If you’re here, on this page, it means you’re thinking about, or have already decided to, bet on the NBA Finals. It might even mean that the NBA Finals are underway or perhaps on the verge of tipping off. And that’s naturally exciting. It is also a tad pressure filled. After all, this is the last chance you have to bet on actual NBA basketball games for a few months. Everything else will be offseason futures and props from here on out. Don’t let the finality of the NBA Finals put any more of a burden on you, though. [-]

This is a fun time of the year, and as long as you paid attention during the rest of the postseason, you’ll be primed to make some money.

For those planning to bet on the series outcome, it’s always best to do so before the NBA Finals actually start. The odds are better around that time. After games are played, they tend to crater unless you’re betting on the underdog.

Money can be made when gambling on the underdog in those instances, but it has to be the right opportunity. If the team to fall in the hole is also the underdog for the entire series, it’s not the greatest idea to bank on them turning things around, unless you know of an injury or just have some strange inkling you’re compelled to indulge.

Should the prohibitive favorite end up falling behind, even after Game 1, that’s a good time to pounce. The odds will shift back in the bettor‘s favor at that point, because squads that hold any sort of lead during the NBA Finals tend to close out the set as champions.

Statistically speaking, that would make your against the grain bet a possible dud. So be prepared to lose whatever you lay down. But if you’re looking for ways to pad your returns, investing in favorites turned (hopefully temporarily) underdogs is an avenue worth exploring.

Scroll down to see the lines for the next NBA Finals game. You’ll find the start time, spread, monelyine, over and under. [-]

And then be well on your way to finalizing your investment at the sportsbook of your choosing.

Since there is more time than normal in between games, make sure to keep checking the lines right up until you make your official wager. This will allow you to prepare for any shift in odds that may take place.

And in the event a key player gets injured or is planning a mid series return, don’t toss out any bets until you know the status of that player for the next game or the rest of the series. Even one return or absence can change the entire narrative surrounding an NBA Finals matchup, so jumping on early lines if there’s even a trace of uncertainty is too much of an unncessary risk.

NBA Finals Matchup

Consider this your NBA Finals matchup at a glance. It is like an entire schedule. View it to confirm start dates and times, and to remind yourself of the series score. [-]

You can also use this to try detecting any patterns that arise. The NBA Finals presents an irreversibly small sample size overall, but if you notice that the first two games of the series were close, or that they were low scoring, you can adjust your spread and over/under bets accordingly.

How To Win At NBA Eastern Conference Betting

Set yourself off on the right foot during the NBA Finals by recounting what has already taken place. In other words, use what you learned from the previous series to further your betting in this one.

Yes, playing the individual matchup is important. You want to figure out how Team X stacks up against Team Y, and you most definitely want to see how those two squads fared against one another during the regular season.

But past playoff rounds can help you as well. Neither of the NBA Finals participants will likely be struggling too much; they would not be in the championship round if they were plodding through hard times. But maybe you notice that one team isn’t shooting well from three-point range, which in turn compromises their entire offense and makes them easier to defend. That matters. It matters to the over/under, the spread and the overall series odds.

Teams sometimes also change their identities during the postseason. A strong, high octane offensive team could become more of a methodically paced defensive unit for the playoffs. Place more stock in the more recent identity, as it’s probably a harbinger of how they plan on playing in the NBA Finals–after all, it’s their playoff style, whatever it may be, that’s helped get them here, within four victories of the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Finally, since this is the time of year during which the NBA is shortest on betting options, feel free to dabble and experiment with prop bets—but in serious fashion. If, for example, the number of three-pointers Stephen Curry is expected to make in Game 1 is set at four, look back at how he’s been shooting during the entire playoffs. 

How many times has he drilled more than four triples? How many times has he hit less than four treys? And how good is the team he’s going up against at defending three-point shooters? 

This same approach will help you with player and team point, rebound, assist, steal, block and turnover totals, among many other potential prop bet possibilities. These wagers are intrinsically risky, because they’re supposed to be about luck more so than anything else. But with the right mindset—i.e. the willingness study past performances through the postseason—you can take some, or most, of the guesswork out of NBA Finals prop betting.