The NBA is extremely popular to bet on across the United States, and that couldn’t be more true in California, which is home to four NBA teams, including three of the most popular in the Lakers, Warriors and Clippers.
On this page I will recommend our top rated betting site for California residents, touch on the basic legal questions surrounding betting within the state, look at examples of the three popular bets you can make on an NBA game, and provide a 3 step guide you can follow to get your NBA bets placed online.
Best Sportsbook For California Residents
Bovada.lv is our top rated betting site for residents of California who are interested in betting on NBA games. Bovada has been a major player in the USA betting market since 2012 and they have proven themselves to be a safe, secure and trusted sportsbook that is committed to providing a great betting experience to bettors from California and the United States as a whole.
Bovada offers early and fair odds for every NBA game, and they generally offer around 140 prop betting options for a typical game in addition to the normal betting lines.
Sports Betting in California
At this time it is not legal to operate a sportsbook in the State of California.
That said, there’s no laws against California residents joining and placing bets through offshore betting sites that are regulated and licensed outside of the US. Bovada falls into this category, as they are licensed and regulated in Antigua, which allows them to accept players from California and most other US States.
Two ballot measures related to sports betting were voted on in California in November of 2022, with both measures failing by significant margins. This means it’s unlikely that regulated online sportsbooks will be available in California in the near future.
Check out our California sports betting section for a further breakdown of the betting climate in the state.
NBA Betting Options
There are three popular NBA wagers that are typically featured for each game. These are the spread, to win (money line) and over/under (totals) odds.
Often referred to as “betting the spread”, the point spread odds attempt to even the playing field by basically spotting the underdog a certain amount of points.
The favored team must win by more than the spread, while the underdog must either win outright or lose by fewer points than the spread.
Here’s an example from a Spurs vs Clippers game from last year. The -9.5 indicates that the Clippers are 9.5 point favorites in the game. For a spread bet on the Clippers to payout LA would have to win the game by 10 or more points. On the flip side, a spread bet on the Spurs would be a winner if San Antonio won the game or lost by 9 or fewer points.
To Win (Money Line)
Another popular wager is simply betting on which team will win the game. Instead of a spread evening up the game, the “to win” odds are set based on each teams perceived chances of winning the game. If you bet on a favorite you will win less from the same risk amount, than if you bet on the underdog.
Continuing with this example, the Clippers are big favorites with -440 odds. This means a $440 bet on the Clippers would win $100.
The Spurs are the underdogs at odds of +320. A $100 bet on the Spurs would win $320.
Check out our sports betting odds page if you don’t understand the American Odds format.
The over/under bet involves wagering on the total number of points to be scored by both teams in the game. The oddsmaker will set a total and you can bet on whether you think there will be more (over) or fewer (under) points scored in the game.
The over/under for the Spurs vs Clippers game is set at 228.5 points. If 229 or more points are scored by both teams combined then the over bets are winners. If 228 or fewer points are scored the under bets are winners.
These are the three popular NBA bets that take a majority of the NBA action at the sportsbooks, but there are also a wide variety of prop bets you can make on each NBA game.
How To Bet On The NBA From California – 3 Step Guide
Follow these three steps to bet on NBA games online from California.
Step 1. Open A Bovada.lv Account
Click the above link to visit the Bovada website and complete the short registration form to create your account.
Bovada is the most popular betting site serving the United States market and our top rated site for California bettors.
Step 2. Deposit
After logging in click on the ‘Deposit’ button in the top right corner of the screen. Select your preferred deposit method and follow the instructions to complete your deposit.
Bovada accepts Visa, MasterCard, American Express, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USDT deposits.
All first deposits receive a 50% matching bonus up to $250. You do have to claim this bonus under you “My Rewards” page on the Bovada website.
Step 3. Bet On The NBA
Click on ‘Sports’ from the top navigation bar on the Bovada website and click ‘Basketball’ from the secondary sports menu. Select ‘NBA’ from the ‘Trending Competitions’ or ‘Basketball A-Z’ menus in the left sidebar.
Select the NBA wager you want to make, and enter your risk amount on the ‘Bet Slip’ in the right sidebar. Once you are happy with the bet(s) click on ‘Place Bets’ to lock in your wagers.
Here’s a screenshot showing some of the clicks:
That’s it! Ready to bet? Click here to visit Bovada.lv.