While the LeBron James era is over, the Cavs have a young core that will make some noise in the next few years. If you want to back your Cavs with a bet or put some money down on any of your favorite teams, check our detailed NBA betting guide below.
We explain how to read NBA betting lines, sportsbook betting rules for basketball and more. If you’re ready to bet, jump right to tonight’s NBA game lines direct from Ohio online sportsbooks.
Best Ohio Sportsbooks for Online NBA Betting
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How to bet on the NBA online in Ohio
If you’re looking to open your first online sports betting account, don’t hesitate. The process is very straightforward. Here’s what you need to do to start NBA betting online:
- Choose one of the legal sports betting sites in Ohio from this page.
- Click through on our links to start the sign-up process and download the sportsbook app.
- Enter our bonus code to claim the sportsbook’s welcome offer.
- Deposit some money into your account by going to the cashier page and selecting your preferred payment method.
- After the deposit goes through, find NBA on the list of available sports.
- Find the games and markets that you’re interested in and start creating your betting slips.
Best Sports Betting Apps
Caesars Sportsbook for NBA Betting
In February 2022, Caesars Entertainment inked a multi-year deal with the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers to make Caesars Sportsbook the team’s Official Sports Betting Partner. Caesars is also building a retail sportsbook on the street level inside the northwest atrium area of Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse where the Cavs play.
Caesars will also have an online sportsbook and a Caesars sportsbook app in Ohio licensed through Eldorado Gaming Scioto Downs Casino in Columbus.
The online sportsbook and app will offer:
- Competitive NBA lines
- Use official league data to settle bets
- Allow players to earn Tier Credits and Reward Credits with Caesars Rewards for every bet.
- NBA odds boosts and NBA parlay insurance
Caesars also plans to make Caesars Sportsbook at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse a first-class sportsbook venue open year-round. That means:
- Betting windows for cash betting
- Full-service bar and restaurant
- Wall-to-wall TVs
- VIP and hospitality experiences for Caesars Rewards members.
BetMGM App for NBA Betting
BetMGM is an official betting partner of the NBA and has marketing deals with individual NBA teams including the Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, and Los Angeles Lakers. Caesars may have an exclusive deal with the Cavs locked up, but don’t be surprised if you see BetMGM advertising surrounding the team in some capacity next season.
BetMGM always aims to offer the best NBA odds and the BetMGM sportsbook app will be competitive in Ohio’s NBA betting realm. Plus, it will run big NBA promotions like the $100 bonus for any $20 NBA Finals bet it has run in the past.
BetMGM is also a Turner Sports content partner having produced content like the NBABet presented by BetMGM NBA TV show that aired during the 2021 NBA Playoffs. BetMGM has long used its Official Betting Partner status to highlight its NBA betting markets effectively and will continue to do that same when it comes to Ohio.
DraftKings Sportsbook App for NBA Betting
DraftKings Sportsbook is one of the NBA’s Authorized Sports Betting Operators. It uses official NBA logos and data and has marketing deals with NBA franchises including the Indiana Pacers, Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons, and Boston Celtics.
Once again, Caesars may have the Cavs’ “official partner” deal locked, but don’t be surprised if the DraftKings name somehow gets associated with the team as well.
The DraftKings Ohio app will offer:
- The most live NBA betting options through its use of the Simplebet micro-betting technology
- A huge variety of pre-NBA game markets
- One of if not the biggest selection of NBA prop bets
Common DraftKings Sportsbook NBA promos have included a LeBron vs Curry promo with a $2 free bet bonus for every point scored if you bet on a matchup between the two. More of the same will be offered to Ohio this NBA season.
FanDuel Sportsbook App for NBA Betting
FanDuel Sportsbook is also an Authorized Gaming Operator of the NBA, giving it access to official NBA data and logos.
Fanduel’s range of NBA betting odds is as large as any and includes every game line and future you might think of. NBA-specific promos on FanDuel have long included:
- No Sweat NBA Parlay refunds
- $2 to win $150 NBA Tip-Off odds boosts
Additional NBA betting content is also available in FanDuel’s NBA Betting Hub
How NBA betting odds work
There are a lot of ways to bet on NBA games. The most popular, of course, is betting on the outright winner of any individual game. You can do that by placing a bet on one of the teams either before or during the game—the latter being available only if the sportsbook features a micro betting option.
