporate the pace into their lines, but I personally believe there is an edge in targeting fast pace games. In the 2018-2019 season, the NBA saw its fastest paced season by a wide margin. The league average pace rose by over 4 possessions per game. Vegas was inefficient in being able to quantify and keep up with just how fast the teams were playing. I believe teams will continue to play faster, and we can continue to take advantage of the lack of data Vegas is working with when they set their Over/Unders.

You can project game pace using the following equation:
(Team A Pace – League Avg. Pace) + (Team B – League Avg. Pace) + League Avg. Pace

Shopping your lines is essential in NBA Betting. Now, shopping your lines has a few components.

First, you can shop the vig of the line. The vig is what you see next to each line.
For example, (-110) is the vig. You want to make sure that (-110) is the best number you can find. In a vacuum it might seem great, but after some research you may be able to find a (-105) line. This means you only have to bet $105 to win $100, compared to $110 to win $100 with the original line you found. Less risk!
These numbers add up over the long haul of a bettor’s career and can be the difference between profitable years and years of losses.

The second way to shop in Vegas is by shopping the actual line itself. If you think a favourited team is going to win, then you’ll want to find the sportsbook offering the lowest spread for that favourite.
Maybe the first line you see has the Lakers as a -5 favorite. If you are a Lakers backer on this night, it would be smart of you to look and see if any other books are offering a Lakers -4.5 or Lakers -4 line.
Shopping lines is so crucial in NBA betting, as the lines you want are rather easy to find if you put the effort in.

Vegas is most inefficient at projecting player props, and they just so happen to be the softest lines (least money on them), due to professionals having strict betting limits on these types of bets. The stricter limits for professionals on these types of bets should be a clear indicator that Vegas is not confident they can consistently beat sharp/smart bettors on player props.

Start by identifying some point guards in high pace games. These guards are usually in an elite tempo environment, where points, assists and rebounds are likely to occur faster than Vegas can accurately project them to.

Click here to learn more about NBA prop bets.

How NBA Betting Odds Work

If you are new to sports betting odds and in particular how NBA odds work, we’ll explain for you below with the following example:

Here, Toronto is the betting favourite. Based on these 2.0 odds, for every C$4 you stake on the Raptors, you win C$4 and get your stake back. That’s a total return of C$8 if your bet wins.

Cleveland, meanwhile, is the betting underdog with higher odds of 3.25. A C$4 bet on the Cavs generates C$9 of profit and C$13 total returns.

Try out our NBA odds calculator below to work out other odds types, betting stakes and potential winnings:


NBA Best Bets & Betting Options

There are hundreds of basketball markets to choose from when it comes to NBA betting. Below, we’ve listed the most popular and best NBA bet types for wagering real money:

NBA Match Bets

NBA moneyline betting is simply to wager on which NBA team will win the game of basketball in question. Note that the market will usually be expressed in the American betting odds format.

NBA prop bets are also hugely popular in basketball betting. They usually refer to player markets within a game, such as number of points, blocks or assists. Props can also be classed as NBA futures bets for markets across the season.

NBA spread betting is when the bookies put both teams at a level playing field betting-wise. If the spread is 6.5, the favourite has to win by 7+ points, or the underdog must lose by no more than 6 points (or win) for you to win the bet.

NBA over/under bets can be made on the total points scored by both teams combined or just one team, or even within quarters of the match. For example, you’ll see NBA betting markets such as: over 110.5 total points.

NBA second half betting lines, or even wagering on a team to win a particular quarter, are also popular bets to take. For instance, the LA Clippers to win the third quarter against the LA Lakers.

NBA Futures Bets

One of the most popular NBA futures bets, is to pick which team you think will win its conference or division. These odds will fluctuate as the season progresses, with the best odds usually available before a match is played.

Similar to conference or division winner markets, you are betting on which team will be NBA champions. You can bet on this market throughout the season and playoffs, all the way up to the NBA Finals.

What is NBA Live Betting?

Other Basketball Pages

Best NBA Teams to Bet On

When picking a team to bet on, either for a certain match or championship, it is wise do your homework and find out any NBA betting data and info.

