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NBA Odds and Expert Predictions

NBA odds work very similarly to betting lines in other sports, most notably football. You have a point spread, a money line and your classic over/under, also called the total play, which together comprise the three main categories of betting in basketball. The point spread betting is probably the most popular, but in standard basketball betting lines, including those from the Oddsfather, you’re likely to see all three represented.

A point spread should be familiar to anyone who has ever gambled on sports and the spread NBA odds are no different. The way a spread works is that a spread, or points handicap, is essentially either added on or subtracted from the final score depending on whether a team is favored or the underdog. For instance, say the Miami Heat are facing the New York Knicks with a spread like below:

New York Knicks +7 -110

Miami Heat -7 -110

In the NBA odds above, Miami is the 7 point favorite and New York is the 7 point underdog. Meanwhile, the -110 number signifies that it will take a bet off 110 to pay off 100, with the bookmaker taking a standard 10% fee. Turning back to the spread, Miami will have to win by a margin of 8 points, in order for a bet on them to pay off. For argument’s sake, if the final score were 88-82 in favor of Miami, then a point spread bet on them would not pay off, since with the spread factored in, the final score ends up being 81-82 for New York. Essentially, the negative number for the favorite team, in this case Miami with a -7, means that 7 points need to be subtracted from the final score, while the positive number for New York means that that amount must be added to New York’s score.

Basketball on courtOne of the reasons why point spreads are more popular than other NBA odds is because they offer a better chance of winning on average. While bookies have an interest in teams beating the spread, as do sports bettors, professional basketball teams do not. They are unconcerned with whether they win by 1 point or 20, as long as they’re the victors at the end of the game. This means that teams and coaches will often alter their playing style if ahead, to defend their lead rather than try to increase it. For those placing against the spread bets in basketball, this tendency can be a tremendous advantage.

Of course, Vegas is more than aware of an NBA team’s desire to play defensively and protect their lead once ahead and they theoretically factor any such trends into the final point spread. Nonetheless, excellent gambling opportunities remain, especially those with the ability and knowledge to exploit them, like your trusty Oddsfather handicappers.