How to bet on Basketball
If you are new to betting on basketball or if you are looking to expand your knowledge. We have built a basketball betting guide to help your wagering. We cover the basics from how to read a betting line, money line bets, and we have some more advanced topics like betting on a teaser or prop betting advice. If you can’t make it to Las Vegas to wager, we have a guide to betting on basketball from anywhere. Good luck and let’s start with the most basic NBA betting of all….
Reading a Basketball (NBA) Line
Sportsbooks will list basketball odds in a fairly similar manner. However, there will be minor variations in how teams are posted. Many books will give you the odds on a game with one team on top of another, while others may list one team on the left and the other on the right. Whatever the case may be the first team listed is always the visitor and the second is the home club.
Basketball betting line example:
101 Boston Celtics +4
102 Miami Heat -4 201.5
The first thing you’ll see will is the rotation number. The numbers run sequentially. If the Boston Celtics are playing the Miami Heat in Miami, and the Celtics, who are listed first as the visitor, are number 101, then the Heat will be 102. The next thing you will see are the team names. This is followed by the points spread. In this one the home Miami Heat are four-point favorites over the away Boston Celtics. The next thing you see listed is the over/under or total for that game. To prevent a push, this number will usually be expressed as a decimal and not as a whole number. The over/under is a projection of the total number of points that will be scored in the game by both teams. The sports bettor is wagering on the point total for that game as either being over or under the number on the odds listing.
How to bet on a Basketball Money line
Money line basketball betting is simple and very popular in all major team sports, including soccer, baseball, football and hockey. To make a wager, all you have to do is pick the team you believe will win the game outright. The sportsbooks will set the lines on each team. The favorites will be represented by lower odds while the underdogs will be given higher odds. The favorite will be a negative number while the underdog will be a positive number.
Example of a money line bet
103 Chicago Bulls -9 (-110) Money Line (-200)
104 New Jersey Nets +9 (-110) Money Line (+175)
In this case the bet on New Jersey would win $175 for every $100 bet. The total back on your ticket would $275. The $175 that you won and your $100 you bet. If you were to bet on the favorite Chicago Bulls. Your $100 bet would return $150. The $50 you won and your original $100 bet. As you can see there is a great incentive to win some decent cash by betting on dogs. The problem is that they do not always win outright. Many times, you will see a team cover the point spread and still lose the game. If you can hit a few of these money line dogs they can more than make up for a several that fail to win.
The lines in college basketball can have a much bigger point spread and money line betting range due to the greater variance in talent in college basketball compared to the NBA. In the NCAAB, there are over 300 teams on the betting rotation. This can lead to some real mismatches. When you make this type of bet on the window in a sportsbook. Just let them know that it is a money line bet and then tell the betting number and the amount you are wagering. A very simple bet to get started with.
How to bet on a Basketball Total
When you place a basketball total bet such as an NBA over/under bet, you are focused on one single statistic of that game – the total number of points scored in the game by both teams combined. Over/under betting may also be available for each quarter or half of a game.
A basketball total example:
105 Los Angeles Lakers -1 209.5 o-115
106 Toronto Raptors +1 209.5 u -105
In this example, the total number of points for a game between the Lakers and Raptors is set at 209.5 points. If the Raptors win the game 109-104, the final combined score is 213. If you bet the over in that game, your wager would win. However, if the Raptors won the game 97-94, the final combined score is 191 and bettors who wagered on the under would win. Sometimes a total does not contain a decimal. In this game we have the total at 209.5 to prevent a push. In the event the total was 209 and the combined score of the two teams was 209. Then the bet would be a push. On a straight bet you would get your original bet back. If it is on a parlay, then most sportsbooks would consider the bet no action but the remainder of bets on the parlay would still be considered in play.
The same holds true for college basketball betting. The totals in college basketball are usually lower than in the NBA. In the NBA there will always be a total listed for every game in the rotation. For college basketball with over three hundred teams in the rotation there will be many games without a total posted. Some of the best betting opportunities are in college totals betting. Since there is less action and some of the games offer lower wagering limits. There is not as much incentive for the sportsbook too put to much time into getting a total right. If you are betting less than a couple of thousand on a game this can lead to some pretty soft lines in your favor.
How to bet on Basketball Point Spreads
When you play the point spread, you are not betting whether your favorite NBA team is going to win or lose a game; you are betting how many points they may win or lose by.
Point spread betting can make the most lopsided game interesting. You can bet on the expansion team to rise to the occasion and not lose by 20, or wager that the defending champion will win in a blowout. Or maybe that underdog road team keeps it close against a heavily favored team playing on home court.
Point spread betting lines are recognizable by the use of the + or – symbols.
