The NBA Playoffs are one of the most exciting times in all of sport as the best basketball players in the world duke it out on the biggest stage. It’s where legends are made and history is written.
It has also become increasingly popular with gamblers across the country as they look to profit off of the competition. The NBA Playoffs offer many different types of bets that include everything from in-play to futures.
In this article, we will cover everything there is to know about gambling on the NBA playoffs. From how the odds work to all the different betting options, this guide will be your one-stop-shop for education around betting the NBA playoffs.
New York is one of the states in the U.S. that has legalized sports gambling in brick-and-mortar, and thus it’s legal to bet on many different sporting events.
The NBA playoffs are one of those events which are legal and regulated to bet on. The way to do this in New York is to visit one of the legalized sports gambling locations that are licensed in the state.
There are eight brick-and-mortar locations where gamblers can go and gamble on the NBA playoffs. These are regulated retail locations that have gotten the nod from the state to accept bets.
Because of the locations of the retail locations, for gamblers in New York City, it may be easier to travel to neighboring states such as New Jersey to place bets.
At this point, online gambling is not legal in New York. However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has signaled it could be legalized soon. That would immediately make the state one of the largest betting markets in the world.
When that does happen, there are a few sports betting companies who will be the first to move in and stake their place in the market:
FanDuel is a New York-based company that opened in 2009. They control large market-shares of sports gambling in states where online gambling is legal and will do the same once it opens in New York.
DraftKings is another huge sports gambling company that controls a dominant piece of the sports betting revenue pie. It’s based in Boston and has some very famous investors such as Michael Jordan.
PointsBet is the smallest company on this list but is quickly growing. They are currently only operating in six different states yet will be in many more soon and will be one of the first in New York.
Betting on the NBA playoffs is the same as betting on any other type of basketball. There are a few crucial bets that you must understand to bet effectively. Here they are:
The point spread is the great equalizer, and it’s a handicap that oddsmakers apply to make the game more even. It will be displayed on the board beside each team and you can find it with this easy trick.
The favorite will have a minus sign (-) next to it and they will need to win the game by that many points for a bet on them to cash. The underdog will have a plus sign (+) and they will need to finish the game within that amount of points for that bet to cash.
If the game ends on that number exactly — the favorite wins by eight after being given that many points before the game — then it’s called a push. A push means your money is returned.
The moneyline bet may be the most straightforward in all of the sports. Basketball is no different. It’s simply a selection on the team you believe to win.
To limit their liability on this type of bet the oddsmaker will give the favorite odds with a minus sign (-) in front of it, just like the spread. This represents how much you need to bet to win $100.
For the underdog, their odds will have a plus sign (+) and that represents how much you will win if you make a $100 bet.
Every basketball game has a number listed which is called the total. This is the oddsmaker’s prediction for the combined score of the two teams.
For the NBA playoffs, this number will be north of 200 and could even be a half number such as 218.5. With an over/under bet, the gambler selects if they think the total combined score will go over or under that posted number.
Over/Under bets usually have odds that are relatively close to -110 for each side.
Futures bets are super popular for the NBA playoffs as gamblers attempt to take advantage of the large potential returns and make a tidy profit. Futures bets for the NBA playoffs can open up as soon as right after the conclusion of the previous season.
Futures wagers can include everything from the winner of the individual series, to the Finals MVP award, to the NBA champion. All of these are large markets that are offered at major sportsbooks and oddsmakers.
Placing a futures bet works much like any other type of bet and can be done by visiting one of the retail sportsbooks in New York.
For example, let’s say that you believe in the Los Angeles Lakers to win next season’s NBA championship. You put a bet of $100 on them at the beginning of the season and you get odds of +500. You follow along all season as you track their progress towards their goal.
The team makes the playoffs and with every win, they inch closer to the championship. When they finally win, your bet cashes and you are returned your $100 bet as well as $500 in winnings.
Prop bets are another common bet type for the NBA playoffs and are a favorite among many gamblers. Prop bets can encapsulate all different aspects of the game and allow gamblers a chance to exploit smaller gambling markets.
There are many different prop bets available but a favorite one is player point over/unders.
