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Why NBA Betting is Growing in Popularity

17 Dec 2022 News
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In the latest industry research published by the betting industry, the NBA was shown to be a major growth area for sportsbooks both here in the United States and further afield. Engaged bettors are being increasingly pulled towards NBA spreads and outrights, so they can back their opinion on who will shine at the weekend and who will win the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy.

With so many markets available on sports here in the United States and abroad, what is making the NBA so popular with sports bettors? Read on to find out.


In 1992 the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) was written into law, effectively banning sports betting on a Federal level in the United States. If sports fans in the US wanted to bet on their favourite teams, they either had to travel to Nevada where PASPA was exempt or cross the border.

In 2017 the Supreme Court took the decision to strike down PASPA, allowing individual states to make their own minds up on sports betting legislation. At the time of writing, well over a dozen states have decided to legalise in-person and online sportsbooks.

It is this domestic spread of legal sports betting that has led to an explosion in NBA betting interest. For the 10 years before the striking down of PASPA, American sports bettors were frequently gambling – just with overseas providers.

Whilst these sportsbooks would offer odds on American sports, their primary focus was usually their own domestic game which in most cases was soccer. As a result, NBA, NFL and MLB betting, whilst remaining popular, never hit the heights they could.

In the past four years though, Americans have spent $125 billion on legalised sports betting, showing that there is a real appetite for betting on domestic sports here in the US.

Why NBA?

American sports have been incredibly popular with bettors since 2017, but why out of all sports has NBA proven to be so popular? Especially when it is usually considered secondary to NFL in terms of viewership and attendances.

Well, it comes down to a number of reasons, the main three of which are:

Action: Betting, as a leisure activity, is fast-paced and delivers hit after hit of instant gratification or instant despair! Out of the three main American sports, basketball is best suited to betting, providing fast-paced thrills and spills, all of which can be wagered on.

Baseball and football are both popular with futures bettors, but in terms of quick, fun bets they don’t appeal to gamblers anywhere near as much as basketball.

Competition: The Golden State Warriors are currently the team to beat in the NBA and are gunning for a dynasty, but that doesn’t make the NBA a one-horse race. Almost every game in professional basketball is tight because of the end to end nature of the game.

That’s a quality that makes basketball appealing to bettors, as the outcomes, unlike in other sports are never really guaranteed things.

Popularity: There is a cult of personality in NBA at the moment that is spreading the game’s appeal both here and abroad. Non basketball fans are getting drawn into the MVP battle, to Steph Curry’s quest for greatness and to the melodramas besetting each team in the NBA.

All of these factors are what make NBA the fastest growing sport amongst younger audiences.

Popular NBA Bets

What exactly are NBA bettors wagering on then? Below are three of the most popularly placed NBA bets on sportsbook sites:

Futures: At the beginning of a new season, everyone fancies themselves as an expert. NBA sports betting allows fans to test out that theory by betting on who they think will win the MVP award, the Rookie of the Year award and who will be the eventual winners of the Championship.

Points Spread: Taking expertise to the next level, some sports betting fans like to bet on how many points a team will win or lose by. In a David vs Goliath clash, points spread bets help to inject a bit of excitement and intrigue into otherwise straightforward games.

Parlay: Thanks to the almost constant nature of the NBA schedule, there are always games to bet on during the regular season. Parlay bets take advantage of this ceaseless schedule by combining their bets and wagering on 2, 3, 4 or more teams to all win in a particular game week.

In Summary

The NBA is one of the fastest growing sports on the planet, so it’s no wonder then that it is also incredibly popular with sports bettors. The Golden State Warriors battle with the Boston Celtics this season will only add to that popularity. 

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