The 2020/21 NBA season gets underway on 22nd December and that means there will be plenty of opportunities to make money by betting on it. So, with that in mind, what are the most popular NBA betting markets for you to look at?
Before we dive into the markets, we’re not putting any focus on season long bets, which means there will be no talk of betting on Championship winners or league MVPs. It’s not to say it’s not worthwhile but our belief is that better returns can be made by investing more regularly rather than having your stake tied up for months on something that doesn’t offer huge odds anyway.
The most popular NBA betting markets
Okay, let’s start with the most obvious market there is – match betting. For those readers who have dabbled in sports betting before, this might be teaching you to ‘suck eggs’ but it is still one of the most active markets there is and needs to be mentioned.
Match betting is simply betting on the outcome of a game. Your bet simply says ‘I bet team A will win’ or ‘I bet team B will win’. It’s as simple as that.
This betting market builds on the match bet we’ve just mentioned. The overarching concept is the same in that you bet on the team who you think will win the match, but the teams don’t start on level pegging; some bookies will refer to this sort of wager as a handicap bet.
When you come to place your bet you’ll either be backing a team to win by more than X points or for the other team to keep the score within X points. Another way to look at it is that a team is either given a point deficit or a point advantage.
Why bet like this? Well, if you take the example of the LA Lakers, who won the Championship last season, they’d offer very short odds in most of their games in a straight match result bet. If, however, you bet on them to win by more than, say, 15 points then you can get better odds.
Next up is quarter betting. It’s a market that is mainly used by more ‘hardcore’ basketball punters but it’s something you should consider for sure. Predominantly, the wager you’ll make is on what team will win – although point spread bets also exist in this guise too – but rather than predicting the match winner you’ll predict who will win the quarter.
There are multiple reasons why someone might choose to bet on quarters. Firstly, you could take a strong side and back them to win quarter one and then roll your profit on to stake more on them to win quarter two and so on. Equally, you might look at a weaker opponent and back them to win a quarter even though you fancy the other side to win the overall match.
The analysis involved in quarter betting is tougher to complete as data has to be split further – although a simplistic view might suggest that a team with a substantial lead comes off the gas in the third and fourth creating opportunity – but if done correctly the rewards can be significant.
The total points market is one of the quickest growing in popularity terms with the main driving factors that you don’t even have to predict who wins to win your bet. Instead, your bet is focussed on how many points get racked up during the course of a match. What team scores them, how they score them or when they score them is completely irrelevant.
This type of wager won’t require you to predict the exact points in a match. Generally speaking, the bookmaker will set a number of points e.g. 149.5 points and you’ll be betting on whether the total points in a game will be ‘over’ or ‘under’ that level.
You might find that bookies offer a range of ‘benchmarking’ too. This means you could have the option to bet on ‘over’ or ‘under’ 149.5 points, 159.5 points, 169.5 points and so on. The higher the point benchmark becomes the more your ‘over’ odds will increase whilst your ‘under’ odds will shorten.
There you have it, a sample of the most popular NBA betting markets. Don’t forget to do your research, read about who is the best NBA passer of all time and who are the most underrated and overrated players. The more knowledge you get, the more likely you will succeed in your betting.