By Mark Strotman | | 7 mins
NBA Prop Bets
NBA prop bets differ from spread betting, moneylines and totals in that they’re bets within the game or season-long bets. They can be as quick a wager as which team in a single game will score 10 points first, or as long a wager as betting on a specific team’s win total for the entire season. They can even be a matchup between two star players, such as will LeBron James or Kawhi Leonard score more points.
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Sportsbooks offer dozens of season-long prop bets, and each regular season and postseason game also contains a similar number of prop bets. Below we’ll break down further what specific prop bets look like, where you can find the best value and, of course, how Bookies.com can help you compare NBA odds and find the best bets.
NBA Player Prop Bet Picks
There isn’t another sport or league where individuals affect the outcome of a game more than the NBA. Baseball players get four or five at-bats a night. Football players play half the game. Hockey players appear in even less. But basketball, and specifically the NBA, is filled with gaudy statistics from athletes playing upwards of 35 minutes (out of 48) per night.
That’s why individual player prop bets are so popular. In terms of single-game bets, there are specific player props that include individual points, rebounds, assists or some combination of the three totaled (i.e. points + assists more than 20).
An example from a recent Chicago Bulls vs Indiana Pacers game:
Points, rebounds and assists by Malcolm Brogdon:
Over 30.5 (-110)
Under 30.5 (-110)
Other options include total 3-pointers, total blocks or whether a player will record a double-double or triple-double. In that same Bulls-Pacers game, you could bet on Brogdon to get a double-double (+300) or not (-400).
There are also season-long player prop bets. Individual NBA awards are popular, and so too are wagers on them. The main picks include MVP odds, Rookie of the Year, Sixth Man of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player. You can also bet who will be the best head coach in the league and on a player’s per-game point, rebound, assists, etc. averages for the entire season.
NBA Team Prop Bet Picks
The most popular NBA prop bets for teams are championship/conference/division title odds and season-long over-under win totals. Those are pretty straightforward. Oddsmakers set odds for each team based on last year’s performance, offseason moves and expectations for the following season.
For single games, NBA prop bets such as the first team to score 10 points, how many 3-pointers a team will make, or how many points a single team will score in the game are all examples.
An example from a recent Los Angeles Lakers vs San Antonio Spurs game:
First to 10 points:
How NBA Proposition Bets Work
Prop bets differ from typical spread/moneyline/point total bets in that the final score doesn’t matter. It’s a bet within the game, whether it’s a specific player grabbing a certain number of rebounds or one team being the first to score 10 points, the final score is inconsequential. It’s a bet within the game, not a bet on the game.
RELATED: Check out our daily NBA expert picks
Benefits of NBA Prop Bets
The first and most obvious benefit in betting NBA prop bets is that there are fewer factors involved. If you wager on a specific player to go over a certain number of assists, you don’t need to worry about points, rebounds, steals, blocks or score of the game. You’re simply focused on one player – not an entire team – performing one act. Of course, you’ll need teammates to make shots that create an assist, but you’re not worried on every single possession like you would be wagering on a point spread or game over-under.
Some NBA prop bets also take a shorter amount of time to complete. Whereas you’ll be waiting until the end of the game to see whether your team covered, and over-unders are usually decided late in the fourth quarter, certain prop bets like the first team to 10, 20 or 50 points, or a player reaching a certain point total, can be decided as early as the first quarter.
Lastly, it simply gives another NBA betting option. A lot of them.
Not a fan of either side of the point spread or over-under on a specific game? Prop bets give you dozens – sometimes hundreds for games such as in the NBA Playoffs and the All-Star Game – of potential wagers to make. There’s something for everyone, and given how much data and statistics there are available, there’s a good chance you’ll find a trend that makes a prop bet worth wagering on.
Similar to over-under bets, many prop bets have short odds. Granted, there’s not large amounts of value – unless betting a season-long prop bet such as MVP or Rookie of the Year – but there aren’t long odds that have little chance of hitting. Either a player will or won’t score more than 20.5 points. Either one team will make a 3-pointer before the other team. Either the combined score of the teams will or won’t be an odd number.
NBA Prop Betting Tips & Strategies
Obviously you’ll need to do plenty of research before considering a prop bet, just like you should with more traditional betting lines. It’s important to shop around, as different online sportsbooks will have different odds for certain prop bets. At Bookies.com, you will only find licensed and legal sportsbooks that are fully regulated, unlike those illegal offshore sportsbooks.
In terms of the prop bets, grouping is an excellent strategy. If you believe a certain player will hit the over on a lofty assist total, his leading scoring teammate is more likely to hit the over on his point total. If you believe the game will go under – or at least be a low-scoring affair – the teams’ leading rebounders should likely hit their individual rebounding over for the game.
With team prop bets, if you believe a team around .500 will hit the over on their win total, you could probably pair that with another prop that they’ll make the postseason. Stacking props based on other ones is a solid play.
How to Know if You Made the Right NBA Prop Bet?
Look, there are no guarantees when it comes to NBA betting. However, past performance will always be a good indicator of how you’ll feel about a prop bet, but of course oddsmakers are looking at those figures, too. If a player has averaged 28.5 points per game over his last five contests, it shouldn’t be surprising if his prop bet for that game hovers somewhere close to it. Teams with excellent track records in the first quarter will have lower odds to score 10 points first than a team that usually gets off to slow starts.
But there are other factors to consider, too. Players tend to perform better at home, so you can usually give totals a bump up (at home) or down (on the road). Opponent is critical, too. Is a player who averages 18 points with an over-under total of 18.5 facing the NBA’s best defense, or one of the worst?
All prop bets are not created equal. Is a team on the second half of a back-to-back, meaning certain players’ minutes might be down? Then maybe the under is the better play. Is there an injury on that player’s team, meaning he’ll get a bump in field goal attempts and minutes played? There are multiple factors to consider to help you benefit in making the correct proposition bet.
Looking season-long, Bookies.com provides analysis from the past few decades on what factors to consider when betting on individual player awards, as well as season previews to help you bet on over-under win totals and playoff chances.
Be Weary of Easy Prop Bets
Some prop bets appear to be surefire winners on the surface, but it’s important to always remember that oddsmakers have done their homework. Every single possible variable is taken into account, including rest days for a player/team, defenses (or offenses) a certain player/team is facing, past performances and much more. Also consider the odds of a certain prop bet. If a player is on a scoring hot streak, the “over” for his individual points total may not be worth the odds being listed.
How to Make an NBA Prop Bet
Once you have made your decision on a certain prop bet, come through the top online betting sites at Bookies.com to find the best odds to make your bet. If you are a first-time bettor at that site, make sure to use the promo code to get the best bonus offer. If you already have an account, sign in and place your bet. Bookies.com is constantly its information, news and analysis pages to give you better insight as to which player and team props are the right plays at the right time.