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Basketball betting guide


Basketball competitions betting

Basketball has become one of the most popular sports around the world. As the popularity of it continues to increase, so has the number of bets placed on basketball around the world. The rise of the NBA, NCAA, and major European leagues, has heavily increased the number of basketball bets placed everyday. It doesn’t matter whether you are an experienced basketball bettor or brand new to basketball betting altogether. This basketball betting guide will provide valuable insight into what it takes to become a successful basketball bettor.

basketball bettingBetting on the NBA

The NBA is also known as the National Basketball Association. It is said to be one of the most popular sporting leagues in the world due to its elite competition. This league accounts for the majority of basketball bets year after year. It has over 1,000 NBA games being played each season between 30 different teams. That’s a lot to bet on!

History of the NBA

The league was originally called the BAA (Basketball Association of America) and was formed in 1946. A few years later in 1949, the BAA had absorbed all of the clubs from rival leagues and thus the name was changed and the NBA (National Basketball Association) was formed. The NBA is a US based league, however, the Toronto Raptors are the one Canadian-based team currently in the league. The 30 NBA teams are separated evenly into two conferences, the Eastern conference and the Western conference. Each conference is divided even further into three divisions, with each division being comprised of five teams.

Logistics of the NBA Season

NBA Schedule

The regular season in the NBA consists of each team playing 82 games. Half of those games are at home, and half on the road. A team plays each of their division opponents four times per season for a total of 16 games. They will play six of the teams from other divisions in their respective conference four times per season. Additionally, they play the other four teams from other divisions in their respective conference three times per season. Lastly, a team will play each team in the other conference twice per season for a total of 30 games.

NBA Playoffs

The NBA playoffs consist of 16 teams, with 8 teams from each conference making the playoffs. The eight playoff teams in each conference contain three division winners, and the next five teams with the best records in their respective conference. The seeding is based on their win/loss record. The team with the best record is given the 1st seed, and the worst team is given the 8th seed. The opening round of the NBA playoffs sees the following seeded matchups: 1st vs 8th, 2nd vs 7th, 3rd vs 6th, and 4th vs 5th for each conference. The playoffs then follow a bracket style format with teams playing a best of seven series. The first team to win four games advances to the next round. Once each conference has a champion, the two teams will meet in the NBA finals and play a best of seven series to decide the outright NBA champion.

Explaining NBA Betting

This portion of the guide will discuss how to place basketball bets on the NBA. We will explain the diverse range of odds and methods available to place bets through the different bookmakers.

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Handicap betting in the NBA

This form of NBA betting is commonly referred to as a point spread or betting line. It’s the most traditional way of placing NBA bets. A point spread or betting line is an estimated final margin that a bookmaker will list for a game. To be more specific, bookmakers believe there is an even chance (50%) that the actual final margin will end on one side of the margin as it does the other. Let’s take a look at an example to help explain handicap betting in the NBA.


-Boston Celtics +9.5 -105

-Oklahoma City Thunder -9.5 -105

The name of the team is followed by the point spread which is then followed by the related odds. Take a look at the +/-9.5 bet. This is the number that the team you wager on will need to cover or fall within this margin. In this case, the Boston Celtics are the underdogs with a plus handicap. Oklahoma City Thunder are the favorites with a minus handicap. If you believe the Thunder will win by 9.5 points, you would place a bet on Oklahoma City -9.5. Conversely. If you believe Boston will win or lose by less than 9.5 points, you would bet on Boston +9.5.

Now, take a look at the -105. This number indicates how much actual money you can potentially win when placing your NBA bet. This is like the bets that we explained before with the negative sign. They indicate the amount of real money you would need to bet to win $100. In this case because the odds are -105, the bettor would need to wager $105 in order to win $100. It’s important to note if you win the bet you are returned the $105 you wagered in addition to receiving the $100 for winning the bet totaling $205 back). Odds that are displayed with a positive sign work differently and display your profit on a $100 wager. So if you won a bet with +125 odds, you would be returned your $100 wager along with receiving $125 for winning the bet for a total of $225 back.

Over under betting in the NBA

The high scoring nature of the NBA has increased the popularity of Over Under basketball betting. This type of betting can also be referred to as point totals. Over Under basketball betting can be characterized as a simpler form of sports betting. It deals with the total combined number of points scored in an NBA game. The bookmaker sets a line at what they believe will be the total number of points scored in a game. There’s a 50% chance that the total number of points will fall on either side of the line. Let’s take a look at an example to help explain Over Under betting in the NBA.

-Cleveland Cavaliers O 215.5 -110

-Golden State Warriors U 215.5 -110

This example shows that the bookmaker believes there is a 50% chance that the total number of points scored will be on either side of 215.5. With that being said, if you believed the total amount of points scored combined between the two teams would be over 215.5, you would choose to bet the over. Conversely, if you believe the total amount of points scored combined between the two teams would be under 215.5, you would choose to bet the under.

