Baseball is America’s pastime. Football is America’s passion. But no sport that has its roots so deeply in American culture has taken over the world quite like basketball. Professional basketball leagues exist on every populated continent. And when the NBA tipped off its 2019-20 season, its rosters had 108 international players from 38 countries.
The NBA is a true global love, and it has some of the best sports betting anywhere on the planet. With so many eyes, so many cheers and so many bets focused on the NBA, Colorado sportsbooks will have it featured front and center on their list of offered wagers.
How to place NBA bets in Colorado
With a regular season that features 1,230 total games, and then 15 series of playoffs that normally add roughly 90 more games to the schedule, chances are good that if you are betting on sports, you’re also betting on the NBA. And if you are a novice to sports betting, not to worry. Placing NBA bets is very easy to understand and learn.
To be legal to place sports wagers in Colorado, all sportsbook customers must be at least 21 years old, and all wagers must be placed within the borders of the state. Colorado residency is not a legal requirement, but being physically located within the boundaries of the state when placing bets is a must.
Colorado law also says that all NBA bets are legal, including any betting on the Denver Nuggets, and any NBA game taking place in the state. There are no NBA games that you can’t wager on legally.
However, there is an exception for anyone working in a position to influence the outcome of an event — player, coach, medical staff, referee, etc. Those people may not place wagers on the sport in which they are involved.
Retail sportsbook locations
Colorado customers will have no shortage of places to make NBA wagers. The state has had operating casinos since 1991, and each of those casinos is eligible to apply for a permit and open up a retail sportsbook. Most of them have already submitted their applications, and more are expected to join the fray.
If you are looking to make in-person bets on the NBA, you can travel to the mountain cities of Black Hawk, Central City (both near Denver) and Cripple Creek (near Colorado Springs). Legal casinos are restricted to these three cities, and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks are limited to these already operating casinos.
Online sportsbook registration
Many residents in the state aren’t near an operating casino, or just simply would rather place sports bets from home. Not a problem. Each of the retail sportsbooks is partnered with an online sportsbook provider, and all of those online sports betting sites are available throughout the state.
If you are 21 years old and the IP address you are using confirms that you are currently inside the state borders, you can place wagers on the NBA over the internet.
Once you’ve found the online sportsbook that you’re looking for, you’ll want to register for a new account. To do this, you’ll have to give the sportsbook your name, address, email address, date of birth, phone number and final four digits of your Social Security number.
The sportsbook will use that to verify your identity and age. There are also a couple of security questions that you’ll need to answer.
Once you do that, pick a username and password, deposit money into your account and then you’re ready to place your first NBA bet.
Betting on the NBA using a mobile app
Thanks to the foresight of Colorado lawmakers, the state’s new betting laws did include the legalization of mobile sports gaming. If there is a retail sportsbook that has sports betting online, you’ll be able to find a mobile app that also connects you to its sportsbook.
Be it iOS or Android, over the mobile app, you can do everything you can do online, which includes making deposits into your account. Online bill pay, credit and debit cards, PayPal and other e-wallets, plus cash deposits through PayNearMe terminals, are all ways to put money into your online and mobile account.
Each sportsbook app has detailed help guides if you need further assistance in managing deposits and withdrawals.
There are a large number of sportsbooks opening operations in Colorado, and the biggest and best names are all coming to the state:
The longtime European sportsbook brings with it experience, advanced technology, and the kind of betting options that Colorado customers will love.
DraftKings made a name for itself in the daily fantasy sports world but has easily transitioned into a full sportsbook. As a partner with Kambi, it has a great tech platform. And with its experience in DFS, the number of betting options that it makes available feel endless.
Another DFS operator that has shown its wares as a fully functioning sportsbook, FanDuel brings to Colorado one of the easiest websites and mobile apps to learn and navigate. If there is a type of bet that someone has conceived for the NBA, FanDuel is sure to offer it.
With a unique take on sports betting, PointsBet comes to Colorado with a less well-known name, but a stellar reputation. When wagering on games at PointsBet, you increase the amount of your winnings the more points your selected team wins by.
The Colorado market is expanding quickly, and these four mobile sportsbooks are just a small look at everything that customers will have access to in the coming months.
Types of NBA bets
Because of its history, the teams, the scoring, the long season and the worldwide excitement, NBA betting is never short on options.