When a team has a point spread line with a plus sign (+), it indicates that the team must win the game outright or lose the game by fewer number of points than what is indicated in the line.
When a team has a point spread line with a minus sign (-), it indicates that the team must win the game by a greater number of points than what is indicated in the line.
A typical point spread betting line will look something like this:
105 Los Angeles Lakers +3.5
106 Toronto Raptors -3.5
With a point-spread line of 3.5, the Lakers must win the game outright or lose by three points or less to cover the spread and be graded as a win. Conversely, the Toronto Raptors must win by at least four points to cover and be graded as a win.
At times, oddsmakers will set the point spread on a whole number like 3, 6 or even 10. In cases like these, if the favored team wins by the exact number set for the spread, the bet is considered “a push” and the risk amount of your bet would be returned to you. For example, if the Raptors were 7-point favorites and they won by seven points, any wager on the Raptors at -7 would result in a push.
Every now and then you’ll come across a game without a spread. This is called a pick’em where each team is given even odds to win the game. Since no points are given or taken away in a pick’em, the team that wins the game is the team that wins the bet.
Your payout is determined by the moneyline odds attached to the point spread. A negative number (such as -170) shows how much money you must wager to win $100, while a positive number (like +150) shows how much money you will win if you place a $100 wager.
Typically, the odds given on the spread are -110 unless otherwise noted. Oddsmakers may adjust a line in the days and hours leading up to a game based on how bettors are responding to the line. This is done in an effort to balance the action.
You can also place point spread bets on a specific portion of a game – when first half, second half or quarter lines are offered.
How to bet a Basketball Parlay
A basketball parlay is a common type of bet. Let’s say, you have done your homework and are ready to make your wagers. You think the Miami Heat are a lock at home against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Chicago Bulls lead their division as they prepare to play Toronto. But you like the Raptors, who are undefeated during their current homestand. With a basketball parlay betting you can combine multiple selections in a single bet, resulting in a wager that typically offers a bigger payout because of the increased risk. Here’s how it works.
Basketball parlay example:
Suppose the Toronto Raptors (-3) are playing the Chicago Bulls. At the same time, the Miami Heat (-8) are playing the New Orleans Pelicans. You’ve done your research and believe both the Raptors and the Heat will cover their respective point spreads. Instead of placing two separate bets, you can place a parlay linking the two individual bets together. If you bet correctly on both games, you’ll win. However, if one of the teams fails to cover, you’ll lose.
You can also place a parlay on the moneyline and the over/under of an NBA game. In fact, you can place a parlay that includes those lines and a point spread line all in the same parlay wager.
For example, let’s say you wanted to take the Raptors (-3.5), the Heat (-120) and the over in the game between the Memphis Grizzlies and New York Knicks (195.5). You believe that the Raptors will win by at least four points, the Heat will win outright, and the Grizzlies/Knicks game will have a total combined score of at least 196 points.
Instead of placing three separate wagers (one-point spread, one moneyline and one over/under wager) you can place a three-team NBA basketball parlay wager. If your parlay wins, the payout will be significantly greater than the sum of the payouts from three separate straight wagers. Keep in mind, in order for you to win this three-team parlay, each of your parlay legs must win. If any leg of your parlay loses, your entire wager will be a loss. However, let’s say that one of your legs resulted in a tie when the Raptors only win their game by three points. Don’t worry, your wager isn’t a loss. That bet on your parlay will be a push and your parlay will reduce to a two-team parlay.
If your basketball parlay wager gets reduced down to one team because of a push then the entire parlay will be considered a push, and your bet will be returned to you.
How to bet on a basketball teaser
A basketball teaser bet is common wager for sports betting professionals. Don’t like the point spread in a game where your favorite team is playing on home court? Or maybe you need a slight edge to feel good about taking the over. With teaser betting, you have the power to adjust betting lines to your advantage.
NBA teaser bets are like parlays in that a teaser contains between two and 10 selections. But that is where the similarities end. When you are betting on NBA games with a teaser, you can adjust the point spreads and over/under lines offered by oddsmakers, improving the odds in your favor.
Three types of NBA teasers are available: 4, 4.5 and 5-point teasers. Depending on the number of selections you choose to bet, you can also play sweetheart teasers which enable you to adjust a betting line by 8 or 10 points.
In order for you to win an NBA teaser bet, all the selections in the bet must be correct.
Suppose the Toronto Raptors are listed at -2.5 and are playing the New York Knicks who are listed at +2.5. At the same time, the Miami Heat have a posted line of -8 playing against the New Orleans Pelicans, who have a line of +8. Based on your research, you think that the Raptors and Heat will cover their respective point spreads, but you’d like a little breathing room. By placing a 4-point teaser, you can change their spreads to +1.5 and -4. This way, there is the possibility that your bet could still be a winner, even if the Raptors lose the game. For example, if they lost by no more than a point and the Heat won by more than four points, your wager would be graded as a win.