Regularly looking at NBA betting expert picks and tips, such as from our very own Sal Vetri, is a great way to increase your chances of winning real money.

Some of the NBA betting tips we recommend are looking at team form, head-to-head history and injuries etc. Below we provide a list of the past 10 NBA champions, which is a great place to start:

Recent NBA Champions

NBA Rules and Overview

Now that you know about NBA betting in USA, we go through the rules and format, to help you better plan your NBA betting picks and wagers:

There are 30 pro basketball teams in the NBA. Matches feature two at a time, and the team with the most points after four quarters or overtime wins.

The NBA is split into two conferences of 15 teams based on rough geographical areas – the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.

Conferences are split into three divisions of five teams each. The Atlantic, Central and Southeast in the Eastern Conference, and the Northwest, Pacific and Southwest in the Western Conference.

During the regular NBA season, teams play 82 games (72 during the 2020/21 season due to COVID-19) – an equal number playing home and away.

Each NBA team plays the others in its division four times, six of the remaining 10 from the same conference four times and the other four three times. Teams play those from the other conference twice.

The NBA playoffs feature the top eight teams in each conference. The format has changed over the years as the NBA expanded. Now the playoffs are a best-of-seven series elimination tournament with seedings.

Whichever team comes through the playoffs and wins the NBA Finals (also best-of-seven) are crowned NBA champions for that season.

NBA Growth & History

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is founded in New York City as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). United States team Toronto Huskies lose 68-66 to the New York Knicks in the first-ever NBA game.

Philadelphia Warriors win the inaugural NBA finals.

The name is changed to NBA after a merger with the National Basketball League (NBL).

A shot clock, giving players 24 seconds to attempt scoring a field goal before ceding possession to the other team, is introduced.

Boston Celtics win a record eighth consecutive NBA Championship.

Bill Russell sets the record for the most NBA Championships won by an individual player with an 11th success at Boston Celtics.

The NBA logo still used today debuts after being designed by Alan Siegel.

The NBA adopts the American Basketball Association’s (ABA) three-point field goal.

The USA national basketball team picks NBA players for the Olympic Games for the first time. This “Dream Team” including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird wins Gold in Barcelona, Spain.

United States representation returns to the NBA as franchises are awarded to Vancouver and Toronto.

San Antonio Spurs become the first former ABA team to win the NBA Championship.

The NBA sees its image tarnished by the infamous Basketbrawl. This violent incident between players and fans occurred during Indiana Pacers @ Detroit Pistons. The latter were defending champions at the time.

Boston Celtics win a record 17th NBA Championship.

A record crowd of 108,713 basketball fans watch the NBA All-Star Game in the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL stadium in Texas. LA Lakers compete in a record 31st NBA finals, winning the Championship for a 16th time.

Toronto Raptors become the first team in USA to win the NBA Championship.

Our Number #1 NBA Betting Site


The NBA, or National Basketball Association, is the top pro basketball league in North America.

It features 30 teams, with 29 being from the USA and one from USA (Toronto Raptors).

Yes. To feature among our top NBA betting sites here, a sportsbook must take security very seriously and create a safe gambling environment for everyone.

The best NBA betting sites in USA, recommended by our experts, are:

If you are wondering how to bet on the NBA online, follow these steps:

Popular NBA betting types on games include:

The NBA Finals is a best-of-seven game series that is played at the end of the season to determine the overall champion. Played after the NBA Playoffs are decided, you can bet on each game how you would for any regular game.

Therefore, popular NBA Finals bets include:

Absolutely. The vast majority of leading betting websites now have dedicated sportsbook apps you can download for free to your smartphone or tablet.

There are no guarantees in gambling, and NBA betting is no different. You can increase your chances of winning, however, by following our expert NBA betting tips given on this page.

The favourite is picked by the sports betting site for a reason, in that the chances are it will win. These odds are based on stats such as form, injuries and the number of bets made on the market.

How often it wins will depend on how low or short its odds are. For example, if a team’s odds are 2.00 (or evens) to win, the implied probability of the bet winning is 50%.