Disclaimer: Online sports betting is coming to Arizona. This page will be updated with live odds and bonus offers as soon as AZ sportsbooks launch.
After a decade of struggling and missing the NBA playoffs, the Phoenix Suns appear to be on the rise. The team has a promising core in place led by Devin Booker, Deandre Ayton, and Chris Paul. As a result, the Suns have joined the ranks of bona fide contenders in the Western Conference.
The rise in popularity has led to a rise in interest betting on the team too. This guide to NBA betting odds will get you up to speed with the latest numbers, point you to some trends that you can use to your advantage, and go through some tips for wagering.
Live NBA odds at AZ online sportsbooks
When the NBA is in full swing, betting action follows. That translates into lots of movement on the odds board from the initial release of lines right up until tipoff. Shopping around for the best numbers can be time-consuming, but we take the hassle out of that with a live odds feed. Check back once Arizona sports betting launches for all the latest lines on NBA games.
For the NBA season as a whole, you’ll find plenty of futures bets. These are wagers on things that will be settled down the road, such as the winner of the next NBA Finals, conference and division champions, and winners of individual awards like the NBA MVP.
Phoenix Suns odds
As the top local NBA attraction, the Suns will draw plenty of notice at Arizona sportsbooks. The main pregame bets (moneylines, point spreads, and totals) will all be available for wagering whenever the team gets set to hit the floor.
If you want to focus on specific game segments or on how individual players will perform, you can do so with props and live betting. For those who want to take a longer-term view, you can place futures bets on team and player season-long accomplishments.
In short, you won’t be lacking betting options on the Suns. The same applies for the rest of the NBA.
How NBA betting lines work
At online sportsbooks, you’ll find a listing of all upcoming NBA games. The contests are arranged by start time with odds and lines for three main bets. Here’s an example of what you’ll see:
|Golden State Warriors||+110||+2 (-110)||O 211.5 (-110)|
|Phoenix Suns||-130||-2 (-110)||U 211.5 (-110)|
Next to the two team names are the odds and lines for the big three pregame bets: moneylines, point spreads, and totals. When reading the numbers for moneylines and spreads, negative numbers indicate the favored side, and positive numbers are for underdogs. For spreads and totals, you’ll see the number that the sportsbook has set and the odds for the bet.
In our example, the Suns are the moneyline favorite. They’re also favored by two points on the spread in a game with an estimated total of 211.5 points. After these odds come out, betting action will start to come in. If a clear preference emerges among the betting public, then books may adjust the numbers to try to even out the action.
They do this to reduce liability on their end. As an example, if a lot of money comes in on the Suns at -2, then the spread could rise to -2.5. Also, the book could shift the odds on that side to -112 and drop the Warriors side to -108. If that doesn’t have the desired effect, then there may be more adjustments to come right up until game time.
When you add your selection to your betting slip, the book will display the potential return based on your wager amount. There’s also a simple way to estimate what the payout will be. For negative numbers, that’s how much you have to bet to get back $100 on a successful bet, i.e., $130 at -130. When the odds are positive, that’s what you’d get back for a winning $100 wager, i.e., $110 at +110.
NBA spread bets
Spread bets are one of the most popular options for NBA wagering. Oddsmakers set a spread for each game. Bettors then can wager on the favorite minus the spread or the underdog plus that same number.
In order to win, the side you choose has to cover the spread. It can be helpful to think of the spread as an estimated margin of victory. The favorite has to win by a certain number of points, while the underdog has to keep it closer than that or win the game outright. The size of the spread also indicates the sportsbook’s overall perception of the matchup.
A spread can be small, such as 1.5 points, or rise into double digits. The tighter the spread, the closer a matchup the oddsmakers are expecting, while a bigger number indicates a potential mismatch. As an example, consider this spread:
- Portland Trail Blazers +6.5 (-110)
- Los Angeles Clippers -6.5 (-110)
The Clippers are 6.5-point favorites, so they have to win by seven points or more to cover the spread. A 110-102 victory gets it done, but a tight 105-103 win does not. For the Blazers, it’s the opposite. They cover with a loss of six points or fewer but fail to do so if they lose by seven points or more. They also can cover with an upset win.