Point spread bet
This is the most popular form of betting in the NBA. If you bet on the Celtics -5.5, then for your bet to win, the Celtics must win by at least six points. Conversely, if you take the underdog at +5.5, that team can lose by as many as five points, and your bet still wins.
This is a straight win-loss bet with no concern for a point spread. Instead of points, the favorite and underdog get odds. The Celtics are -140, which means that to win $100, you need to bet $140. If the odds on the underdog are +120, a $100 bet will net you $120 in winnings.
It doesn’t matter who wins or loses. All that matters is how many points both teams combine to score. Also known as an over/under bet because on that total points line, you place your bet on over the total or under the total.
When you take two or more regular bets and then combine them into one big bet, you have a parlay. If all the bets are winners, the overall bet can pay a king’s ransom. But if only one bet loses, the entire bet is a loser.
Live betting is all the rage in the sports gaming world, and NBA betting offers some of the most exciting live betting of any sport. These are in-game bets on constantly changing point spreads and odds.
Quarter lines, halftime lines, automatic changes to the spread as the game unfolds and multiple buyout options are just some of what makes live NBA betting so fun and exciting.
Live betting works best on a mobile device because of the connection speed required to follow the changing odds. And because of its rising popularity around the world, live betting is featured on almost every mobile sportsbook operating in Colorado.
NBA futures and prop bets
The other popular types of bets that are available are futures bets and prop bets. Futures bets are bets on any event that will take place sometime in the future. Prop bets are individual and team bets that take place inside another event. Examples of these types of bets are:
NBA team win totals: Each team will receive a line on the number of wins it will win in the regular season, and you bet on the over or under of that total.
MVP, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year, etc.: Before the season begins, and at any time before the announcement of end-of-season award winners, you can bet on which player will win those trophies.
NBA Finals: The ultimate futures bet, you can wager on the team you think will win the NBA Finals before the first regular-season game ever tips off. In fact, you can place this wager as soon as the previous season’s NBA Finals have finished.
All-Star Weekend dunk contest: One of the most anticipated events of the year is the NBA dunk contest. What’s more fun than betting on which high-flying NBA player will impress the most on All-Star weekend?
NBA draft lottery: During the playoffs, there are 14 NBA teams already looking to the future — the NBA Draft. And you can bet on which of those 14 teams will win the lottery that awards the first overall pick in the draft.
Recommended NBA betting strategies
As you begin to place bets on NBA games, there are a few simple strategies that you can implement to increase your chances of winning.
Bet on teams you know
If you live in San Antonio, chances are that you have access to all things Spurs. You know the team, you know the news and you know their tendencies vs. certain opponents.
Be sure to use that extra knowledge to your advantage. Bet on things you know. Trying to bet outside of your knowledge base is a sure way to lose your wagers.
Keep it basic
As you’re starting on your NBA betting journey, don’t go crazy. Don’t start with prop bets that involve the over/under on second-quarter 3-point attempts by James Harden or try to engage in live betting on multiple games.
Bet on the essentials like point spreads, moneylines and game totals. Do that for a while, get a feel for how you prefer your NBA betting, and then you can branch out.
Smart bettors understand the formula for finding winners. It’s injuries, home-court advantage and how big it is, roster changes, coaches on the hot seat, motivation, fatigue, and anything else that affects performance. Know it, learn it and then use it.
Analytics isn’t just for nerds looking for a new way to look at sports statistics. It’s a way for you to spot trends and see the likelihood of a particular result.
Your gut feeling about the upcoming Lakers-Warriors game is not going to be as good as actual statistics that can help predict a probable result. Numbers are your friends, so dive in.
Keep track of your bets
It’s about finding the probabilities that shift the odds of you winning ever so slightly in your favor. When you keep records of your bets, you can spot the trends.
You can see which bets won, which bets lost, and better understand why those results played out. Information is key, and your betting results are information you should always have and use.
Stay away from these betting mistakes
You will make mistakes. You’re human. But if you know the common betting mistakes ahead of time, you can avoid them.
Never chase your bets
A successful sports bettor has a plan. And when you lose a bet and then decide to double down on the next bet to recoup your losses, you are now off-plan and at risk of losing more than you can afford.
You will lose bets. Stay the course. A loss in one bet should never be the reason you change your strategy in the next.
