A point spread forces the betting favorite in an NBA game to lay a certain number of points to the underdog. That means the favorite has to win by at least that margin for any bets on them to pay off.
The underdog, on the other hand, can win outright or lose by less than the point spread for bets on them to pay out. In anticipation of legal sports betting in Texas, here’s where to find the best NBA point spreads online.
Today’s live NBA point spreads
How to make an NBA point spread bet
As mentioned above, sportsbooks set the spread to attract an equal amount of betting to each side. By setting that required margin of victory, they make the favorite less appealing and the underdog more appealing until the draw is theoretically equal.
That way, they can also earn a profit from the built-in vig without having to sweat the actual outcome of the game with the spread factored in.
Let’s say the Dallas Mavericks are -7.5 point spread favorites over the San Antonio Spurs, and the Mavs win 115-105. That’s a 10-point win, which easily covers the 7.5-point spread. If you bet on the Mavs, you win.
If the Mavs win 115-110, though, that’s only a five-point win. That doesn’t cover the 7.5 spread, and a bet on the Spurs wins. Spurs bets would also pay if they won the game by any number of points.
What do the plus and minus signs mean in the point spread?
The plus and minus signs next to the point spread tell you who the favorite is and what to do with the points. They give you an easy guide to betting on or against the spread.
The plus sign means you’re looking at the underdog, and you add the points to that team’s score. The minus sign means you’re looking at the favorite, and you need to deduct the points from that team’s score.
Most spreads include a half-point to make sure the bet doesn’t push (tie).
How much does a typical NBA point spread bet pay?
You lock in the currently posted odds on spread bets when you place them. These odds are typically even for both sides, sitting somewhere near -110 because of the built-in vig. At -110 odds, you’ll get paid $100 for every $110 bet if your team covers.
Live NBA spread betting
Live betting means wagering after tip-off at odds that change alongside the game action. Most sportsbooks will post point spreads for every NBA game. Then, they’ll constantly adjust the point spread line and odds based on the time and score throughout.
Why should you bet on NBA point spreads?
As we mentioned earlier, point spreads even out the odds on both sides of a bet. That means you don’t have to lay out as much cash on favorites, reducing your exposure. Plus, while you won’t get the huge payday longshot odds usually promise on underdogs, your chances of winning a bet on that dog are a whole lot better with the points.
What do “against the spread,” “on the spread” and “cover the spread” mean?
You bet “against the spread” when you bet on a favorite and lay the points. Then, you bet “on the spread” when you bet on an underdog and take the points. Either way, whoever wins after the points spread is factored in “covers” the spread.
Who sets NBA point spreads and how?
Sportsbooks employ professional oddsmakers or computer programs to set NBA point spreads. Either way, they take many things into consideration, including:
- Home court advantage
- Recent results
- Matchup history
- Recent statistics
- Competitors’ lines
In the past, NBA betting spreads were set primarily in Las Vegas—one of the only locales where sportsbooks could legally operate. Legal sportsbooks in Texas will set their own NBA basketball point spreads independently of Vegas casinos.