In addition to teaser betting on the point spread, you can also place a teaser on the total (over/under) of any given NBA game.
Basketball Teaser example:
Let’s say the total for the Raptors/Knicks game is set at 201 and the line for the Heat/Pelicans game is 194. You want to take the under in the Raptors game and the over in the Heat game. In a teaser bet, the line always moves in your favor, so in a 4-point teaser using the lines above, the under bet on the Raptors game goes from 201 to 205 and the over bet on the Heat game goes from 194 to 190.
In order to win the wager, the Raptors and Knicks have to score less than 205 points combined (as opposed to less than 201 points) and the Heat and Pelicans must score more than 190 points combined (instead of more than 194 points).
You can even place a teaser bet that includes the point spread and total in the same wager, but don’t forget, the added comfort comes with a price. Where a parlay on a selection might pay 2.7/1, a 4-point teaser might pay even money (i.e., you would win $10 on a $10 teaser bet instead of $27 on a $10 parlay wager).
How to make a Basketball Prop Bet
Basketball Prop Bet? Why should I make a basketball prop bet? Because you have already done a lot of the research, even if you do not know it. If you play daily fantasy basketball, then you already understand the most important aspect of prop betting. You need to remove how the team will do and focus on how one player will do. These are player prop bets on NBA players or in some big games they are available on college basketball players. These bets will mirror the type of research you find in daily fantasy sports sites. In fact, before you make a prop bet on a player I would look at Rotogrinders and Draftkings playbook to get a good understanding of the match up the player faces in the game.
The definition of a Basketball Prop Bet
A prop bet is a wager that has no direct relationship to the outcome or final score of a single NBA game. They typically come in the form of player or team prop bets.
Team props bets usually relate to how a specific NBA team will perform over the course of a season. This includes over/under wagering on the number of regular season wins by a certain NBA team.
Player prop bets focus on how a specific player will perform over the course of a season, including whether they win an award such as NBA MVP or Rookie of the Year. Player prop betting may also focus on an NBA player’s in-game performance, such as how many points the player will score during a game.
Basketball prop bet examples. I could write a nice long example but here is a picture of real odds.
The yes odds on Curry getting a double double in this game are +275 and the no odds are -350. If you have done your daily fantasy sports picks for the game, then you already have an idea on how Curry will do. The thing about prop betting is you are not just left with only bets on star players. In this game Bovada offered 175 bets. Most of the bets were player and team proposition bets.
A prop bet is no different than any other type of bet on the game. Just be aware that most sportsbooks do not let you parlay a prop bet, so ask ahead of betting.
Basketball Live Betting Strategy
Basketball Live Betting has become so popular for a couple reasons. For starters it is a lot of fun and second, it allows interaction and wagering throughout the entire sporting event. For me though, the big reason I like live betting is that I get a chance to watch both teams play for 5 or 10 minutes BEFORE making my bet. There are some excellent value bets in live sports betting. The key to it is keeping a level head and watching for the wagers that are as close to even or a little off as possible.
A situation I love in College Basketball Live Betting is the favorite falling behind in the first half. Take a team that is favored by 7.5 points before the game but is trailing 35 -30 late in the first half or early in the second half. The line will adjust, and I can usually get the “favorite” as a pick to win the game. This is one of those times watching the game pays off. If you notice that the dog has been lucky on hitting three-point baskets or everything went right in the first half then bet against luck and bet on talent. The reduced odds available when a favorite is behind early in the second half is the primary reason I bet on in play basketball. Another thing to look out for is injuries. It might seem cold, but it is very profitable in basketball. There are only 5 guys on the court and in college basketball the talent pool isn’t that deep. If a team is really dependent on one player and I see him get hurt or in deep foul trouble. Yes, I pick up my phone and grab the other side. This is also true of blow out games. Watch for the coach to put in his scrubs. When he does it is a great time to bet the other side and take the points.
Basketball Live "in-play" Wagering
Live Betting on Basketball games can be very lucrative if you know your team. It is not enough to be a fan but you also need to know how your team will change its strategy in each situation. That is one thing I tell every gambler who is thinking about live betting. Pick one team and know it better than the announcers. If you know when the coach will take out the stars or when some of the players look like they are taking a night off. Then you can score big in live betting.
I always ask people. If you had been able to watch the first five minutes of a basketball game before you bet. Do you think you could win more money? If the answer is yes….then move over to Basketball Live Betting.