Betting Basics

How To Bet On The NBA Finals

August 22, 2023

In our ‘Better Bettor’ series, Tipico Sportsbook explains betting terminology and concepts in the sports betting world.

The thrilling NBA regular season draws to a close and the playoffs have begun.

Can the Splash Brothers lead the Golden State Warriors to a surprise repeat? Will the Phoenix Suns — who just traded for superstar Kevin Durant — take home their first-ever Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy? Can the Greek Freak Giannis Antetokounmpo win two of the last three? Will the talented Celtics roster collapse under the pressure of expectations yet again?

These gripping narratives are just a taste of what’s in store for bettors over the next several weeks as 16 teams battle it out on the hardwood for the coveted title of “world champion.”

If you’re new to the world of NBA betting and eager to get involved, this comprehensive primer will provide you with essential information on how to bet on the NBA Finals.

Futures Odds To Win The NBA

Do you believe your team is going to go all the way, odds be damned?

Let’s say you think Bron and AD will get hot in the postseason. By locking in a “futures” bet now, you can get better odds compared to waiting until the later stages of the playoffs. With 16 teams still in the race the chances they accomplish this feat are less likely, which means a higher payout if they do run the table.

Entering round 1 of the 2023 playoffs, the Milwaukee Bucks were the odds-on favorite with +240 to +275 odds.

The plus sign (+) indicates the amount you would win if you placed a $100 bet. So, if you bet $100 on the Milwaukee Bucks and they win, you would receive a payout of $240 to $275 depending on the odds your book provided.

Futures wagers are based on a team’s likelihood of winning, with higher numbers indicating lower odds of success. Longer odds result in bigger payouts for bettors willing to take the risk.

Here are the Tipico odds for the entire playoff picture:

  • Boston Celtics +255
  • Milwaukee Bucks +350
  • Phoenix Suns +400
  • Philadelphia 76ers +720
  • Denver Nuggets +850
  • Golden State Warriors +850
  • Los Angeles Lakers +1200
  • New York Knicks +3000
  • Sacramento Kings +4000
  • Memphis Grizzlies +4500
  • Cleveland Cavaliers +10000
  • Miami Heat +10000
  • Minnesota Timberwolves +20000
  • Atlanta Hawks +20000
  • Los Angeles Clippers +20000

So, if you think this is the year Lebron claims his fifth ring, a $100 wager on the Lakers at +2200  you would receive a payout of $2,300, which includes your initial bet amount of $100, plus the $2,200 winnings.

How To Place Finals Wagers

If you prefer to wait until the field has winnowed until only two contenders remain standing — one from the east, the other from the west. If so, there are several additional NBA finals bets you could also wager.

For starters, you could place a futures bet on the outcome of the entire series. Or, if you want even more action, you can place individual wagers on each game. And, depending on your book, there are likely several types of wagers available, including:

NBA Finals Moneyline

Moneyline is the simplest of wagers. Place your stakes on who you think will win. If they do that, you win. Simple as that.

So, let’s say the Bucks wind up facing the Suns with the Bucks being the slight favorite. At that stage, you might have NBA Finals odds line that looks like:

Team-Moneyline Odds

  • Milwaukee Bucks -125
  • Phoenix Suns +115

With these odds, a $125 bet on the Bucks would net $100 with a victory. Conversely, as the underdogs, the Suns have slightly more favorable odds—a bettor would net $115 on a $100 wager if the Suns pulled off the upset in game 1.

NBA Finals Spread Betting

Another popular type of NBA betting is a spread wager. The spread acts as a handicap that evens the odds between the two teams, by giving the underdog a handicap of extra baskets to even the odds. So, using our previous example:

Team – Spread

  • Milwaukee Bucks -3.5 (-110)

At this stage, bookies expect the Bucks to win by a three-point basket. With this spread, the Bucks would need to win by four or more points to cover. A bettor placing a $110 wager on the Bucks would win $100 if they won by four or more. Conversely, a $110 wager on the Suns would win $100 if they win the game or lose by three or fewer points.

NBA Finals Totals (Over/Under)

More commonly known as the over/under, this type of bet allows you to wager on the combined number of points scored by both teams. Instead of picking a winner, your bet is on whether the two teams will score over or under the given line.

Let’s say the over/under line for game 1 of the finals is 215.5, but you think it will end up being a low-scoring, defensive showdown, so you pick the under. If the total points scored is 215 points or less, you win regardless of which teams do the scoring.

Betting The NBA Finals With Tipico

There you have it, whether you want to place a futures wager or wait until two teams remain standing, there are several available ways to bet on the NBA finals. For all things NBA, be sure to check out our NBA betting lines to make your best bet!

But where’s the best book to make a bet? That’s why you’re here.

At Tipico, we make it easy for residents of Colorado, New Jersey, Iowa, and Ohio to place a stake on the NBA finals. To get started, simply select your state, input your sign-up information, deposit your funds, and start winning.

Alex Valdes
Alex Valdes is Web Content Manager at Tipico North America. He has written, edited and performed user and site analysis at MoneyTalksNews, NBC Sports, MSN, Bing, MSNBC, as well as newspapers and magazines.
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