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NBA Basketball Betting History & Stats

NBA Basketball Betting at Betbubbles

In the United States, NFL football is overwhelmingly the most popular betting sports and represents the largest percentage of the ‘handle’ at Nevada sportsbooks. NBA basketball, however, is a very popular betting sport and one that offers a great opportunity for the player to make money. Simply stated, the ‘hold’—or amount won by the sportsbook—is significantly lower in basketball than in football. While both college and pro basketball are favorite targets of professional gamblers and ‘sharp’ players, even the recreational sports bettor can learn to enjoy and profit from it.

Today, there’s no need to live in a NBA town—or even live in the United States—to get strong information on NBA teams. The Internet has leveled the playing field for sports gamblers and information that 20 years ago could only be found in the Salt Lake Tribune or The Oregonian sports pages are a mouse click away. Local sports talk radio broadcasts and TV sports reports from NBA cities are widely available online, and websites like and have a wealth of statistical information valuable to the hoops handicapper.

With the advent of the offshore sports betting industry, you can also place a bet on NBA basketball—and countless other sports—from anywhere in the world. For these reasons, there’s never been a better time to be a sports gambler in general and a NBA basketball handicapper in particular. So let’s get started with the basics of betting NBA basketball!

Like NFL football, NBA basketball games are primarily bet using a pointspread. One team is favored by a certain number of points. Unlike NFL football, which has ‘key’ numbers such as 3 and 7 that occur more frequently than others, there are no ‘key’ numbers in NBA basketball betting. Here’s a NBA basketball pointspread from a recent game:


The convention in Las Vegas sportsbooks is to always list the home team on the bottom, but that format may vary from one sportsbook to another online. If it’s not otherwise specified, the bottom team is usually the home team but individual books may designate the home team differently.

In this game, the Orlando Magic is a -7 ½ point home court favorite over the Utah Jazz. If you bet on Orlando, they need to win the game by 8 or more points for you to win your bet. If you bet on Utah, they need to win the game or lose by 7 points or fewer to cash your ticket.

The large number at the top is the total on the game, also referred to as the ‘over/under’. In this instance, the total is 203 ½ points. A bettor can choose to play the ‘over’ or the ‘under’, which refers to the combined score of both teams. If you play the ‘over’, the combined score in this case must be 204 points or more to win your bet. If you play the ‘under’, the opposite is the case and a total combined score of 203 or less is a winner.

A fact of life in any sport is that teams play better at home than they do on the road, and the pointspread is adjusted to reflect this reality. In pro football, the ‘standard’ home field advantage is 3 ½ points. When you see a NFL line where the home team is favored by -3’, it’s usually a matchup of teams that are of equal ability with one team favored simply because they are playing at home.

NBA basketball is somewhat different as there is no ‘standard’ home court advantage. The home court advantage is a reflection of not only how well the home team performs on their court, but how well the visiting team plays on the road. Typically, a NBA home court advantage will range from 3 to 5 points depending on these factors.