Do not bet on too many games at once
There are a lot of NBA games, and it’s tempting on a Sunday to try to bet them all. But the reality is that you can only know so much.
There is only so much NBA news and stats that you can consume, so you will be making some of those bets with less information than the others. Don’t do that. Information helps you. Bets made with less information will hurt you.
It’s basic, but it’s true; use your brain and not your heart. You’re a fan, and it’s easy to get caught up in really wanting a team to win, so you bet them. Do not do that.
Only bet when the information and data support it. You being really happy that your favorite team just won is the worst of all reasons to make a bet.
Understanding NBA betting systems
From roulette to craps, to betting on baseball and basketball, there are dozens of betting systems that have a reputation of giving the customer an advantage when trying to find a winner. For NBA betting, these are four systems that warrant your attention.
The high totals system
A simple system that observes that when it comes to out-of-conference NBA games, sportsbooks tend to underestimate the total points scored. By exclusively taking the over on these types of games, your bets are more likely to win.
The blowout system
Another system that is easy to apply, which says quite simply that after recording a victory of 15 points or more, that team is more likely to lose its next game against the spread. Teams do not put up two big nights in a row very often, and you should bet accordingly.
The bounce-back system
In what is an inverse of the blowout system, bounce-back bettors are wagering on the fact that teams that play poorly at home in one game are unlikely to repeat the poor performance in two straight home games.
The three-in-four system
It goes against logic, but statisticians have found that a team playing in its third game in four nights actually exceeds its projected point total more than 58% of the time. The supposition is that defense is harder to play than offense, so it’s that side of the ball that suffers from fatigue more often than the other.
Of course, there is no such thing as an infallible betting system. Even if you play everything right, you will still lose some wagers.
But the difference between winning money and losing money on your NBA bets is small, so any way that you can move the needle in your favor — even just a little bit — is worth taking a look at.
NBA betting FAQ
How do bookmakers create NBA odds?
It’s important to know that posted odds by a bookmaker are not meant to be a prediction of the result. Nor does it reflect any kind of rooting interest for the book.
Odds serve one goal — to create an equal amount of wagering on both sides of the line. To do that in today’s high-tech world, computer programs are run by statisticians and examined by people who understand the market and the betting public.
Because handicapping the odds on so many games takes a team of people to do it accurately, many bookmakers now outsource their bookmaking.
What this means to you as a sports bettor is that more sportsbooks are getting their odds from the same source, meaning there is less variance in the odds you will see.
One thing to note: If the majority of the betting falls on one side of a matchup, bookmakers will adjust the line to encourage betting on the other side.
What happens when the over/under hits exactly?
You know about juice and the percentage off the top that sportsbooks take from bets. When you win your bet, you pay this juice, or vig. But when a bet ties, as it can do when an over/under line is hit exactly, the entire amount of your wager is returned.
A push, as this is called, doesn’t happen very often, but when it does, none of the bettors are penalized. They don’t win any money, but they don’t lose any money either.
Does an over/under bet in the NBA include overtime?
Yes. The entire game counts, be it four quarters or four overtimes. The bet for the total amount of points is for the entirety of the game. This counts for any second-half wagers too.
If you bet on a first-half line, that bet ends at halftime. But if you put money down on a second-half wager, that will include every minute until the game is final.
How do you bet NBA second-half lines?
There is a lot to like about betting second-half lines, especially as a hedge against a full game bet you’ve already placed. While an opening line is based on expected scores and the trends of the betting public, when a second-half line is posted, it’s based on what happened in the first two quarters. It’s more accurate in terms of how the teams are performing that night when compared to pregame lines.
The main thing to keep in mind — when bookmakers set second-half lines, they have less time to do so. That means the lines are less accurate, and for you as a bettor, they can be more easily exploited.
What is the NBA draft lottery?
In the NBA, there are 14 teams that fail to make the playoffs each season. Those 14 teams all receive a chance to win the No. 1 overall draft pick through a lottery drawing.
The worst team enters the lottery with the best odds of winning, with a sliding scale of probability for the remainder of the teams.
The lottery typically takes place in the third or fourth week of May as the two conference finals are being played. The top four teams for the next draft are chosen through the lottery, with the remaining draft positions determined by reverse order of win-loss record.