How to bet on Basketball?

Betting on basketball is simple and it is one of the easier sports to research trends on, you have to study the teams and trends like home wins, road wins, what teams are more rested and which players are injured. There are several bet types that are used when betting on NBA and NCAA basketball games and here you can take a brief look into each and explain how each bet type works.

Point Spread Betting

The point spread is the most popular way to bet on basketball. A typical point spread for basketball might look like this:

• Lakers -8.5 -110
• Warriors +8.5 -110

In this example the Lakers have to win the game by 9 or more points for you to win your bet and the Warriors can lose by 8 or fewer points for you to win if you bet on them.

If the score of the game was Lakers 98, Warriors 90 and you took the Warriors +8.5 you would win. With the spread, the score becomes Lakers 98, Warriors 98.5 and vice versa if you took the Lakers -8.5.

Money Line Bets

A money line bets does not use a point spread; this bet type offers differing odds on each team based on how they match up. For example, it requires a larger bet on the favorite than the underdog to have the same profit. Negative and positive money lines are calculated differently.

Negative money lines indicate the favorite to win a game. Negative money lines are represented with a minus sign (-) and the number that follows the minus sign represents the amount of money that you need to risk in order to take a $100 profit.

Positive money lines indicate the underdog in a game. Positive money lines are represented with a plus sign (+) and the number following the plus sign indicates that amount of money that you can win for a $100 wager. This is opposite from a negative money line. Here’s an example:

• Knicks -170
• Bobcats +150

In this scenario the Knicks are the favorites to win the game and it would require a $170 bet to win $100 and for the underdog Bobcats a $100 bet would result in a profit of $150 if they win the game.

Over/Under Bets

Also called totals or points betting, Over/Under bets are based on the combined score of both teams in a game. If the final score is 102-94, the total is 196. If the final score is 112-104, the total is 216.

The sportsbooks set a number that they think will draw even betting on each side. If you think that the number is too high you can bet the Under and if you think it’s too low you can bet the Over.

Futures Bet

In a futures bet you pick a team to win something well in the future, like the NBA or NCAA Championship. These bets can also be placed on divisional or conference winners. While these bets can be placed during the season, as teams start to stand out from the rest the odds change dramatically. For example, the Boston Celtics might be at +1400 to win the Atlantic Division before the season starts but if they start the season well, the odds will go down.

Basketball Specials

Also called prop bets or exotics, special bets are generally designed for casual players but sometimes these bet types offer value to more serious players as well. