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How Does NBA Spread Betting Work

How Does NBA Spread Betting Work?

In straight betting on the NBA, there are three online wagering options available to the player. You can wager on the moneyline, the point spread, or the total with NY legal betting apps, such as BetRivers, BetMGM, sportsbook and DraftKings sport. In the case of the spread, each team is assigned a positive or negative point total.

With spread wagering, teams are either giving or getting points.

An NBA point spread betting line could look like this: Los Angeles Clippers -6.5 over Houston Rockets. Let’s explain what it means and how it works.

What does that 6.5 number mean?

In the case of the Clippers, they’ve been designated as the favorite to win the game. Bet on them and you will be laying the 6.5 points. In other words, you will be requiring the Clippers to win the game by at least seven points in order to cover your bet as a winner. The tradeoff for doing this is that you will be getting better odds to wager on the Clippers in the point spread than you would via a moneyline play.

Should you opt to bet on the underdog Rockets, you will be getting the 6.5 points. In essence, Houston is starting the game with a 6.5-0 lead on the scoreboard in your bet. If the Rockets go on to win the game, great. You’ve won your bet. However, as long as the Rockets lose by six points or less, the spread ensures that your bet is still a winner. 

In this case, you’ll get lower odds to play Houston as an underdog in the spread than you would through the moneyline. This is the price you pay in order to get those points on your side. But by wagering with the spread, it increases the chances of the bet being a winner. 

How Much Are Points Worth In NBA Sports Betting

Also commonly referred to as the line or the spread, points in NBA betting is point spread betting. With a point spread wager, a bettor is either getting or giving points when the bet is laid.

A typical NBA point spread will look something like this:

Portland Trail Blazers +3.5 (-110) at Denver Nuggets -3.5 (-110)

A point spread is a handicap assigned to the outcome of the game. The underdog in the wager is indicated by the positive number. The favorite in the play is assigned the negative number.

In the case of the Trail Blazers, they are the underdog in this NBA game. Place a bet on them and you will be getting points – in this example, 3.5 points. In essence, should you choose to back Portland, when the Trail Blazers take the floor, it’s as if you are starting out the game with a 3.5-0 lead on the scoreboard. 

Should Portland win the game outright, that’s great. Your bet has covered and you are a success. Go collect your winnings. But wait, it’s even better. Portland can lose the game, as long as the Trail Blazers do so by three points or less and the bet remains a winner. Again, congratulations are in order. Go collect your winnings.

However, should you be the favored Nuggets, there’s more work to do and only one outcome that produces a winning wager. To cash a winning point spread bet on Denver, the Nuggets must win by four or more points. Any other final result and the best you’ve played on the favored Nuggets is a loser.

Explaining The Vig

The number in parentheses following the point spread on each team is now as the vig, or the juice. It’s the odds assigned to a wager placed on the assigned outcome. In this case, whether you play the favorite or the underdog, the vig is -110. That means were you to bet $110 on either team and they covered your play, you’d win a $100 profit.