NBA Betting Guide for 2020

If you fancy joining a host of other Canadians in NBA betting online, then you’ve come to the right place. Pro basketball doesn’t get any bigger or better.

This is our detailed NBA betting guide to this sport that is so popular throughout North America.

On this page you’ll find:

  • Our list of top NBA betting sites for Canadian bettors
  • Expert NBA betting tips and how basketball gambling works
  • Answers to common questions when betting on the NBA online
Sal Vetri

Sal Vetri
Sports Betting Expert

TOP ONLINE NBA SPORTS BETTING SITES IN 2020
Maple Leaf Icon CANADA'S FAVOURITE
1
CANADA'S FAVOURITE
Betway Sports
2006
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Payout 100%
Paytime 24 hrs
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2
888Sport
2008
Bonus C$200
Payout 100%
Paytime 24 hrs
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3
Unibet
1997
Bonus C$200
Payout 100%
Paytime 48 hrs
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Sports Interaction
1997
Bonus C$90
Payout 97.22%
Paytime 24 hrs
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Payout 97.22%
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10Bet
2003
Bonus C$100
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Sal Vetri's Expert NBA Betting Tips

Our sports betting expert Sal Vetri has provided the following NBA betting tips, to help you use bonuses effectively and place smart bets:

1. Be aware of the two best times to place an NBA wager

The two most opportunistic times to place a wager on the NBA are the moment the betting lines hit the marketplace and the moments after an injury is announced to a key player for any given team.

  • Once the betting lines open, this is the friendliest time to place a bet. The lines are now ‘soft’, meaning there is not much action (money) being placed yet. During this time, you have the ability to get the side of the bet you like before the market and professional bettors influence that line (line movement/changes).

  • Moments after an injury is the most advantageous time to place an NBA bet. It’s a common trend for teams not to announce injured/resting players until moments before tip (and sometimes after). This puts Vegas and the books at an extreme disadvantage. Following accounts like Fantasy Labs NBA on Twitter is the best way to get an information edge over the books. I’ve found that you will have 2-3 minutes to place a bet before the books change the line due to injury/rest.

2. Incorporate Game Pace into your Over/Under picks, it’s essential
  • Pace refers to the number of possessions per team during a game. When choosing Overs, target games where two teams are in the top-10 in average pace per game. These pace statistics can be found on numerous basketball information sites for free. Now, Vegas ‘attempt’ to incorporate the pace into their lines, but I personally believe there is an edge in targeting fast pace games. In the 2018-2019 season, the NBA saw its fastest paced season by a wide margin. The league average pace rose by over 4 possessions per game. Vegas was inefficient in being able to quantify and keep up with just how fast the teams were playing. I believe teams will continue to play faster, and we can continue to take advantage of the lack of data Vegas is working with when they set their Over/Unders.

  • You can project game pace using the following equation:
    (Team A Pace – League Avg. Pace) + (Team B – League Avg. Pace) + League Avg. Pace

3. As with any investment, be sure you’re getting the best deal

Shopping your lines is essential in NBA Betting. Now, shopping your lines has a few components.

  • First, you can shop the vig of the line. The vig is what you see next to each line.
    For example, (-110) is the vig. You want to make sure that (-110) is the best number you can find. In a vacuum it might seem great, but after some research you may be able to find a (-105) line. This means you only have to bet $105 to win $100, compared to $110 to win $100 with the original line you found. Less risk!
    These numbers add up over the long haul of a bettor’s career and can be the difference between profitable years and years of losses.

  • The second way to shop in Vegas is by shopping the actual line itself. If you think a favourited team is going to win, then you’ll want to find the sportsbook offering the lowest spread for that favourite.
    Maybe the first line you see has the Lakers as a -5 favorite. If you are a Lakers backer on this night, it would be smart of you to look and see if any other books are offering a Lakers -4.5 or Lakers -4 line.
    Shopping lines is so crucial in NBA betting, as the lines you want are rather easy to find if you put the effort in.

4. Take Advantage of Player Props
  • Vegas is most inefficient at projecting player props, and they just so happen to be the softest lines (least money on them), due to professionals having strict betting limits on these types of bets. The stricter limits for professionals on these types of bets should be a clear indicator that Vegas is not confident they can consistently beat sharp/smart bettors on player props.

  • Start by identifying some point guards in high pace games. These guards are usually in an elite tempo environment, where points, assists and rebounds are likely to occur faster than Vegas can accurately project them to.

