The NBA is one of the most popular options for betting at US sportsbooks, with billions of dollars in annual wagers. On the local front, the Phoenix Suns get star billing, but there’s much more to wager on than just the home team. For every contest on the NBA docket, online sportsbooks are at the ready with odds and lines for you to wager on.
If you’re a big fan of the Suns or pro basketball in general but haven’t bet on the sport before, you’ve come to the right place. We’re going to cover everything you need to know about betting on the NBA.
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Best NBA betting sites in Arizona
How betting on the NBA works in AZ
From opening night of the regular season to the last game of the NBA Finals, the schedule is packed with possibilities. You have your choice of what to bet on all season long, with options such as pregame bets, player props, live betting as the action plays out, and futures on the season as a whole.
For the main pregame bets, you’ll see odds for all of the games come out either the night before or day of the contest. Odds for the top futures markets come out in the offseason and remain active from there. In all cases, the odds and lines will move in response to betting action, but you can always shop around at different sportsbooks to find the best numbers.
When the games tip off, it’s time for live betting. These are wagers that let you react in real time to what’s happening on the court. All of the top sportsbooks offer live betting. DraftKings and Caesars are among those that really excel with this style of betting and have dedicated sections for it on their sportsbook apps.
You’ll see a number of wagers as the game plays out, such as updated odds on the outcome, various props, and chances to bet on segments of the game like quarters and halves. DraftKings AZ Sportsbook gets the nod for the best live betting on an app.
NBA bets explained
The main bets for NBA games are the moneyline, point spread, and over/under. Here is what a listing for a game might look like:
|Dallas Mavericks||+155||+3.5 (-110)||O 208.5 (-110)|
|Phoenix Suns||-175||-3.5 (-110)||U 208.5 (-110)|
When reading the lines, negative numbers indicate favorites and underdogs have positive numbers. Here’s how the bets work.
- Moneyline: Pick the side you think will win, Mavericks or Suns.
- Point spread: Take the Suns minus 3.5 points or the Mavericks plus 3.5 points.
- Over/under: Wager whether the final total score will be over or under 208.5.
NBA props and futures
Another pair of popular bets for the NBA are props and futures. Props are available for all games; you can find them by clicking on the individual contest listing. And there’s a dedicated section for NBA futures at most online sportsbooks.
A prop bet is a sort-of side bet based on something that may happen during a game. There’s generally a range to choose from for each contest. They can revolve around things that teams may do, the game as a whole, or the performances of individual players. Here are some examples of props you might see:
- How many total points plus assists for Devin Booker — over/under 29.5?
- Will Deandre Ayton notch a double-double — yes/no?
- Who will make more three-pointers — Stephen Curry or Damian Lillard?
There will also be NBA prop bets with multiple choices to consider, such as who will lead the Suns in scoring. Some props require you to make two picks, such as the player to score the game’s first basket and the side to win the game.
For futures bets, odds for the top markets come out in the offseason, and additional choices will become available as the season approaches. A futures bet is a wager on a long-term outcome, so any money you put in play will remain tied up until the outcome is decided. Here are some popular options:
- NBA Finals
- NBA MVPs
- Conference and division winners
- Teams to make or miss playoffs
- Over/under on a team’s regular-season wins
There will be odds for all possible choices, typically in descending order with the favorites on top. As an example, here’s what the odds might look like for some NBA Finals contenders that are a few ticks behind the overall favorites.
- Utah Jazz +650
- Milwaukee Bucks +750
- Philadelphia 76ers +1,200
- Phoenix Suns +1,600
As betting action comes in, you may see some movement in the numbers as oddsmakers react to the state of the market. If you placed a $100 bet on the Suns at odds of +1,600, and they went on to win it all, you’d get $1,600 in profit back once you cashed in your ticket. The NBA futures market can provide season-long rooting interest in addition to a chance to make a nice return.
Other types of NBA bets
The menu of options for NBA betting is large. You’ll find a variety of choices that let you expand your horizons as your experience with sports betting in Arizona increases. Here are some of the other popular ways to bet on NBA games that you might see at BetMGM AZ, Fanduel AZ, or Caesars Sportsbook in Arizona.
First half: You can wager on which team will hold the lead at halftime or on the total points scored at that point in the game.
- First-half winner:
- Houston Rockets +110
- Los Angeles Clippers -130
Second half: Same as above, but for the second half of the game.
- Total points in the second half:
- Over 5 (-110)
- Under 5 (-110)
Quarters: You can place similar wagers as above, but for individual quarters.
