In this article, we’ll go through the range of betting systems and how you can read the odds for NBA (or any sport for that matter) with a few simple formulas!
We’ve all fancied ourselves as red-hot pundits at some point in our NBA basketball-watching careers.
The season begins and we find ourselves poring over the NBA schedule and salivating at some of the tasty morsels it offers up in the near future.
Maybe you’ll even start to get a sense of who will make the NBA Finals and how many points they will score!
WATCH ENOUGH NBA GAMES AND YOU START TO FEEL LIKE A TRUE SAVANT.
You get a hint of the form of the two teams preparing to fight it out and instinctively lean towards one team or the other. That might be because you prefer one team over another geographically, and every game has some subconscious bias.
MAYBE YOU DON’T LIKE THE COLOUR OF THEIR JERSEYS!
It’s hard to take emotions out of the scenario because at the end of the day that’s what makes us love sports so much!
NONE MORE SO THAN NBA BASKETBALL.
Most popular sports leagues are made up of close rivalries and the constant battle against one old enemy or another.
TRIBALISM IS ALIVE AND WELL IN THE NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION.
It’s all part of what makes watching sports in general, and NBA games in particular, exciting and entertaining. One reason you prefer one team over another might be because you have a little bit of ‘skin in the game’ as they say.
THAT’S WHERE THIS ARTICLE COMES IN.
Grab your bet slip and let’s make some sense of it all.
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UNDERSTANDING NBA BETTING ODDS
If you’ve ever been watching an NBA game and felt like you had an inkling as to the number of points that your favorite team was going to win by, but have no clue about sports betting or how to get involved then fear not!
Here are a few simple concepts that might help your understanding of NBA odds and prompt you to do a little sports wagering of your own.
WHAT DO THE ODDS TELL US IN BASKETBALL BETTING?
When we are basketball betting or any other kind of betting for that matter, the odds do two crucial things.
They tell us which team is more likely to win.
They tell us what we stand to win by betting on one outcome or the other.
The odds are there to help us to make an informed decision before placing our bet.
REMEMBER THOUGH, NOBODY ACTUALLY KNOWS WHAT WILL HAPPEN!
This is all just a series of ‘best-guesses’ based on the existing information.
The odds are generated by incredibly complex algorithms that base their findings on myriad factors that no human could hope to compete with.
Yet they are still fallible.
Therein lies the attraction of gambling for some. You pit your wits and instincts for the game against a computer that has analysed millions of pieces of information and come to a logical conclusion.
BUT SPORTS AREN’T LOGICAL!
There are so many subtle nuances and intricacies in the world of sports that a computer could never accurately represent or calculate.
Sure, it can tell you that The Indiana Pacers are eight points up vs the Golden State Warriors at half time.
It can show us that the Boston Celtics are 1 point ahead at half time after reversing the scoring of the first quarter in the second against the Milwaukee Bucks.
It can also point out that, of the 81 NBA games that have taken place between the Chicago Bulls and the Dallas Mavericks, 40 have gone to the Bulls and 41 to the Mavericks.
These are all true stories.
But they do not give us the whole picture.
NOTHING CAN, AND THAT’S THE POINT.
Can it tell us how the Golden State Warriors coach is, right now, giving an impassioned speech to his players that is motivating them beyond compare?
Or that the Milwaukee Bucks pushed it a little harder than usual during training last week and will start flagging in the 4th?
These may not actually be true stories, but they illustrate that there never can or will be any formula that predicts the outcome of a sporting event with 100% accuracy.
There are too many incalculable factors that can affect the outcome of any game.
Humans are simply too unpredictable
That’s why we love to watch them battle it out against each other to see who comes out on top.
ESPECIALLY IN OUR BELOVED NBA GAMES!
Let’s take a look at the mechanics of betting and the differences between different ways we can represent and interpret the odds.
The Jump Hub is not only about the NBA. Here, we review some of The Best NCAA Basketball Teams.
HOW MONEY LINE ODDS WORK IN US BETTING
American odds (also referred to as US odds or money line odds) are, as the name surely implies, popular in the United States.
HOW TO READ ODDS NBA-STYLE
Minus sign (-)
The live odds for a bet placed on the favorites will be represented by a minus sign (-).
This tells us the amount that you will need to bet (the stake) to win back $100.
Plus sign (+)
Conversely, the odds for a bet on the non-favored team, or the ‘underdogs’, are represented by a plus sign (+)
Now the number shows the amount that you will win for every $100 staked.
EITHER WAY, YOU GET YOUR STAKE BACK IF YOU ARE TRIUMPHANT, PLUS THE WINNINGS ON TOP.
If you lose then they keep it and you go back to the drawing board.
MONEY LINE BETTING EXAMPLE:
Here is an example of some typical NBA team odds that we can analyze.
We’ll use this same NBA betting example throughout the article to show how the same NBA odds can be represented differently.
Phoenix Suns (-149) @ Los Angeles Clippers (+150)
Let’s say that an online sportsbook offers us odds of -149 for The Phoenix Suns.
This means that they think there is a better chance that they will win the game.
They are currently sitting in 1st place in the Eastern Conference at the time of writing, so that makes sense right?
Even playing away from home, we’d probably predict them to win if we had to choose, purely based on their superior position in the NBA Championship.
SUNS WIN THE GAME OUTRIGHT
If you decide to bet on The Phoenix Suns (-149) as the favorites then you will need to put up a stake of $149 to win back $100
(plus your original stake, giving you $249 in your hand)
On the other hand, the Los Angeles Clippers are currently 5th place in the Eastern.