An Introduction to the NBA

There are some of you out there who are new to basketball and the NBA in Canada. It’s the top league in the world for shooting some hoops. Let’s find out the basics:

  • There are 30 pro basketball teams in the NBA. Matches feature two at a time, and the team with the most points after four quarters wins.

  • The NBA is split into two conferences of 15 based on rough geographical areas – the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.

  • They in turn are split into three divisions of five each. The Atlantic, Central and Southeast in the Eastern Conference, and the Northwest, Pacific and Southwest in the Western Conference.

  • Toronto Raptors are the only current Canadian team in the NBA.

  • During the regular NBA season which runs from October to April, teams play 82 games – an equal number (41) at home and away.

  • Each NBA team plays the others in its division four times, six of the remaining 10 from the same conference four times and the other four three times.

  • NBA teams play those from the other conference twice – once at home and again away.

  • The NBA playoffs, featuring the top eight teams in each conference, begin in April and end in June.

  • Their format has changed over the years as the NBA expanded. Now the playoffs are a best of seven series elimination tournament with seedings.

  • Whichever team comes through the playoffs and win the NBA Finals are crowned champions.

How NBA Odds Work

Even newbies to gambling can grasp how NBA odds work. It’s simple and, to help you, we’ve got this example:

Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors
2.0
Cleveland Cavaliers
Cleveland Cavaliers
3.25

Here, the only NBA Canada based team, Toronto, are betting favourites. For every $4 staked on the Raptors, you win $4 and get your stake back. That’s a total return of $8.

Cleveland, meanwhile, are the betting underdogs. A $4 bet on Cavs generates $9 of profit and $13 total returns.

We’ve used decimal prices to illustrate NBA betting odds here. The American moneyline style is also very popular with basketball, so look out for those.

Top NBA betting sites will allow Canadian bettors like you to toggle between different prices. Our odds calculator shows you how they compare.

NBA Betting Options

Match Bets
  • The moneyline

    The moneyline

    Which NBA team will win the game of basketball in question? For instance, Cleveland Cavaliers to beat Toronto Raptors at +325. Note the odds will usually be expressed in the American format.

    Eg:
    Cleveland
    Cavaliers
    +325
    Cleveland Cavaliers
    Toronto
    Raptors
    -200
    Toronto Raptors
  • Spread betting

    Spread betting

    Sportsbook traders use data and form to set margins they believe are likely on outcomes such as total points in a quarter or match. For example, total points 37.5 in the second quarter in Utah Jazz @ Golden State Warriors at 4.50.

    Eg:
    Utah
    Jazz
    +37.5
    4.50
    Utah Jazz
    Golden State
    Warriors
    -37.5
    4.50
    Golden State Warriors
  • Handicaps

    Handicaps

    Along similar lines to the spread are handicaps. These are imagined deficits in points for the betting favourites to overcome, or an advantage for the underdogs to hold onto. For instance, Memphis Grizzlies @ Houston Rockets with a -10.5 points handicap at 2.75.

    Eg:
    Memphis
    Grizzlies
    -10.5
    2.75
    Memphis Grizzlies
    Houston
    Rockets
    -10.5
    2.75
    Houston Rockets
  • Over/Under

    Over/Under

    Again, similar to spreads are Over/Under markets. These can be on total points scored by both teams or just one team, or even within quarters of the match. For example, Over 110.5 total points in San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks at 1.75.

    Eg:
    Over
    110.5
    1.75
    Under
    110.5
    1.75
  • Quarter betting

    Quarter betting

    Betting around the quarters that a basketball game is divided up into is popular. For instance, LA Clippers to win the third quarter against LA Lakers at 2.38.

    Eg:
    LA
    Clippers
    2.38
    LA Clippers
    LA
    Lakers
    2.38
    LA Lakers
Future Bets
  • Conference or Division Winner

    Conference or Division Winner

    Which NBA team will win their conference or division? For example, Toronto Raptors win the Eastern Conference at 11.00, or the Atlantic Division at 7.50.

    Eg:
    To win the Eastern Conference:
    Toronto Raptors
    11.0
    To win the Atlantic Division:
    Toronto Raptors
    7.50
  • Props Bets

    Props Bets

    Short for proposition betting, these often surround individual basketball players. Who will the NBA’s MVP (most valuable player) or Rookie of the Year? For instance, Steph Curry is named NBA MVP at 6.50.

    Eg:
    Steph Curry
    is named NBA MVP
    6.5
    Steph Curry
  • NBA Championship Winner

    NBA Championship Winner

    Which team will go all the way through the regular season and playoffs and be crowned NBA champions? For example, Toronto Raptors win the NBA Championship at 29.0.