The sportsbook will set odds on each team relative to their realistic chances of winning the game. Positive (+) numbers always indicate the underdog, while negative (-) numbers designate the favorite.
For example, let’s say the Cleveland Cavaliers are playing the New York Knicks. The odds are +110 on the Cavs and -120 on the Knicks, indicating that the Knicks are slight favorites. This means that to earn a $110 profit betting on the Cavs, you’ll need to wager $100. Alternatively, a $100 profit on the Knicks winning the game will require a $120 stake.
Of course, you don’t need to bet that specific amount. The numbers always relate to a $100 stake or profit, so they can be calculated easily. If you’re betting on the game live, you’ll experience the odds shifting one way or the other, depending on the current score and happenings on the court.
Also, the odds may shift to one side or the other before the game due to liquidity. Sportsbooks always look to attract a roughly equal number of bets on each side, guaranteeing themselves a profit.
Therefore, if more bets come in the Cavs’ favor, the sportsbook will try to make the odds on the Knicks more attractive, and vice versa. This is the main reason sports betting odds can differ among sportsbooks. We expect sportsbooks in Ohio to receive more bets on the Cavs than ones in Las Vegas.
NBA best bets: point spread, moneyline, totals
Betting on the game winner, commonly referred to as a “moneyline” bet, is just one of many NBA bets. Betting moneyline is the most straightforward, as it only concerns picking a winning side.
Since basketball is a high-scoring sport, its games are also ideal for point spreads. The spread is designed to even out any particular matchup and give an equally appealing reason to bet on the underdogs.
Here’s a quick example of how an NBA point spread bet looks:
- Los Angeles Lakers (-9.5) -115
- Cleveland Cavaliers (+9.5) -105
The Lakers are clear favorites to win this game, but to make the bet more interesting, the sportsbook is “giving” 9.5 points from their total and adding them to the underdog Cavs, thus evening out the odds.
This means that if you were to bet on the Lakers, they would need to win by 10 or more points for your bet to cash. Alternatively, a bet on the Cavs wins if Cleveland wins outright or loses by nine points or fewer.
Another common NBA bet is the over/under, or totals. This bet doesn’t revolve around a winner or point differential but rather the total points scored.
The sportsbook will present a line, 211.5 for example, and the goal is to pick whether the teams score more or fewer combined points. You can also take over/under bets on the total number of points for each of the two teams individually.
How to bet NBA props and futures
Apart from the standard NBA bets we discussed above, sportsbooks may offer dozens of other markets, such as player props and futures bets.
With player props, you predict the performance of a player rather than his entire team. Player props usually consist of over/under markets for the player’s points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals.
For example, you can bet on Collin Sexton of the Cleveland Cavaliers to score over or under 24.5 points in a game against the Detroit Pistons. Some sportsbooks may allow you to combine player props and standard markets, like betting over on Sexton’s points and for the Cavs to cover the spread. Player-vs-player bets are pretty common as well.
You will also find team NBA prop bets on many sportsbooks, like which team wins the first quarter or reaches a certain number of points.
Futures are long-term NBA bets that let you predict the outcome of an entire season or playoffs. The most popular futures bet is guessing the NBA champion for the current season. You can place this wager early, even before the season begins, wait until the very last game of the NBA Finals, or anytime in between.
Other futures bets include guessing whether a team makes the playoffs, how many wins they rack up during the regular season, playoff series winner, conference winner, series correct score and more.
There are also NBA player futures odds for the winners of individual awards, like:
- NBA MVP odds
- Rookie of the Year odds
- Coach of the Year odds
- NBA Most Improved Player Odds
- First Team All-NBA odds, etc.
In-game NBA betting
All Ohio sportsbooks feature live or in-game betting, letting you place all sorts of bets while the games unfold. What’s interesting about in-game NBA betting is that it showcases plenty of interesting markets not seen in pre-game betting. For example, you can:
- bet on individual quarters
- bet on individual halves
- bet on which team will get to a certain number of points in a quarter first
- bet on whether the game will go to overtime, etc.
Of course, you’ll also find all the standard bets like moneyline and point spread; only the odds and spreads will change during the game based on the current score.
Live NBA betting is fun, but it’s also incredibly time sensitive. The score changes rapidly, and you’ll have to react quickly to take advantage of the shifts in odds and lines. The best way to do that is through a sportsbook app for your phone or tablet that allows you to place wagers with only a single tap of the screen.