The same online sportsbook gives us +125 to bet on them.
We would therefore need to stake $100 to win back $125 (giving us $225 total).
The chances of this happening are lower according to the NBA odds we’ve been given, but we have to stake less in the beginning.
Imagine the Los Angeles Clippers (+150) pull off a surprise victory (it won’t be terribly surprising of course, as they are only 4 places behind) with a winning final score.
We’ll have beaten the odds and made more back than we risked in the first place!
Statistically, across a full NBA season, this won’t happen as often as the favorite simply winning the game as expected.
BETTING ON NBA GAMES REQUIRES MORE THAN JUST DUMB LUCK.
This is where we have to study the form and other contributing factors to gain a greater understanding of the game.
Will inspiration strike and help us to find into who will win outright or what their number of points will be?
HOW FRACTIONS ARE USED IN UK BETTING
Now, for those of you across The Pond in the UK, things look a little bit different.
These are also referred to as traditional odds, British odds, or UK odds
They are prevalent among British and Irish gamblers and are also used in UK-based online sportsbooks.
Fractional odds are usually written with a forward slash (10/1) or a hyphen (10-1).
HOW FRACTIONAL BETTING ODDS WORK
British odds of 10/1 (ten to one) would mean that you win $10 for every $1 stake that you put down.
LITERALLY TEN TO YOUR ONE.
If we showed that using the money line system from earlier then it would look like this:
So -10/1 = +1,000
FRACTIONAL ODDS BETTING EXAMPLE:
Back to our example then.
Phoenix Suns (2/3) @ Los Angeles Clippers (5/4)
So, our bet on the Suns now gives us odds of 2/3. We could say “Two to three”
Remember that the second number is our stake.
So, if we stake $300 we stand to win back $200.
Or, if we half that and stake $150, then we get back $100.
Remember our money line odds?
At -149, they gave us $100 back for $149 stake.
So the total is $249
Effectively the two results are the same, they are just represented differently.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (5/4) TO WIN?
The fractional odds on the Clippers to win are 5/4
FIVE TO YOUR FOUR
Therefore if we place a stake of $400 we will get back $500 (plus our stake)
Let’s divide that to make it easier.
We place a stake of $100 (the 2nd number is your stake) and get back $125
Our money line odds earlier were +125
I think you can see where this is going…
DECIMAL ODDS ARE USED EVERYWHERE ELSE
The rest of the world prefers to use the decimal system to represent their odds when betting.
This is perhaps rather sensible, the decimal system is quite logical after all, so let’s take a closer look.
We regularly review the latest odds for the NBA futures markets, including the coveted NBA Sixth Man Award Betting market.
HOW DECIMAL ODDS WORK
The decimal odds number represents the amount that you stand to win for every $1 that you stake.
OUR 10/1 EXAMPLE FROM EARLIER WOULD BE REPRESENTED LIKE THIS: 11
And this number includes your original stake, so you bet $1 and got back $11.
Let’s look at the real-life NBA betting example again.
THE PHOENIX SUNS
Were -149 (money line) or 2/3 (UK betting)
Now we have $1.67 (decimal)
Remember we had to bet $149 using the money line system, so let’s bet that amount again.
$149 x 1.67 = $249
Again it is the same result – it’s just represented differently.
If we bet on the Clippers to win we get decimal odds of 2.25
We only had to bet $100 using money line so let’s do that again.
$100 x 2.25 = $225
Anything between 1 and 2 is a bet on a favorite and 2 is an even money bet.
AND THERE WE HAVE IT.
Whichever way you want to slice and dice the numbers they come back the same.
IT BASICALLY ALL COMES DOWN TO WHERE YOU WERE RAISED AS TO HOW YOU PREFER TO VIEW YOUR NBA ODDS.
We’re pretty firmly hooked on the decimal style of betting here at The Jump Hub but we’re beginning to open up to the others.
As you can see they all start to make sense with a bit of studying and some decent examples.
NBA WAGERING TOOLS
If you’re still struggling with how to understand and utilize odds when NBA betting, then you’re not alone.
HERE IS A HANDY CONVERSION TABLE WITH A PERCENTAGE FUNCTION THAT MIGHT ALSO COME IN USEFUL.
You simply pop in the actual odds in whichever format you have them and it then shows you how they would be represented in the other versions, and what the percentage is.
SPORTS BETTING BASICS
So those are the very basic concepts behind the 3 most commonly used representations of NBA odds in basketball betting.
NBA BETTING IS ACTUALLY A LOT OF FUN AS SO MANY GAMES EBB AND FLOW FROM ONE END TO THE OTHER.
The standards are so high in the NBA Championship that many games are tight affairs, they can go either way right up to the last minute and the number of points climbs ever higher.
The final score remains uncertain, even with seconds to go.
Probably not the most fun for professional gamblers.
But for those of us spicing up a sport that we already love with a couple of cheeky NBA bets on multiple games to keep things interesting?
THERE’S NOTHING BETTER.
With the prevalence of online sportsbooks these days it has never been easier to make a bet.
Hopefully, after reading this, you can read NBA odds a little more easily before you make that bet.
Now comes the tricky part…
Decide where your gut feeling leads you and then-
FIND THE BEST ODDS OUT THERE!
So now you have some basic idea of how betting operates, but as the old adage says, a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing.
With that in mind, you’re ready to tackle the world of online sportsbooks, just start small and feel your way into it.
NEVER BET MORE THAN YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE.
MOST OF ALL-
Please feel free to get in touch with the team here at The Jump Hub and watch this space for our upcoming more in-depth article that discusses: