If football is the undisputed king of sports betting, basketball is next in line to the throne. The NBA has always been popular with casual fans. But the success of daily fantasy sports (DFS) and the sweeping legalization of sports betting in America has taken NBA betting to another level in recent years. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was the first pro commissioner to come out in favor of legalized betting, back in 2014. To its credit, the NBA has embraced betting as a way to connect with fans, increase engagement and grow the sport.
Like football, basketball is a predominantly spread and Over/Under (or total) sport. This means bettors are tasked mostly with picking not just who wins each game but by how much and how many total points will be scored by both teams.
Bettors must also pay the juice (the tax, commission or “vig,” short for “vigorish,” which you must pay the sportsbook in order for the book to accept your bet) on all spread and Over/Under bets. The juice is typically 10 cents, known as “-110.” Assuming standard juice of -110, this means bettors must win 52.38% of their NBA bets in order to break even and overcome the tax. Anything above that means you’re turning a profit. Bettors should strive to win 53% to 55% of their plays. The sharpest bettors win at roughly a 60% clip.