California NBA Betting Guide 2024

Fact Checked by Hunter Hewitt
LeBron James and Steph Curry will be popular for NBA betting in California

There are four really good California NBA teams who all could make legitimate postseason runs this season. Although California sports betting is still on the bench, there's a lot to be excited about and pay attention to this NBA season. Below, we'll walk you through everything you need to know about California NBA betting.

California NBA Landscape

Aside from the Boston Celtics, no team has been more successful over the years than the Lakers. But in the past decade, no team has been better for longer than the Golden State Warriors. The Kings, meanwhile, ended a 17-year playoff drought last postseason, and the Clippers have four superstars between James Harden, Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, and Russell Westbrook.

Upcoming NBA Season Outlook

If the Clippers stay healthy, they are as good as anybody. If LeBron James stays ageless, he can go to the NBA Finals for the 11th time. The Kings have a great shot at getting out of the first round of the NBA Playoffs if they can keep scoring and get a boost from incoming EuroLeague MVP Sasha Vezenkov. And you never know with Steve Kerr's Golden State Warriors, who have been to the NBA Finals in six of the past nine years.

Betting On The NBA In California

When Proposition 26 and Proposition 27 failed last November, it left an uncertain future for the prospect of legalized sports gambling in California. The tribal groups who have a monopoly on gaming in the state actually outspent the sports betting companies on advertisements, which gives you an idea of how powerful those groups are. 

Since sports betting is not yet legal in the state, Californians wanting to lay down some money on the NBA would have to cross state lines and place legal sports wagers in Arizona, Nevada, or Oregon, or cross the southern border to Mexico to do so.

There are also other alternatives such as the California social sportsbook or daily fantasy sites like FanDuel. While there's no chance of winning real money prizes with the platform, new bettors can get a sense of how real sports betting apps work by placing wagers with virtual credits. 

Must be 18+ to participate in CA. T&Cs apply.

Championship Odds

Every legal sportsbook in the United States posts NBA championship odds and they are different across various California betting apps, especially at this point of the season. For example, the Lakers are currently +2900 to win the championship at FanDuel Sportsbook but just +1800 on bet365. 

Futures markets tend to fluctuate much more widely compared to more traditional betting lines such as spreads or over/unders.

Regular Season Odds

During the regular season, most gamblers bet game lines: either the spread, total, or the moneyline. The spread basically adds or subtracts points from a team's final score. For example, if the Lakers are playing the Rockets and the line is Lakers -8.5, the Lakers must win by 9 points or more to cover the spread. If Houston lost by less than 9 or won outright, Rockets bettors would cash their bet. The moneyline is simply a wager on which team will win. Totals are bets on whether the combined points scored by both teams will be over or under a predetermined number. 

Depth Chart & Lineups 

Every NBA team has a depth chart that fluctuates over the course of the season due to injuries, trades, performance, and other factors. No team is ever immune from injuries, and a depth chart will tell you who can step in at a particular position if someone gets hurt. 

Playoff Chances

Eight teams make the NBA playoffs from both the Eastern and Western Conference, and there is a play-in tournament involving the teams that finished seventh through 10th to determine the No. 7 and No. 8 seeds. Sportsbooks list odds on every team's chances of making the playoffs. Keep in mind that the play-in tournament is NOT the playoffs, but some sportsbooks offer markets to bet on which teams will be part of the play-in tournament.

Los Angeles Lakers

LeBron James is the longest-tenured player in the NBA. James is about to compete in his 21st season in total and his sixth with the Lakers. He has several new teammates after Los Angeles added Gabe Vincent, Jaxson Hayes, and Christian Wood in the offseason, but this team's fortunes could depend on the health of Anthony Davis, who has not played more than 62 games during his four seasons in El Lay. (He has never played more than 75).

Los Angeles Lakers Championship Odds

The Lakers opened the season at +1200 which gave them the fifth-shortest odds to win the title. The only teams to open with shorter odds were the Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, Boston Celtics, and Phoenix Suns. The NBA's push to eliminate load management and have players and teams take the 82-game schedule more seriously is a noble pursuit, and if the Lakers stay healthy and have their stars for all 82 regular-season games they a contend with the defending champion Nuggets for the No. 1 seed in the West. Their offseason pickups of Vincent, Hayes, and Wood have made them a much deeper team.

Los Angeles Lakers Odds

In addition to the Lakers' odds of winning the NBA Championship, you can also wager on the Lakers to win the West, the Pacific Division, and their regular season win total.

Los Angeles Lakers Depth Chart & Lineup

The team has done a nice job of adding depth to the Lakers' starting lineup including players like Vincent. Taurean Prince, and Cam Reddish. Wood and Rui Hachimura are the backup power forwards behind Jarred Vanderbilt, and Hayes is the new backup at center behind Davis.

Los Angeles Lakers Playoff Chances

With the additions they have made, the Lakers should realistically compete with the Nuggets and the Suns for the No. 1 seed in the conference. Davis said in October that he wants to play all 82 games, but history has shown that to be unlikely. The tick for the Lakers, as with all loaded teams who have older players, will be staying in top shape by the time the playoffs arrive in mid-April. As we saw from the Miami Heat last spring, seedings really do not matter if the team is properly locked in.

Golden State Warriors

They were not good enough to get past the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the playoffs last season, and they addressed that disappointing finish by acquiring Chris Paul from Washington after the Wizards had acquired him from Phoenix in the Bradley Beal trade. The presence of Paul, an 18-year veteran, makes an already dangerous team a better playoff team in theory, as Paul has competed in 149 of them in his career. Adding him to a core that includes shooters Steph Curry and Klay Thompson and capable forwards Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green makes them better.