For each game, oddsmakers will put out their projected lines for how many points a player will score that night. Let’s say that the line for Luka Doncic points is at 28.5, and you feel like he’ll be going over that tonight.
You put a bet down of $110 on Doncic going over the line of 28.5 at odds of -110. That night Doncic is feeling it and he scores 35 points. Your bet has won and you are returned your $110 bet as well as a $100 return.
In-game betting on the NBA playoffs is becoming a fan-favorite — just as live betting is in most sports — and adds an extra layer of excitement.
Most of the NBA Playoffs betting lines offered before the game will continue to be offered throughout. Savvy gamblers can take advantage of the momentum and flow of the game and place a bet at the perfect time to cash big.
Online gambling makes in-game betting much easier and once that is legalized in New York it will lead to an explosion of live betting. Instead, right now it’s only available in retail sportsbooks which makes the process slightly more difficult.
The NBA has had their share of exciting playoff performances recently. The league is currently in one of their most talented eras of all-time and the sport is growing at a rapid pace.
LeBron James has been the league’s icon since he entered in 2003 and he doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. His Lakers picked up the last championship and look to contend for more soon.
The 2020 NBA playoffs were like nothing we had ever seen before as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the entire bracket to be played inside a bubble. It took place in Florida and when it came down to it, it was LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers against Jimmy Butler and the Miami Heat.
Butler and his team would put up a good fight but at the end of the day, Lebron and his running partner Anthony Davis were too much to handle. The Lakers won the series in six games.
The 2019 NBA finals saw the Golden State Warriors battle against the Toronto Raptors who were led by Kawhi Leonard. The Warriors were an established dynasty while it was the Raptors’ first time to the finals.
In the end, Leonard would make plenty of tough shots and help the Raptors win the series in six games. This marked the first time the trophy had ever been won by a non-American team.
The 2018 NBA finals were the last battle between the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers, a rivalry that defined the NBA for the second half of this decade. Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry were the stars on Golden State and they faced off against LeBron James and Kevin Love.
The series didn’t take long as the Warriors would take only four games to win the championship, defeating the Cavs handily in every contest. Kevin Durant would win the Finals MVP award.
The 2017 NBA finals were the third consecutive time that Golden State and Cleveland met in the finals but it was the first one where Kevin Durant was playing for the Warriors. Durant had joined one of the best teams in the NBA and his presence was a huge luxury.
It took them five games as the Cavs won the fourth matchup, but the Warriors were too much in the end. Durant won his first finals MVP in his first NBA finals.
The 2016 NBA finals are some of the most famous of all time. The Golden State Warriors finished the season with 73 wins and only 9 losses, the best record of all-time. They took a 3-1 lead over the Cavaliers and they were right on the brink of winning their second championship.
This is when everything changed. LeBron James put in one of the most memorable performances of all-time and the Cavaliers won three straight games to win the championship. This is remembered by NBA fans as one of the best series ever.
Yes, it is legal to bet on the NBA playoffs in New York but it must be done at one of the regulated sportsbooks. Only at these physical locations is it possible to bet on the NBA playoffs but online betting could be coming to the state sooner than later.
Traditionally eight teams from each conference make the NBA playoffs but the 2020 edition was done a bit differently. Due to the abrupt way the season ended due to the COVID-19 virus, the NBA added a play-in to the Western Conference side. This meant that 9 Western Conference teams got the invite. Those teams were the: Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Utah Jazz, Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers, and Memphis Grizzlies.
For the Eastern Conference, they stuck with eight teams and those were the: Milwaukee Bucks, Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Indiana Pacers, Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Brooklyn Nets, and the Orlando Magic.
The NBA has been moving more and more towards a perimeter-centric game and three-pointers matter more than ever. In the 2020 NBA playoffs, two different players tied for the most three-pointers made and both of their teams went far as a result.
Jamal Murray from the Denver Nuggets and Duncan Robinson from the Miami Heat both lead the 2020 NBA playoffs in three-pointers made.
After the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 NBA championship, LeBron James was named Finals MVP. He averaged just under 30 points per game and was dominant in all aspects as his team won in six games.
James is an NBA legend and this award was only one of many in his trophy case. With his play being stellar again as of late, there’s a good chance it won’t be his last.