Moneyline betting in the NBA

Moneyline betting is thought to be the simplest form of basketball betting in the NBA. A moneyline bet is a head to head bet where you pick the team you think will win (includes overtime). This type of betting is so simple because there are no point spreads involved. The total amount of points scored by the two teams combined doesn’t matter either. All you need to do is bet on the team that you believe is going to win the game. If you are correct, you will be paid out at the odds the bookmaker set for that team winning the game.

Prop bets

Proposition bets are sort of in their own category. This is because this type of bet doesn’t involve wagering on the final outcome of an event or competition. These bets have a broad spectrum of what they can offer, but prop bets often involve statistics of individual players. Let’s take a look at some examples of prop bets to help you better understand how they work.

-Will James Harden score over 30 points in this game?

-Can Clint Capela get more than two blocks in this game?

-Will the Eastern Conference Championship go seven games?

Futures and outright betting in the NBA

This type of NBA betting goes beyond betting solely on one game. It involves betting on more important accomplishments later in the season including: NBA Championship Winner, Eastern Conference Winner, Western Conference Winner, Division Winners, NBA Most Valuable Player, and even more. The process is straightforward; you place a bet on the player or team you believe will win the championship, conference, division, or award and if you are correct you win the bet. NBA futures bets remain popular because it allows you to be interested in the league on a daily basis without having to bet on each individual game.

Places to make NBA bets

  • Leovegas
  • Skybet
  • GiocoDigitale
  • WilliamHill
  • Betclic
  • Snai
  • Unibet
  • Betfair
  • Netbet
  • Sisal

Betting on college basketball – The NCAA

The NCAA is the collegiate level of basketball in the United States. The origins of college basketball date back to 1891, and was started by a man named James Naismith. It has evolved enormously to become what we know of collegiate basketball today. For both men and women, college basketball in the United States is divided into three separate divisions. The divisions are primarily ranked by the size of the schools where the lower number divisions are typically for the larger schools and programs. Each division is then broken down even further into various conferences which contain different numbers of teams from each division. The teams are placed into either Division I, Division II, or Division III.

The NCAA tournament – March madness

Unlike the NBA, college basketball does not follow a traditional playoff path as the NBA does and other professional sports. March Madness is the post popular event in college basketball, and catches the attention of many basketball bettors around the world. March Madness is a tournament where 64 schools are selected and compete in a single-elimination style bracket tournament to decide who will be crowned the National Champion. The teams in the tournament are selected following the below criteria:

  • 32 teams receive automatic bids of entry by winning their respective conference championship
  • The remaining teams are selected by a selection committee ran by the NCAA

It is important to note that technically 68 teams are selected, however, the last four teams selected have to compete in playoff games before the tournament starts and aren’t technically part of the tournament

Betting on March madness

Single game bets

This is what we would refer to as the simplest bet to make throughout the tournament and is often popular because it enables you to hop into the action at any point during the tournament

Tournament winner bets:

This is often a popular basketball bet to place as it allows the bettor to place the bet before the tournament starts but also follow the team as the tournament progresses. This is a tough bet to win because your team has to be crowned the outright champion, but the risk is worth it because the payout is a lot higher.

The bracket bet

Without a doubt, this is by far the most popular bet to place during March Madness. Once the full bracket has been set and released, bettors are able to bet on the outcome of every game all the way down to the winner of the tournament. This style of betting is traditionally done in an “office pool style” or between a group of friends or family. Determining who has the “best” bracket is done in many different ways, but the most common is based on a point system where every correct pick you make earns points and correct picks in later rounds are given more weight and more points are awarded. The bracket that has been awarded the most points by the time the tournament is finished is crowned the winner and wins the money or the majority share of the money pooled.

Betting on European basketball

Dating back to the late 1900’s, European basketball was drastically different than the play of the NBA. In more recent years, the quality of European basketball leagues has seen major improvements and now provides high quality competition with a promising fan base.

Reason for improvement

The increase in competition in basketball leagues across Europe can be attributed to two major factors. The first reason would be the increase in the number of American players coming overseas which comes from players not drafted by the NBA or NBA veterans who leave the league and still have a lot to offer to a European roster. The second reason stems from most European nations beginning to heavily invest in their basketball leagues, especially the nations that have hosted Olympic games of FIBA World competitions in the past. Leagues like the Spanish ACB league are characterized by great equilibrium and face paced competition while serving as a possible fast track to the NBA draft.


The various types of basketball betting discussed earlier in the guide are the same for European basketball. However, in some minor leagues the bookmakers don’t pay much attention to the pace and average points scored. They often just make linear averages to compile a line for the Over Under Market. Keeping an eye on these lines is a good way to have an edge and make a promising wager. Another thing to keep an eye on are starting lineups. It is important when noticing lines and making wagers. The last thing to keep in mind is that bookmakers tend to overreact when one of the main players on the team is injured. Make sure to do some research about the team without the injured player and see how much his absence actually affects the team.

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