NBA Underdog Betting System

By Andrew D

June 16, 2022

So – if you’re reading this then it’s safe to assume you’ve progressed beyond the very basics of sports betting and are looking to incorporate some NBA betting systems that will increase your chances of beating the dreaded bookies.

If you haven’t progressed that far then take a look at some of our previous articles, particularly ‘How to manage your bankroll in sports betting‘ and ‘How to build an NBA betting model‘.

Once you’ve gotten a grip of those then have a go at ‘NBA betting strategy‘ and then come back here ok?



It may, or may not come as a surprise to you to discover that the dominant teams that win the most games throughout a regular NBA season are not the ones that bring the most returns when betting.

It stands to reason if you think about it

Of the teams playing, the winners are likely to have been highlighted as the favorites by the bookmakers. Subsequently, the amount of money you need to stake to get a decent amount back is counter-productively high.

The tactic that this article concerns itself with (as the title suggests) is that of the underdog bet.

You really don’t need to be an NBA expert to implement the strategy we’re about to discuss. But it helps if you have a decent understanding of the concepts and terminology.

So, let’s say you place a Moneyline bet on the NBA team winning that the bookies have designated as the underdog.

They will be represented by a plus (+) sign by their attributed price. This represents the amount you can expect to win if you bet $100

We recommend Australian sportsbook PlayUp for all your NBA Betting. They have great offers and promotions, keen NBA odds, and a huge array of other sports to have a bet on. Read our full review of PlayUp.

18+ | You know the score | Stay in control | Gamble responsibly

So +225 means you would get back $325 (including your $100 stake)

If you are right about them and they prevail then you win more money than if you had staked the same amount on the favorite and they had won instead.

Your reward is higher because you took more risk.

Statistically, you were more likely to lose than you were to win and that is reflected in the price.

So, how do we incorporate that knowledge into our NBA betting system?


Remember – when betting on the NBA, we don’t need to stick to straight bets where our underdogs need to actually win the game for us to be successful. We can bet the spread (line betting), over/under, or make team and player props bets.

Minds greater than ours (not difficult) assure us that this is a fact:

If the bigger picture is viewed in terms of the prices online sportsbooks give to NBA teams, we find the following to be true.

  • Huge underdogs are generally slightly underrated

  • Huge favorites are generally slightly overrated

Why is this significant? Well, between the price the bookies give us and the actual value of the teams playing lies a sweet spot that can be exploited.

If a team is listed at a price that shows they are expected to get hammered in the scoring, we can assume that the extent of their destruction may not be quite as bad as predicted.

So we lay a few dollars on the actual point spread being less than expected. Or slightly higher if we are betting on the favorites (yes you can still do that!)

If a particular sportsbook is offering a decent price on another element of the underdogs’ performance then we weigh up that price and if there is any value in it. However…

This requires information

There is no shortcut whereby we can just throw down hundreds of bets on all the underdogs and come out on top. Well – that might actually work, especially in the long run, but it is a poor tactic.

Much better to have done our homework and be aware of how often this particular underdog wins. How do their other stats look? Study them and look for patterns and anomalies.

Look at the stats upside down and back to front.

Here at The Jump Hub we review the Latest Odds and Movements on the NBA MVP Race.

Just as you have been doing as part of your overall NBA betting system

  • Do they lag behind in some quarters more than others?

  • Start strong but fade later on?

  • Are their best players still scoring heavily?

  • Did they get humiliated in their previous game?

The questions you can ask are virtually limitless. They depend entirely upon your own personal betting model and the elements you have chosen to highlight.

As you may already know (especially if you have read our article – ‘NBA quarter betting strategy‘) it is rare for one team to win all four quarters of any NBA game.

Even if they are smashing the opposition to pieces, statistically they are likely to be beaten (in whatever category you choose – points, rebounds etc…) in at least one of them.

So pick which one and bet the underdog in that.

You get the picture…

Regardless of whether you’re betting on the favorite or the underdog, in betting all we are looking to do is find value. We aren’t saying that one is better than the other here. If the value lies with the favorite, then back them.

However, you will make more money with an underdog betting system in a shorter period simply because the odds are higher. If you can find the value from the underdog bet, then you’re going to take this every time.

The overall tactic here is to look for situations where the underdog has at least a chance of winning

It’s no good backing the bottom team to win the Eastern Conference if there is virtually zero chance of them doing so.
This strategy takes more knowledge and panache. But you can gain experience and practice over time. Just remember to protect your bankroll and don’t lose faith when your bets lose. This is a marathon, not a sprint.


The sheer volume of games that each team is guaranteed to play (82 regular season plus a maximum of 28 in the NBA Playoffs) gives us plenty of chances to do 2 things:

  • Study the form

  • Make speculative bets

When you bet on the underdog, you’re taking a bigger risk but will also potentially claim the largest possible payout (nonsensical parlays aside).

The odds are obviously higher than they are for the favorite so you maximize the amount of money you can potentially win.

Even one underdog win can cover multiple losses. It’s going to need to.

Shopping around is more effective. Because the odds are much longer, there are frequently large differences between online sites. Your job is to scour the options and find the best price for the underdog bet you have decided to make.


There is less chance of the underdogs winning.

That’s why they’re the underdogs

This strategy requires steely nerves as you are likely to lose more bets than you win.

But that’s how it has to be.

The Jump Hub is not only about the NBA. Click here to read our review of The Best NCAA Basketball Teams in States A - G.


As we have said time and again in our articles here at The Jump Hub, sports betting is best when it is done for entertainment purposes only.

The ‘sharp’ bettors who make a living in this game are a rare breed and are few and far between.

Can it be done? Sure

Will you be one of the ones to do it? Probably not

If you treat your betting as an engaging hobby that brings you excitement and gets your brain working then that’s great. There’s no harm in that. But there are rules.

Never bet more than you can afford to lose

No gambling site is going to turn away your custom so the discipline must come from within. We’ve all gotten carried away and dropped bigger sums than we should on nonsensical madness.


Until it isn’t

This brings up arguably the most important rule:


When the fun stops, stop

Too many lives have already been ruined and sacrificed at the altar of “just one more bet”. Don’t let yours become the next.

There is no doubt that underdog betting has its place. Should you focus on it to the exclusion of all else?

Of course not

The trick to all of this is to find balance in the force. A little pinch of this. A dash of that. You are trying to encompass the entire NBA world under your umbrella and that is not easy.

But that’s part of what makes it so enthralling. It’s a fearsome challenge.

Godspeed brave warrior

Enjoy this article?

Join our newsletter for more NBA news and betting tips!
The Jump Hub

NBA news, opinions, analysis, tips and stats