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NBA Betting in Massachusetts

NBA betting is expected to arrive in Massachusetts in time for the 2020-21 season.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has introduced one of numerous bills that would legalize sports betting in the state after the Supreme Court lifted a decades-long ban on sports betting outside of Nevada and allowed states to set their own rules. New Hampshire and Rhode Island have already rolled out legal betting platforms and Baker says he is confident Massachusetts will join its New England neighbors in time for the 2020-21 NBA season.

Though the bills have been stuck in the legislature for months, the early framework of what sports betting will look like in Massachusetts has started to take shape. Once legalized, Celtics fans will be able to place a wager at one of the state’s existing physical casinos or at an online or mobile platform. Users need only be 21 years of age or older and be physically located in the state in order to play.

Here is a quick rundown of where the NBA betting legalization push stands and what fans can expect when it arrives.

NBA Betting Boston

NBA Betting Massachusetts

A 2018 Supreme Court decision allowed states to legalize sports betting for the first time in decades. New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and other states quickly approved bills to legalize and regulate sports bets and other states like Rhode Island and New Hampshire soon followed. Not one to be left out, Massachusetts lawmakers have introduced about a dozen bills that would legalize sports wagers across the state.

Though the final details still need to be ironed out, the state is expected to allow existing casinos like the new MGM and Wynn casinos to take sports bets in person and online. The state is also expected to allow a small number of daily fantasy sports operators like Boston-based DraftKings and FanDuel to set up mobile betting platforms. The sportsbooks will be able to accept bets on any professional sports but not amateur sports like high school and college games.

How to Bet on NBA Games

Most NBA odds are displayed as point spreads or moneylines.

The point spread is the margin of victory the favorite must win by in order for your wager to win. Here is an example of what you might see at a sportsbook:

Celtics -3.5

Raptors +4

The Celtics are the favorite, which is denoted with a minus sign, and they are “giving up” 3.5 points, which means they must win by 4 or more for your bet to win. The Raptors are the underdog, which is denoted with a plus sign, and they are “getting” 4 points, which means they can lose by up to 3 points and still win the bet. A 4-point Raptors loss would be a push and you would get your money back.

Points spreads are used to even up lopsided matchups. Moneylines are similar but use higher payouts to entice betting on the underdog. For example:

Celtics -135

76ers +130

In this case, the margin of victory doesn’t matter. The moneyline shows the ratio between your bet and the payout. So a $135 bet on Celts would win you $100 while a $100 bet on Philly would net you $130 if they win.

Every sportsbook will also offer bets on the point total, allowing you to wager on whether the final combined point total will be “over” or “under” the projection set by the oddsmakers. Most sportsbooks will also offer prop bets, futures bets, and realtime in-game bets.