    Eg:
    To win the Championship:
    Toronto Raptors
    29.0
    Toronto Raptors

Odds Calculator

What is NBA Live Betting?

  • NBA betting continues even when matches are in-play
  • Top NBA betting sites will offer you live markets to gamble on
  • Odds shift constantly based on what happens on the basketball court
  • You can bet on teams to win a quarter or the final result with live betting compatible with mobile devices
  • It’s possible to get even better prices than taking regular fixed odds beforehand
NBA Live Betting

NBA Timeline

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is founded in New York City as the Basketball Association of America (BAA). Canadian team Toronto Huskies lose 68-66 to the New York Knicks in the first-ever NBA game.

1946

Philadelphia Warriors win the inaugural NBA finals.

1947

The name is changed to NBA after a merger with the National Basketball League (NBL).

1949

A shot clock, giving players 24 seconds to attempt scoring a field goal before ceding possession to the other team, is introduced.

1954

Boston Celtics win a record eighth consecutive NBA Championship.

1966

Bill Russell sets the record for the most NBA Championships won by an individual player with an 11th success at Boston Celtics.

1969

The NBA logo still used today debuts after being designed by Alan Siegel.

1971

The NBA adopts the American Basketball Association’s (ABA) three-point field goal.

1979

The USA national basketball team picks NBA players for the Olympic Games for the first time. This “Dream Team” including Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird wins Gold in Barcelona, Spain.

1992

Canadian representation returns to the NBA as franchises are awarded to Vancouver and Toronto.

1995

San Antonio Spurs become the first former ABA team to win the NBA Championship.

1999

The NBA sees its image tarnished by the infamous Basketbrawl. This violent incident between players and fans occurred during Indiana Pacers @ Detroit Pistons. The latter were defending champions at the time.

2004

Boston Celtics win a record 17th NBA Championship.

2008

A record crowd of 108,713 basketball fans watch the NBA All-Star Game in the Dallas Cowboys’ NFL stadium in Texas. LA Lakers compete in a record 31st NBA finals, winning the Championship for a 16th time.

2010

Toronto Raptors become the first team in Canada to win the NBA Championship.

2019

Recent NBA Champions

  • 2019
    Toronto Raptors
    Toronto
    Raptors
  • 2018
    Golden State Warriors
    Golden State
    Warriors
  • 2017
    Golden State Warriors
    Golden State
    Warriors
  • 2016
    Cleveland Cavaliers
    Cleveland
    Cavaliers
  • 2015
    Golden State Warriors
    Golden State
    Warriors
  • 2014
    San Antonio Spurs
    San Antonio
    Spurs
  • 2013
    Miami Heat
    Miami
    Heat
  • 2012
    Miami Heat
    Miami
    Heat
  • 2011
    Dallas Mavericks
    Dallas

    Mavericks
  • 2010
    LA Lakers
    LA Lakers

NBA Betting FAQs

What is the NBA?

The NBA, or National Basketball Association, is the top pro basketball league in North America and features a team from Canada.

How does NBA betting work?

If you want to place an NBA bet online, then find the related section on one of our recommended sportsbooks. Click on the match or market of interest, then add the odds to your betslip. Now enter your stake to view potential returns before placing the wager.

What are some of the most popular NBA bets?

Popular NBA betting types on matches include moneyline, spread betting, handicaps, Over/Under markets and quarter betting. Don’t forget there are futures markets too!

What are the top NBA betting sites?

We only recommend the best NBA betting sites to you on this page. The sportsbooks selected by our experts put pro basketball betting first.

Can I bet on the NBA on mobile?

Absolutely. The vast majority of leading betting websites now have dedicated sportsbook apps you can download for free to your smartphone or tablet.

What is NBA live betting?

Live betting is where you place bets on NBA games as they are actually happening on the basketball court. Prices are always updating as the action unfolds.

Will I make a profit from NBA bets?

There are no guarantees in betting, and gambling on the basketball is no different. You can increase your chances of winning, however, by following the expert NBA betting tips given on this page.

What is an NBA moneyline?

Moneyline markets are betting odds without a draw or tie included on which team will win an NBA game. You will often find these expressed in the American price format.

What is the maximum I can win?

This all depends on how much you stake. The more money you wager on NBA betting, the greater the potential returns. Be aware that some sportsbooks will have max payout limits.

Will I be safe at online sportsbook sites?

To feature among the top NBA betting sites here, a sportsbook must take security very seriously and create a safe gambling environment for everyone.

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