Golden State Warriors Championship Odds

Although the Golden State Warriors' odds to win the NBA Championship opened at a healthy +1300, those odds have fallen off dramatically to +4000 on DraftKings Sportsbook as of early January.

Golden State Warriors Odds

To open the season, the Dubs are +700 to get the No. 1 seed, +650 to win the West, +360 to win the Pacific Division, and have a win total set at 47.5. 

Golden State Warriors Depth Chart & Lineup

The Warriors depth chart is relatively top heavy with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson leading the way. Although Chris Paul is technically coming off the bench, he's averaging the third-most minutes per game for the team. Rookie Brandin Podziemski has already logged important minutes for the Warriors and has been part of the starting rotation.

Golden State Warriors Playoff Chances 

The Warriors were viewed as near-locks to make the playoffs at the beginning of the season, but their recent performance has caused their postseason chances to drop. As of mid January, the Warriors are +190 to make the playoffs per DraftKings. Converted to implied probability, this gives Golden State just a 34.5% chance of making the playoffs.

Sacramento Kings

Last year was a breakout season for the Kings as Mike Brown won Coach of the Year and Sacramento led the NBA in scoring with an average of 120.7 points per game. But in the first round of the playoffs against Golden State, the team with more chemistry and experience won as the Kings went down in seven games, losing the series finale at home by 20 points.

Sacramento Kings Championship Odds

Sacramento is listed at +5500 to win the championship, which would be the first for the franchise since 1951 when they were known as the Rochester Royals. A 72-year title drought is extraordinary, and the Kings' is the longest in NBA history by five years (the Hawks haven't won in 67 years, the Suns in 55.) That being said, the +5500 odds are quite long for a team that finished third in the West last year and improved by 18 victories. It remains to be seen how much Vezenkov helps them, but adding the reigning EuroLeague Player of the Year is no small thing.

Sacramento Kings Odds

Sacramento is +2500 to win the West and a surprising +900 to repeat as Pacific Division champions. The Kings are +2500 to be the No. 1 seed (strange, since those are the same odds as making it to the finals) and have a win total of 44.5. 

Sacramento Kings Depth Chart & Lineup

The Sacramento Kings' depth chart includes reigning Clutch Player of the Year De'Aaron Fox at point guard, backed up by Davion Mitchell. At shooting guard, Kevin Huerter will be backed up by Malik Monk and newcomer Chris Duarte. Harrison Barnes returns at small forward with Keegan Murray at power forward, backed up by Vezenkov and Kessler Edwards. Domantas Sabonis at center will have veterans JaVale McGee and Alex Len behind him.

Sacramento Kings Playoff Chances 

When you are the reigning Pacific Division champions and have added Duarte, Vezenkov, and McGee without losing any main contributors, on paper you should be better than last season. But here's the thing, again: The West is loaded, and Sacramento has not won a playoff series since 2004. But all streaks eventually come to an end, and the sportsbooks put higher-than-usual odds on the Kings because they draw very little action. If you believe in them, they are priced nicely.

Los Angeles Clippers

We have to wait and see if James Harden gets his wish and ends up with the Clippers, who are his desired destination as he seeks a trade from the Philadelphia 76ers. For now, Russell Westbrook is the starter at point guard, and there are concerns whether he has much tread left on his tires. Also, Paul George and Kawhi Leonard are the poster children for load management gone overboard, and both have and significant injuries during their careers. No team in the West is as dependent on staying healthy as the Clippers are. They are seeking to end a playoff series victory drought that has reached two years.

Los Angeles Clippers Odds

The Clippers have the sixth-shortest championship odds at +1300, with an over/under win total of 46.5. They are +1000 to in the West, +550 to win the Pacific Division, and +1100 to be the No. 1 seed.

Los Angeles Clippers Depth Chart & Lineup

As the entire NBA watched to see how the Harden situation would shake out, the Clippers came out of training camp in Hawaii with a depth chart that projects the starting five to be Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Kawhi Leonard, Nicolas Batum, and Ivica Zubac, which gives them a size advantage against pretty much everybody except Minnesota. The important backups are Terrence Mann and Bones Hyland at point guard, Norman Powell at the wing positions along with Kenyon Martin Jr. and Amir Coffey, Marcus Morris Sr. at power forward along with Robert Covington, and Mason Plumlee at center. Lots of experience there.

Los Angeles Clippers Playoff Chances

If they stay healthy, with or without Harden, they are pretty much a playoff lock. That is shown by the short odds we are seeing on them in all team categories. Matchups in the postseason will be the big key, and the Clippers are one of the few teams that can look at its preseason roster and say with confidence that there are no holes to fill or upgrades needed. They will make a trade if it is a no-brainer, but the most important person on the payroll is the team doctor.

Bet on the NBA In California

Car culture is a big thing in California, which is great for gamblers because they are going to have to cross state lines to gamble on sports for the foreseeable future. The 2022 election referendums were huge losses for the legal sports gambling companies, who have not been able to gain approval in three of the biggest states: California, Texas, and Florida. Another ballot measure will happen down the road in California, but for now "down the road" means a drive to Oregon, Arizona, or Nevada to place legal sports wagers.

California NBA Betting FAQs


Chris Sheridan

Chris Sheridan is a veteran NBA writer who has been covering the league since 1992, with a specialty in international basketball after being credentialed for every Olympics since 1996 in Atlanta. He has been covering sports gambling since 2018.

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