How often do moneyline favorites & underdogs win in NBA?

Updated: 8618 Basketball

Here we are going to focus on the moneyline market for the NBA and look at what the market is, how well both the favorites and the underdogs perform in the market, and also which teams are worth following.

How often do moneyline favorites & underdogs win in NBA?
Andy Powell Content Editor

Horse Racing stats man, Andy has contributed to OLBG for 18 years - An Ipswich fan and F1 fanatic, he also contributes EFL football and Motor Sport opinion.

How do you win moneyline in NBA?

The NBA sportsbooks will price up each game and on the moneyline, you get two options, you are either having a wager on the hosts to win or the team on the road to win.

For betting purposes, because there are only two options, should the game finish in a tie and go to overtime then that is included in the wager, the team who wins the game outright including any overtime played.

Each team will be given odds, the sportsbook favorites will be given the negative value (-125 for example) whilst the underdogs are given the positive value (+125 for example).

A Profitable NBA System Backing a Winning Streak

A Profitable NBA System Backing a Winning Streak

The favorites odds are how much you must wager to win $100, meaning odds of -125 would require a stake of $125 for you to make a $100 profit on your wager, a $125 wager would return $225, a $100 profit.

The underdog odds are how much profit you would make from a $100 wager, for our example of +125, if you staked $100 and they won then you would get $100 + $125 = $225 back for a $100 profit.

An easier way of understanding odds would be to convert the American Odds to Decimal Odds which are what is used on the NBA Picks page and can be done by the following calculations:

  • Negative Odds: 1 - (100 / Odds) = Decimal Odds
  • Positive Odds: 1 + (Odds /100) = Decimal Odds

For our examples, the favorites would be [1 - (100 / -125)] which is decimal odds of 1.80 and this simply means that for a successful wager, for each $1 you place, you will receive back $1.80.

Finally, for the underdog, the calculation would be [1 + (125/100)] which works out as 2.25 and that means for every $1 wagered if successful would return a total of $2.25.

How often do moneyline favorites win in NBA?

How often do moneyline favorites win in NBA? Over the past five seasons, 67.01% of favorites have been successful in the NBA regular season.

Home favorites have a slightly higher success rate than those on the road, with 68.66% of home favorites winning compared to 64.27% of those on the road.

The 2021-22 season was the closest it had been over the last five seasons will hardly anything splitting them, 67.71% of home favs won, and 67.75% of those on the road won.

NBA - How often does the underdog win?

How often does the underdog win in the NBA? The underdogs have a 32.99% win rate over the past five seasons of the NBA regular season which means on average they win roughly once in every three games.

Their win rate is slightly better on the road than at home, when traveling that win rate is 35.73%, however, when they are at home it drops to 31.34% and this type of statistic is what the best NBA handicappers look for, if they are more likely to win on the road than at home then that is something that will follow.

The most successful underdog team over the last five seasons has been the Miami Heat who have won 57 from 134 games (42.54%) as underdogs whilst the most profitable has been the OKC who to $10 wagers returned a profit of +$423.10.

Teams to avoid are the Detroit Pistons who have won just 75 from 310 (24.19%) and the Houston Rockets who have won just 24.89% of their games as underdogs (59 from 237).

Both the Utah Jazz and Miami Heat win more than they lose at home with underdogs, the Jazz has a very good 63.64% win rate at home as dogs whilst the Heat's win rate is 51.43%.

*Statistics only include regular season games, the home team is the official team listed as hosting, and closing lines are used in the figures for seasons from 2018-19 to 2022-23 and all profits are shown to $10 wagers.

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