The NBA offers sports fans a fantastic array of betting options over the course of a long and action packed season. Each team plays 82 regular season games and the playoffs rumble on for months, so you are never short of intriguing clashes to bet on. Hoops fans also love to debate who will be named regular season MVP, rookie of the year, coach of the year and so on, and betting on these markets is extremely popular.
Delaware is passionate about basketball and there is a lot of love for the Fightin’ Blue Hens. When it comes to the NBA, the most popular team is the Philadelphia 76ers, and Brett Brown’s men could be on the brink of a golden era. The Project is starting to come to fruition and an exciting young team led by Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons could emerge as one of the most serious challengers to the all-conquering Golden State Warriors next season.
The Washington Wizards are also popular in Delaware, and that franchise is also blessed with a pretty strong roster. If it can supplement the talents of John Wall and Bradley Beal with some established stars it could also have a bright future. But the good people of Delaware are by no means confined to the local teams and betting on both conferences is set to be popular going forwards after the state rolled out legal sports wagering. Here are the main types of bets to be aware as you grab a stake in the action:
A futures bet is a wager on the outcome of a long-term market, such as the NBA champion, the Eastern Conference winner or the regular season MVP. The most popular option is betting on who will win the NBA Championship, and the odds shift about over the course of the season. The Dubs have won three of the last four Finals and they blew away the Cleveland Cavaliers in a 4-0 clean sweep in June 2018. The Hamptons Five of Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala has reigned supreme, and Golden State is the +130 favourite to win it again in 2019.
That means that you win $130 for every $100 you stake. If your bet is a winner, you also get your stake back, so you be returned $230 at the end of the season if you bet $100 on another Golden State victory. As mention odds of +130 are sometimes rendered as 13/10 fractional odds or 2.3 decimal odds, and the concept is the same: you get $13 profit on every $10 you stake. Houston and Philadelphia are next in the futures betting at +350 (7/2 or 4.5) to win the NBA Championship next year. This means you get $350 for every $100 you stake, so a $20 bet would earn you a profit of $70.
The Sixers should be the favorites to win the Eastern Conference in 2019 as they have been on a real upward curve of late, and many Delaware residents are likely to be tempted by a bet on them. You can expect the odds to change during the summer as players are traded – LeBron James’ future will have a massive impact – and they will continue to shift depending on how the standings look as the season progresses. You can also bet on LeBron’s next team and who will be drafted first, and special bets like this are common.
A moneyline bet is a really simple wager on one team to beat another. It is common in sports like soccer, boxing, NASCAR, cricket and rugby, but much less so in basketball, where spread betting dominates. The Warriors were as low as -750 (13/100 or 1.13) to beat the Cavs in Game 4 during the 2018 NBA Finals. That means that you had to stake $750 just to make a $100 profit, and for many fans the risk simply is not worth it. The Cavs were out at +500 (5/1 or 6.0), but they were in disarray and that did not look attractive either, so fans instead will typically turn to the spreads.
This is by far the most popular type of wager when it comes to NBA betting. For each game, the sportsbooks set a handicap line and you have guess which team can cover it. Let’s stick with Game 4 in the 2018 Finals as an example.
Golden State was on a roll and Cleveland was struggling, so the books set the point spread at Golden State -11.5 points. This essentially meant that Cleveland enjoyed an 11.5 point head start in the game. It was then up to the public to decide whether the Dubs could overhaul that handicap by the time the match ended. You could either bet on Golden State -11.5 or Cleveland +11.5, and the odds on each outcome were -109. In the end, Golden State secured a 23-point victory, meaning they covered the spread and made several gamblers rich.
But the big teams often fail to cover the spread, so this gives fans a way of making a strong profit by backing underdogs to exceed expectations. It is worth keeping an eye on each team’s ATS (against the spread) records over the course of the season. The Cavs won the Eastern Conference in 2018 but they had one of the worst ATS records in the league, while the Celtics and Sixers both had great ATS records.
This is a great option if you are unsure about which team will cover the spread, but you have a strong feeling about whether it will be a high-scoring game or a low-scoring game. The sportsbooks will set a line of, say, 208.5 points, and you simply have to guess whether the total points scored in the game will be above or below that figure. Each team’s offensive and defensive capabilities, fatigue, injuries, motivation levels and form are important factors to consider when betting on this market. Sportsbooks will typically offer the same odds on each outcome, typically ranging from -105 to -110. This allows them to make a margin if they balance the betting correctly.
Prop bets relate to outcomes within a game that do not necessarily dictate the result of that match. A common prop bet concerns which player will score the most points in a game, and most basketball props are pretty sensible. But you can find some slightly more outlandish ones: Draymond Green picks up a foul for hitting a player in the groin, Javale McGee air-balls a free throw and so on. It is typically advisable to keep stakes to a minimum on the wacky prop bets and to focus on the serious ones if you want to make a healthy profit.