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'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:
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.
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
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.
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:
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
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 Raptors11.0To win the Atlantic Division:
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 MVP6.5
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:
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
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
NBA Betting FAQs
The NBA, or National Basketball Association, is the top pro basketball league in North America and features a team from Canada.
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.
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!
We only recommend the best NBA betting sites to you on this page. The sportsbooks selected by our experts put pro basketball betting first.
Absolutely. The vast majority of leading betting websites now have dedicated sportsbook apps you can download for free to your smartphone or tablet.
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.
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.
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.
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.
To feature among the top NBA betting sites here, a sportsbook must take security very seriously and create a safe gambling environment for everyone.