Understanding NBA Point Spreads

The NBA postseason is currently in full swing and there are those fans that have not been to any games yet this year or haven’t bet on the NBA before ever in their lifetime. For the sports fans that know how to bet, that is great. There are those however that want to learn and understand how it all works.

There are different point spreads that are released every single game. What are some of the examples in the sports betting world in how to bet if you are a first-time NBA sports gambler though?

Understanding the Point Spreads in Each Game

The point spreads in each NBA game usually vary depending on the matchup. Let’s say the Milwaukee Bucks and the Boston Celtics square off against each other in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. For Game 1 of that series say, the Boston Celtics are favored by (-3.5) points over the Milwaukee Bucks (+3.5).

One of the keys in the sports betting industry is asking yourself do you think Boston will beat Milwaukee by more than 3.5 points? If you think that is going to happen then take the bet. If you don’t think it is going to happen, then go the other way. One of the most confusing things for first time sports betters is thinking that if they take Milwaukee (+3.5) point spread, that the Bucks will win the game automatically.

That isn’t the case. Boston can still win the basketball game over Milwaukee 105-102, but that just means that the Bucks covered the spread over the Celtics. Researching record spreads for each team matters when placing a bet.

Over/Under Point Totals

The point totals for each NBA game also vary on the match-up. Let’s say the Golden State Warriors were to face the Memphis Grizzlies in the second round of the NBA Playoffs. The over/under for Game 1 say would be 224.5 total points.

One of the key things to watch for in these instances is to see how much each team averaged in the last playoff series. Out of common knowledge, the Golden State Warriors can score in bunches because of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Jordan Poole. Golden State can score over 100 points per game in their sleep because of those three players alone.

The Memphis Grizzlies, for example, can also score at a very high rate because of Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, and Jaren Jackson Jr. The question you have to ask yourself is when betting on the over/under point totals, do you think these two basketball teams will combine for a final score over the 224.5 total points mark?

If you think yes, then bet it. If not, then bet the under. I’ll say a Game 1 final score would be 115-114 Memphis over Golden State. That would be a total of 229 total points. Congratulations if you decided to bet the over in this scenario, and too bad if you didn’t. You’ll get it the next time. 

Money Line

The money line for picking games in the NBA might be the easiest thing to do if you are just learning how to bet on sports. For the people that feel like point spreads are too hard for them to understand, that isn’t an issue at all.

When picking money lines, this is more of picking teams that you feel like that are going to outright win the basketball game. Say the Philadelphia 76ers face the Miami Heat in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The money line for Philadelphia to win Game 1 is +190 and the money line for Miami is -180.

If you think the 76ers are going to win the game outright, then bet their money line, and placing a $100 bet with a + next to it will gain more value in winning than it will with a -. If you think the Heat will win, then bet them instead here with that $100 also. 


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