Known as the line or spread, it is not the predicted margin of victory for one team, rather a number chosen by Las Vegas and overseas oddsmakers that will encourage an equal number of people to wager on the underdog as on the favorite. The negative value (-7.5) indicates that team is favored by 7.5 points. The positive value (+7.5) indicates that team is the underdog by 7.5 points. Betting on the favorite means the team must win by at least 8 points to cover the point spread. The underdog team can lose by 7 points and still cover the spread.
You will also notice a moneyline value associated with the point spread (such as -7.5, -115). This indicates how much you must risk in order to place the bet (also known as the vig or juice). It means you have to risk $115 to win $100. The underdog may see a value such as +7.5, +105. This means you risk $100 to win $105 if your team covers the spread.
Typically used in baseball and hockey, basketball moneylines are popular in Las Vegas for picking underdogs. The team you choose only has to win the game, not win by a certain number of points. The negative value still indicates the favorite (-150) and the positive value indicates the underdog (+130). It’s easiest to picture the number 100 sitting in the middle of these two values.
For example, if you want to pick a -150 favorite, you would risk $150 in order to win $100. On the underdog, you would risk $100 and win $130 if the underdog wins. It’s a simple way to have the risk-reward scenario. In the right circumstance, where you have a small underdog, you can get a very similar bet by risking less and also get a bigger payout by going the moneyline route.
Widely known as the over/under, it’s not simply the best Las Vegas guess at how many points will be scored in an NBA game by both teams combined. It’s a number it feels will encourage just as many bets on the over as the under.
If you picked the under 177.5, you want tough defense and slow-down defense. If you pick the over, you want 3-pointers galore and no defense at all. In totals betting, you are predicting whether the combined total score will be more than or less than the total.
As soon as an NBA champion has been decided, odds on next year’s title game are usually up in Las Vegas. Wagers on a future event (like who will win next year’s NBA championship) are called futures. Oddsmakers adjust lines during the year, depending on the strength or weakness of teams, then offer wagers on each team to win. For example, a league’s top team may be +150 to win the championship. That means a $100 wager would pay $150 profit. However, a poor team might be +3000, indicating they are not expected to win and a $100 wager would pay $3,000 as a huge longshot. They can be profitable but also take a long time to settle the bet.