At most sportsbooks, odds of -110 mark the starting point for spread bets. Oddsmakers may adjust the numbers in response to betting action. In terms of potential returns, odds of -110 mean that bettors have to wager $110 to see $100 come back on winners. A straight wager of $100 at odds of -110 returns $90.90 for winning bets.
NBA moneyline bets
The moneyline wager is easy to understand, and it makes for a good starting point for those new to NBA betting as a result. The goal is simple: Pick which side will win the game. There are no spreads or margins of victory to worry about, just straight-up winners and losers.
The odds for moneyline bets indicate the perceived closeness of the matchup. For a potentially tight game, the numbers will be close, and there are even cases in which the odds are equal, making the contest a pick’em. A larger range between the two numbers points to a potential mismatch. For this example, the odds are in the middle.
- Boston Celtics +135
- Brooklyn Nets -155
The Nets are favored over the Celtics. Once you make your decision on which side you think will win, you simply have to click on the odds for your selection. The wager will automatically appear on your betting slip, where you’ll have to add in a wager amount, verify that everything is correct, and click submit to place your bet.
The book will display the potential return based on your bet size, but you can also ballpark it based on the odds as described above.
NBA over/under bets
The last of the main pregame bets is known as over/unders or totals. For each NBA game, oddsmakers will post an estimated number of total points. You’ll see odds listed next to the two possible choices: over or under that amount. An example total may look like this.
- Over 5 (-108)
- Under 5 (-112)
Totals for NBA games can range from around 190 points on the low end up to 220 points or more on the high end. Just like the spread, the baseline odds for totals at many sportsbooks begin at -110.
The numbers will adjust from there in response to betting action. For our example, the under odds are at -112, which indicates more action has come in on that side as opposed to on the over, which stands at -108. To win an over/under bet, you simply have to make the right call on where the total number of points will fall.
At 207.5 points, a final of 108-100 is great news for over bettors, but a score of 102-99 means they’ve missed the mark. Under bettors are hoping for 207 points or fewer, so a score of 106-100 works fine, but 112-109 does not. Totals betting is a very popular attraction at sportsbooks for the high-scoring NBA.
Why NBA betting lines move
After the initial release of NBA betting odds, the numbers don’t stand still. Bets will start coming in right after the lines come out, and the action will keep coming in right up until tipoff. It’s not uncommon to see movement in the numbers as sportsbooks react to how the bets are coming in.
Additionally, news may break after the initial release that could impact the game. Examples include a key player being ruled out of the contest or uncertainty over the playing time of a team leader. Spreads and totals can adjust along the way, and the same holds true on the odds for all types of bets.
For sportsbooks, the perfect scenario calls for near equal action on both sides of the ledger. It’s impossible to guarantee that, but line adjustments are done with an eye toward making it happen. If a book winds up with lopsided action, that’s a liability that could lead to big payouts if the betting action is correct.
Sportsbooks would rather not have that happen, so they’ll try to level things out by making the side that’s generating a lot of betting less appealing while boosting the other choice. A simple example is tweaking the spread odds from an even split of -110 on both sides to -107/-113 or something similar, or even adjusting the spread itself by a half-point or more.
For bettors, remember that you can always shop around to find the odds you like best. You can compare the prices at multiple books and place your bets where you find the best numbers for your purposes. It’s a good habit to get into as those little ticks of difference can add up to a lot over the long run.
Sportsbook house rules for NBA
Legal sportsbooks will have rules in place for betting on the NBA. You can find them directly on the website or app. Many books have a dedicated section for the rules, while others include them elsewhere such as in the help or FAQ sections.
Many rules are standard across the industry and cover what you need to know about the settlement and placement of bets. Other rules are a little more complex and cover circumstances that can impact wagers. For the NBA, here are a few key points to know:
- A slight delay or change in venue will not have an impact on your bets, but a complete cancelation or postponement will lead to the sportsbook voiding wagers.
- If a player sits out in advance of tipoff, sportsbooks will take any prop markets involving that player off the board and refund any bets.
- Sportsbooks consider all placed bets to be action at tipoff and will settle them based on official data and statistics. Games that halt before completion will lead to voided bets.
While that covers many of the top items, be sure to take the time to review the house rules where you play. There may be some quirks in how certain sportsbooks handle things, as well as specific rules on unusual situations that could arise and impact your wagers.