An NBA point spread evens out the odds between two teams to make a bet on either the favorite or the underdog seem equally attractive. Sportsbooks hope it draws an equal amount of betting on both sides so they can profit off the small vig baked into the odds instead of sweating the actual results.
NBA point spread bets are always booked at currently posted odds. Since these odds are close to even, the risk of betting on the favorite is decreased and the chance of winning a bet on the underdog is increased compared to standard moneyline betting.
If you want to get into NBA point spread betting in California, here’s how to read, understand, and bet on NBA point spreads once legal and regulated sports betting comes to the Golden State.
Tonight’s NBA point spreads
Other than possibly NFL football, point spread betting is more popular for basketball than all other sports. When NBA betting is legalized in California, you will get a live look at the latest spreads for all upcoming games on the NBA schedule below. Toggle the drop-down menu to see the moneyline and totals odds for the exact same NBA games.
Bet on in-game NBA spreads
In-game betting involves betting on NBA games in the middle of the action at odds that are constantly changing with the action on the court.
California sports betting sites post complete game, quarter, and half NBA basketball spreads and adjust these lines based on things like time, score, and momentum throughout the game.
If you see favorable Lakers odds and want to place a live bet, you’ve got to get that bet down fast, before the action and the line changes again. This makes a mobile sportsbook app an absolute necessity when it comes to betting on live or in-game NBA spreads.
Why bet the NBA point spread over other NBA bets?
The main reason to bet NBA point spreads over other bets it’s that the spread serves to even out the betting odds. That means you can reduce the risk of betting on favorites and increase your chances of winning betting on underdogs compared to the moneyline.
In other words, betting point spreads means not having to risk a huge amount of money for a small reward or betting underdogs with a more realistic chance of winning. Just remember, sportsbooks rarely make NBA point spread mistakes you can take advantage of, and although the even odds mean lower risk, spreads also deliver smaller rewards.
What does “against the spread” or “cover the spread” mean?
Betting “against the spread” is mostly just a term used to say you’re making a point spread bet, or placing a bet with the spread factored in. Of course, some use the term “against the spread” to say they’re betting the favorite and laying the points. Those same people might say they’re betting “with the spread” to say they’re betting the underdog and taking the points.
Either way, you’re betting that either the favorite or underdog will “cover the spread.” For favorites, that means winning by more than the point spread. For underdogs, it means winning outright or losing by less than the spread.
What is an NBA point spread bet?
An NBA point spread bet is one of two wagers. You either bet on the favorite and lay the points or bet on the underdog and take the points from a line set by sportsbooks to determine which side wins the bet.
That means deducting the spread from the favorite’s final score, or adding it to the underdog’s, to determine which side is the betting winner.
The Golden State Warriors might be -5.5 NBA point spread favorites over the LA Lakers. That means you have to deduct those points from the Warriors’ final score, or add them to the Lakers’ score, to determine which side wins the spread bets.
If the Warriors win 110-104, they win by six and cover. In other words, spread bets on the Warriors -5.5 are winners. If the Lakers win outright or lose by five points or less, they “cover” and spread bets on the Lakers +5.5 are winners.
How much do NBA point spread bets pay?
You place NBA point spread bets at whatever the currently posted odds are. Then, you get paid at those odds if your bet is a winner. Most of the time, these odds are set at -110 for either side, but these prices can change and may end up uneven if the betting is.
That -110 standard gives the sportsbook a small vig to profit from. It means you have to bet $110 to win $100 plus your bet back and therein lies that vig. As long as the betting is equal on both sides, -110 odds means sportsbooks will take in $110 for every $100 paid out, giving them a small profit.
If the betting is not equal on both sides a sportsbook may adjust the odds or the spread itself to get it there. The goal for any sportsbook is to even out the betting so they can profit off the vig without having to concern themselves with which side of a bet wins.
How are NBA point spreads set?
Sportsbooks set NBA game spreads after taking all kinds of different factors into consideration. It starts with home court, looks deep into recent and historic results and matchups, and continues with a comparison of team offensive and defensive stats.
Sportsbooks also consider injuries and scheduling. Plus, they look closely at the competition before setting any NBA betting spreads. And since these factors come into play when it comes to NBA player props, you can see similarities in how those are set in comparison to spreads.
What does “+” or “-” mean in NBA point spread betting?
The point spread is shown as either a positive or negative number. You’ll find a plus sign (+) in front of the underdog’s spread telling you to add these points to that team’s final score to determine who wins the bet.
You’ll also find a minus sign (-) in front of the favorite’s spread telling you to deduct these points to that team’s final score to determine who wins the bet.
Most spreads end with a half-point so there’s no chance of a push or a tie where all bets are returned.