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How to Bet on Basketball and Win

how to bet on basketballAs far as popular betting on sports goes, basketball betting is the second most popular wagering option in the United States and many other parts of the world. NCAAB March Madness is up there with the Super Bowl and UEFA Champion’s League Final in terms of bet numbers. In addition, it is estimated that one in four sport betting fans bet on the NBA on a regular basis.

With the NBA and other basketball leagues continuing to grow in prominence and basketball being a very easy sport to bet on, it is unsurprising that basketball wagering continues to grow. Whether you want to bet on NBA games or the EuroLeague, you can do it all at the best online betting sites at a touch of a button.

To paraphrase Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan, getting the fundamentals of basketball betting is important or else you are going keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Luckily, we have put together a guide to help you understand the basics of betting on basketball.

Some of the areas we cover in our guide for learning how to bet on basketball include:

  • An explanation of betting lines and odds
  • Top betting tips
  • Rules for betting

We also list a load of the best online gambling sites for basketball lines, so that you can begin betting as soon as you feel ready!

Best Basketball Betting Sites 2021


$200 Bonus

97% Payout

Rating: 5/5

Rating: 5/5

$200 BONUS 97% Payout - Rating: 5/5

$250 Bonus

97% Payout

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$1000 Bonus

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Rating: 4.5/5

$5000 Bonus 99% Payout - Rating: 4.5/5

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Rating: 5/5

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$2,500 BONUS 97% Payout - Rating: 5/5

$1,000 Bonus

Rating: 4.5/5

Rating: 4.5/5

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Rating: 4.9/5

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Rating: 4.7/5

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$2,000 BONUS 97% Payout - Rating: 4.7/5

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$3,000 Bonus 98% Payout - Rating: 4.9/5

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Rating: 5/5

$2,500 BONUS 97% Payout - Rating: 5/5

Best Basketball Bets Today

Basketball Betting Links

basketball betting lines

Basketball Betting Lines Explained

Most basketball fans aren’t aware that there are many types of wagers available on basketball. For example, when you bet on the next Boston Celtics game, you aren’t limited to the option of who will win the game.

Moneyline Bet

Many new gamblers ask the question, “what does moneyline mean in basketball betting?” Well, this is the simplest bet in sports betting. With a moneyline wager, you are simply predicting who you think will win the game.

In fast pace sports that are slightly more predictable, such as basketball, these bets can be pretty predictable. For example, let’s say in the 2021 regular season, you have the Miami Heat (who qualified for the playoffs) playing the Cleveland Cavaliers (who came last in the Eastern Conference)

You already know who is more likely to win, so you aren’t going to win too much betting on the favorite.

Point Spread Bets

Point spreads were created to address situations in which there is a clear favorite. Spreads in basketball betting is pretty much the same as in football.

It is based on the favorites and underdogs concept, where favorites are expected to win. Sportsbooks set a favorite, which is then given a handicap to beat to make the odds on both teams a little closer to equal. NBA point spreads have grown incredibly popular for this reason.

A point spread line looks slightly different to a regular line. For example, here is a fictional spread line on a possible NBA basketball game:

Los Angeles Lakers +3½    -125

Golden State Warriors -3½  +115

In this line, the Warriors are considered favorites to win. But in order for this line to payout, the Warriors will need to win by more than three points if you choose to bet on them. However, a bet on the Lakers will payout if they win or if they lose by less than three points.

When the underdog is able to overcome the spread, it is called “covering the spread”. A favorite winning is called “beating the spread”.

Total Betting (or Over/Unders)

With this bet, you attempt to predict what the total combined score for the game. A sportsbook sets a number of predicted lines regarding the total number of points in a matchup. You can then bet whether the game will come in under or over this total.

If you think the game will be high scoring, you take the over. If you think that final scores will be low, then you take the under.

Props Bets

Also known as proposition bets, props have become quite trendy among basketball followers. These bets focus on an event rather than an outcome. Also, a bet can be made on a team or on an individual player.

For example, you can bet on Victor Oladipo to get a certain number of steals in an Indiana Pacers game. It doesn’t matter if the Pacers win the game, as long as Oladipo reaches that target, you’re golden.

Futures Bet

This is a long-term bet placed on an event that is set to take place in the future. For example, you could bet on the Celtics win the NBA finals at the beginning of the season. You are likely to get better odds on this line because it is hard to make such a prediction.

Even if a team looks as if they are going to win at the beginning of the season, a lot can happen that could change this. For example, Jayson Tatum could get injured and this could have a negative effect on the performance of the squad.

Because futures take long to payout and are very difficult to get right, we don’t recommend that you make too many of them.
basketball betting odds

Online Basketball Betting Odds

You need to know how to read betting odds if you’re going to bet on basketball. The sportsbooks we recommend use American odds, which we will explain here. But there are other types of odds systems (decimal and fractional), which you can read about in our odds guide.

So, when you visit an online sports betting site, lines will be displayed in the following manner:

Philadelphia 76ers +130

Brooklyn Nets -150

The number and the sign next to it tell you which outcome is favored and which isn’t. For example, in the above line, the Nets are favored to win. We are able to tell this due to the minus next to their name. We will have to bet more to win the same amount of money a $100 wager on the 76ers could win.

Essentially, all you need to do to calculate your potential winnings is use one of these two formulas based on the sign next to the team name:

  • Positive – Odds x (Stake/100)
  • Negative – (100/Odds) x Stake
basketball betting tips

Basketball Betting Strategy

While we won’t claim to be the best basketball betting tipsters online, we do have a few general tips that may help you make better wagers. These include the following:

Home Town Advantage is Real

Sportsbooks tend to believe that the home side is going to do better than their opposition in a match up and will provide them with favorable odds. With more than 61.2% of home games in the NBA ending in victory for the home team, it is unsurprising as to why they do this.

If you think an away team has a good chance of winning, we urge you to make some sharp bets. However, always be very cautious when placing a lot of money on an away team – you need to be sure.

Research, Research, Research

Make sure that you keep up to date with the happenings in the league you would like to bet on. Is Giannis Antetokounmpo injured? Chances are the Bucks are going to have a harder time winning their next few games.

Also, teams who play back-to-back are likely to hit a wall some time or another in a series of fixtures. In fact, teams win back-to-back road games only 44% of the time. So, knowing a team’s schedule is quite important.

In addition, look at where teams are situated and where teams are playing. For example, teams like The Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers are more likely to experience fatigue than others due to harsh travel schedules.

Shop for Odds

Make sure that you shop around for odds before placing a bet. Different sportsbooks have different odds for the same game. This means that you can make more on some bets at some sites than others. You really don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to make more cash do you?

Check out the basketball leagues you can bet on:

NBA Betting

Betting on the NBA

The NBA is one of the biggest sports leagues in the world, so a lot of sportsbook offer lines on matches. Due to the league’s popularity, there are often specific promotions available for betting on matches, especially the NBA Finals.

With game’s being a little more predictable than in other leagues, it is quite easy for a good basketball handicapper to make a lot of money very quickly with NBA betting.
ncaab betting

College Basketball Betting (NCAAB Betting)

College basketball also offers some interesting betting options. The college tournament happens yearly in March (which is why it is also known as March Madness) where the ultimate college basketball team wins the title.

The tournament is so exciting that it is one of the most bet on events in sports each and every year, especially when it comes to live betting.

how to bet on basketball

Basketball Betting Markets Explained – FAQs

Check out our other sports betting guides:

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