- Team to win the second quarter:
- Los Angeles Lakers +105
- Denver Nuggets -115
Highest-scoring quarter: A wager on which of the four quarters will have the highest number of points scored.
- Highest-scoring quarter in the game:
- First +110
- Second +140
- Third +130
- Fourth +120
Team to score first: Place your bets on which side will score the first basket in the game.
- Which team will score first?
- Boston Celtics +100
- Brooklyn Nets -105
Team to score last: You can also wager on the side you think will score the game’s final basket.
- Which team will score last?
- Orlando Magic +102
- Miami Heat -104
Race to a certain number of points: There will be a benchmark number of points posted. You decide which team will reach it first.
- Which team will score 30 points first?
- San Antonio Spurs +108
- New York Knicks -112
Parlays: This bet includes multiple selections on a single slip. If all of your picks are correct, you win an increased payout, but the difficulty level rises with each selection you add. If you get even one pick wrong, you lose.
- Charlotte Hornets -184 over Detroit Pistons
- New Orleans Pelicans -120 over Golden State Warriors
- Oklahoma City Thunder +162 over Sacramento Kings
- Total parlay odds of +641
Single-game parlays: This bet lets you tie together two or more picks in a single contest, such as a player prop and a point spread bet.
- Phoenix Suns -13.5 (-108) over Cleveland Cavaliers
- Devin Booker to score game’s first basket +450
- Total single-game parlay odds of +799
Teasers: This bet lets you move the point spread in your favor on two or more games, with the odds adjusted accordingly.
- Los Angeles Clippers -9.5 over Toronto Raptors
- Milwaukee Bucks -7.5 over Minnesota Timberwolves
- Using a four-point teaser:
- Clippers -5.5 over Raptors
- Bucks -3.5 over Timberwolves
Pleasers: The pleaser works in the opposite direction as a teaser. You take on more risk, with the odds adjusted to reflect that.
- Atlanta Hawks -2.5 over Indiana Pacers
- Portland Trail Blazers -3.5 over Memphis Grizzlies
- Using a five-point pleaser:
- Hawks -7.5 over Pacers
- Trail Blazers -8.5 over Grizzlies
Alternate spreads and totals: In addition to the standard pregame betting lines, sportsbooks will also offer variations of the numbers with adjusted odds.
- Point spreads ranging from 1.5 points to high double digits for both sides.
- Totals ranging from 190 points to 240-plus.
How to bet on the NBA online in Arizona
Signing up to bet at an online sportsbook is quick and easy. Here’s what you need to do to open an account:
- Head to a sportsbook’s homepage and click to register.
- Follow the prompts and enter the requested information.
- Verify that everything is correct and click submit to create your account.
- If you’ve done it on the computer, download the app for your device from the sportsbook website and log in.
- Look around for a bit to see how it all works, make a deposit and get ready to bet.
You’ll be able to start NBA betting online when and where you like within state lines, and manage your account from anywhere. To verify your location, sportsbooks use geolocation technology. If you’re not within state lines, your bets won’t go through.
NBA betting partnerships in AZ
As new sports betting markets open, sportsbooks are doing all they can to garner attention. Recently, there has been a growing trend of sportsbooks signing promotional deals with local teams to gain additional exposure. It has already happened here in Arizona, as the Phoenix Suns and FanDuel recently announced a partnership.
FanDuel is now the “official sportsbook and daily fantasy sports partner” of the team. As part of the deal, a retail sportsbook will be coming to Footprint Center, formerly known as Phoenix Suns Arena. While there are still details to sort out, early plans call for a 6,300-square-foot book, where fans will be able to watch and wager at FanDuel throughout the year.
Brief history of the Phoenix Suns
The Suns joined the NBA as an expansion franchise in 1968. As you might expect, there were plenty of growing pains in the early going, but the franchise got it together with a stunning run to the NBA Finals in 1975-76 before falling to the Boston Celtics in six games.
The team has made it back to the promised land just once more since that point, losing to the Chicago Bulls in six games in the 1992-93 NBA Finals. For the current team, things are starting to look up, as the franchise has a promising nucleus in place.
- Founded: 1968
- Home games: Footprint Center
- Conference titles: Two, last in 1992-93
- Division titles: Six, last in 2006-07
- Playoff appearances: 29, last in 2009-10
- Retired numbers: Six, last for Kevin Johnson
- Ring of Honor: 15, last for Steve Nash
- Hall of Famers: 13 (11 players and two contributors)