How Much Money is Bet on the NBA Finals?

By Andrew D

August 07, 2022

In this article, we’ll take a closer look at how big a slice of all the money wagered goes on NBA Finals betting. We’ll also delve a little into how the NBA itself is financed. Stick with us and discover more than you ever thought you wanted to know. Probably…

An average of 12.4 million viewers tuned in per game to watch the 2022 NBA Finals and see the Golden State Warriors see off the Boston Celtics.

Almost 14 million saw them take the NBA title in the final game.

Interest in the sport is riding high and not just in terms of viewers.

Revenue from sports bettors is also on the rise

It seems that more than a few of us NBA fans enjoy having a bit of skin in the game when watching the likes of LeBron James and Stephen Curry strut their stuff. Making that easier to achieve has seen a big surge in interest.

Retail sportsbooks in casinos in Vegas require actual attendance in person to place bets. Easy virtual betting via the plethora of online sportsbooks that are becoming available to many Americans accounts for a much larger amount.

It is not quite as easy as it might seem to determine how much money is bet on the NBA finals. Exact amounts are almost impossible to come by. However, it seems that Americans are now wagering around $60 billion on sports betting per year.

In the past, much of that total figure went unaccounted for. Due to offshore wagering operating outside of American jurisdiction.

The American Gaming Association estimates that over $50 billion was wagered on sports (other than football) by U.S. gamblers with non-U.S. gaming companies each year before the gambling landscape changed forever…

The United States Supreme Court overturned the federal sports betting ban on May 14, 2018. Since then, the introduction of legalized gambling in so many states is bound to have thrown the usual statistics on their heads.

Making it easier to wager a few dollars on NBA games or any other sporting event of your choice is bound to result in more wagering.


What it is also bound to do, is to draw a lot of revenue away from those pesky offshore sportsbooks. As much as we have to admit that they served a purpose over the years, they suck.

Offshore sportsbooks aren’t required to release figures on how much money is being wagered by their customers. Or how much of it they are keeping from those bets.

You have literally zero recourse of action if they decide to disappear, taking your money with them. There is no gaming enforcement that can touch them and there are countless stories of Americans getting burned.


But that means that the numbers are again artificially swelled. Offshore betting is unregulated, meaning that the amounts involved go unreported. We can assume that government agencies have a general idea of how much money was being spent. But no way of proving it.

So a lot of those folks who didn’t enjoy the extra risks involved in dealing with offshore sites will have signed up for legitimate US-based ones instead.

Tempted by offers of free bets and matched deposits, they have switched to onshore bookmakers in their droves.

The National Basketball Association has been seen as one of the first major sports leagues to take the driving seat when it comes to advocating in favor of sports betting.

NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, has been progressive and open-minded in his views of legalized sports wagering.


Hundreds of millions of dollars in bets are placed at US sportsbooks over the 8 weeks of the NBA postseason. An estimated $5 million in bets is wagered on each game in the NBA Finals at Las Vegas sportsbooks alone. That’s a drop in the ocean compared to the bigger picture.

The amount wagered on regular season NBA championship games varies wildly depending on the popularity of the teams involved. Unless a game has added weight due to it being a local derby or one that determines who makes the NBA Playoffs for example. Then the amounts wagered can be expected to increase dramatically.

The NBA Finals are the culmination of the regular NBA season and it shows in betting trends. Oddsmakers expect to see NBA fans betting on the maximum-seven-game series see more money bet than any other NBA basketball event. In fact, after the NFL Super Bowl, which is the true colossus of sports betting, and March Madness, the NBA Finals see the most money wagered at online sportsbooks. Two out of the top three events in the USA are basketball tournaments!



The futures market is, as the name might suggest, the first market to appear. It has even been known for odds on which team wins the following season’s Eastern and Western Conference Finals as early as the end of August. That means it is possible to place wagers almost a full year before the games will actually be played!

  • NBA team futures

  • NBA Player futures

So far in advance, the team futures market will simply consist of the 30 teams and their respective odds.

As things progress and the season starts to shape up you can expect those numbers to change drastically. If you’ve got a red-hot hunch that you have carefully honed and crafted after reading our article – How to build an NBA betting model – then get that sucker down early…


A list of players will be provided that odds boffins and their dastardly algorithms believe stand a chance of becoming NBA finals MVP. This list will start off as a long and thorough one. As more information becomes available and players are eliminated from the running it is narrowed down significantly.

The futures market for the regular season and NBA Playoffs is pretty vast and highly varied in terms of bet type. It is possible to wager on Steph Curry, Trae Young, or Devin Booker being the player with the most rebounds, assists, player fouls etc…

Or you can just get odds for predicting which team wins. Final score predictions. First team to reach four games unbeaten. The options are only really limited by the betting markets offered or your imagination if you want to contact your sportsbook and request great odds on something unusual.


When most people’s minds turn to NBA Finals odds, it tends to be rather closer to the start of the action.


But not everyone is organized enough to get their first bet of the season down a year in advance!

Most of the money that the bookmakers rake in will be wagers on game lines or series lines. The vast majority of them will be on the day of the first game and we can narrow it down even further.

Once the TV show starts and the commentators start spouting, people get excited. Maybe they take in what the experts say and decide to back their man. Or they just get bored during the commercials and start playing with their phones.

Groups that have gathered to eat their body weight in salty snacks and wash them down with chilled beverages decide it’s time to throw their money away on nonsensical parlays.
Whatever the reason, a huge number of bets start to land once the pre-game shenanigans has begun.

There are three primary game line markets for the NBA finals:

  • Moneyline

  • Points spread

  • Total points

These also happen to be the most common for any NBA game. They are easy to understand and place without requiring a master’s degree in mathematical statistics.

These markets will be bolstered with additional ones – especially once the participating teams are confirmed.

You can bet on variations such as:

  • Number of games required for victory

  • Scores at the end of – first quarter/half/third/buzzer

  • Final score odd or even

  • Margin of victory

  • First team to 20/30/40 points etc…

These markets and myriad others start to appear as time progresses and are a fun way to keep things interesting while the games are being played. It’s all well and good to have money riding on the eventual winner of a game. Or that it will take six games for Miami Heat to overcome the Brooklyn Nets. But those don’t offer ongoing excitement. The points races are a great way to ramp up the fun and, if you plan ahead and grab yourself a whole load of player props and unusual side bets to keep things interesting then game night is even more entertaining.


It seems that Americans are spending more and more money on sports betting every year.

It’s hard to draw any conclusions about the wider cultural/fiscal implications of this yet as the numbers are surely being skewed.

Taxes are paid. Records are kept. Standards are written in stone and maintained (we hope) Overall, we think it has to be a good thing.

Will it lead to more individuals with a gambling problem? Possibly

But if it is being regulated and run more transparently then it’s hard to argue that the situation is not a better one for most sports betting enthusiasts.

Arguments have raged since time immemorial. Should those who can control themselves and their addiction to various voices be punished because there are those who cannot?

This is not the place to try and answer that question. But we feel that, on reflection, the advantages of taking charlatans out of the equation has to be worth the potential extra damage that some individuals might do to themselves.

If you feel that you might have a gambling problem, then – you are not alone. Ask friends and family for advice. Have they noticed a change in your behavior? Do they think you might have a gambling problem?

If you feel that you have nobody to turn to in this way then – the National Helpline is a great place to seek non-judgmental help.

Always follow the golden rules:

  • Never bet more than you can afford to lose

  • When the fun stops, stop

Take care of yourself and your mental health.


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