Most Ohio sportsbooks have downloadable apps for both iOS and Android. Plus, they offer an optimized betting experience for the smaller screen.
How to bet on the NBA Playoffs and Finals
The playoffs are the pinnacle of the long NBA season and prime time for avid NBA bettors.
The NBA Playoffs usually start in early spring. The top eight teams from each conference (Eastern and Western) land in separate brackets to compete against each other in best-of-seven series.
The NBA recently introduced a play-in tournament that puts teams ranked 7 through 10 from each conference in winner-takes-all games to decide which two teams would claim the 7th and 8th seeds.
Then, the teams with the best records in each conference play against the 8th seeds. No. 2 seeds play No. 7s. No. 3s play No. 6 seeds. And No. 4 seeds play the No. 5s. The winners of 1 vs. 8 take on the winners of 4 vs. 5. Then, the winners of 2 vs. 7 advance to face the victor from 3 vs. 6. Finally, the winners of those series meet in the Conference Finals.
The home-road format of each playoff series is 2-2-1-1-1. The team with higher seeding has home-court advantage. Once conference champs are determined, they meet in the NBA Finals in another best-of-seven series with the same format.
When it comes to betting on individual games, things pretty much stay the same, like in the regular season. On the other hand, the start of the playoffs opens up many futures bets.
Apart from the standard outright winner bet, bettors can wager on:
- Series winners
- Conference winners
- Series correct scores
- Exact game in which the series will finish
- If a team will win the series from behind
- Which two teams will meet in the Finals
By the time the NBA Playoffs are in full swing, the league MVP will already be crowned, and the other individual awards will be given out. However, you’ll still be able to pick the Finals MVP either before or during the NBA Finals. See our page with NBA Finals betting odds for more info on betting on the NBA finals.
Common NBA betting mistakes
If you’re an NBA betting rookie, chances are you’ll need time to get good. However, that doesn’t mean you should fall into easy traps. So here are some of the mistakes most beginner bettors make:
- Not paying attention to the schedule — The NBA regular season has a packed schedule. Teams often need to play games on consecutive days. Squads on the second night of a back-to-back usually won’t perform as well as when they’re fresh, so regardless of their ranking or lineup, their chances of winning the game will significantly drop, especially when matched against a well-rested team.
- Being a homer — Bettors who are die-hard fans of a given team tend to overestimate that team’s abilities. We understand that you want the Cleveland Cavaliers to succeed, but don’t back them with a bet just because you wish for them to win or have a “gut feeling.”
- Betting on point spreads with significant discrepancies — When a dominant team faces the underdog, a sportsbook will usually post a double-digit spread. The favorite will likely record a convincing win, but the game’s final score can often be unpredictable. Say that a favorite goes into the fourth quarter leading by 20, and their coach decides to rest the starters. The underdog cuts into that lead and, in the end, loses by only eight points, covering the spread. In other words, favorites don’t pay attention to point spreads. To them, a win is a win, so guessing whether they’ll decide to push their lead into the high 20s or lift their foot off the gas is always a gamble.
- Betting too early — Betting days or even a few hours before the game can be quite risky. The best time to place an NBA bet is when the starting lineups are announced just a few minutes before tip-off. The reason for this is that you never know when a particular player might experience an unexpected injury. When star players unexpectedly don’t show up, the odds can radically change.
Sportsbooks rules for NBA betting
While betting online, you’ll have to be familiar with the sportsbooks’ rules so as not to be unpleasantly surprised when something doesn’t go according to your expectations. Here are some specific NBA betting rules to pay attention to:
- Betting limits — Every sportsbook puts a minimum and maximum limit on how much you can bet on an NBA game.
- Postponed games — If a match is postponed and doesn’t start on a scheduled day, you’ll have the option to get your stake back.
- Canceled games — If a match is canceled or interrupted for any reason, your bet won’t count, and you’ll get your stake back.
- Player sits — If you bet on a player who ends up not playing, you’ll get your stake back. However, if a player starts the game and gets injured, the bet will still count.
- Overtime — The outcome of all bets will consider overtime.
- Payout — You can receive a payout for your successful bets only after the game is over, regardless of whether a specific market has been determined before the game’s end.