NBA Betting

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The National Basketball Association (NBA) was formed in 1949 out of the merger of the Basketball Association of America (BAA), which started in 1946, and their rival, the National Basketball League (NBL), founded in 1937. The original league was comprised of seventeen franchises, which were consolidated in the 1950s to eleven and then eight, all of which are still active today. Those are the Celtics, Hawks, Knicks, Lakers, Nationals/76ers, Pistons, Royals/Kings, and Warriors.

Various teams have had their “dynasties” over the years, from the Boston Celtics with stars Bill Russell and Bob Cousy led by coach Red Auerbach in the 1960s to the Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan in the 1990s and most recently the Los Angeles Lakers, both teams led by coach Phil Jackson.

Today, the NBA is made up of 30 teams in total, organized into six divisions with five teams apiece. Each team plays in 12~13 preseason games, followed by 82 regular season games between the months of October and April. The regular season matchups include 52 games against opponents within their own conference and 16 within their own division. Fully half of the games are scheduled at home and half away.

Like most major sports, NBA games can be wagered on “straight up,” simply choosing the outright winner of a matchup at whatever odds are offered. Alternatively, many bettors prefer to wager “against the spread” (ATS), betting on an expected margin of victory or defeat to pay out even money minus the bookmaker’s commission.

Rivalries within the NBA’s divisions are intense. Teams generally play well at home against conference rivals, making underdogs an excellent choice when the spread appears to be favourable. Streaks also play a major role. Teams that are winning can remain hot for weeks on end, and the same is true for teams that go cold. Injuries, fatigue, attitude and coaching are factors that influence outcomes, too.

NBA markets are available for roughly three-quarters of the year. Other types of wagers available include ante-post markets on division, conference, and finals champions, total season games won/lost per team over/under, and game total scores over/under. Additional bets available are First Half and Second Half scoring and winners, Pleasers, Teasers, and Super Teasers with expanded or contracted spreads, and ½ points available for purchase.

Another NBA basketball betting option is the “parlay,” a form of accumulator wagering. Instead of betting on a single winner, a number of winners are chosen in combination with the odds increased exponentially—much higher than if the events were bet on individually. It is also possible to mix spread bets with the over/under selections for several games. In a parlay, increased risk is involved, too. If any single pick fails, the entire bet is lost.

The championship-deciding NBA Payoffs take place in late April through mid-June, featuring top eight teams from each conference. The seeds are determined by team records at the close of the regular season. It is not, however, a single-elimination tournament. In the conference first round, semifinals, and finals, teams now play a best-of-seven-games series. Likewise, for the NBA Championship, the format is best of seven.

Defense can be even more critical to winning than offense during the playoffs. Home court advantage makes a big difference, too. By June, the two conference champions have been decided, and the NBA Finals always draw large volumes of bets as fans get heavily into the action.

During the NBA Championship Series in particular, numerous proposition bets or “props” are also offered, such as which of two players will score more in a given game, will a given player make a triple double, number of three-point shots made by both teams combined, what player will foul out first, how many free throws will be made in a matchup over/under, and so on. The types of bets that can be found through betting exchanges are virtually limitless.

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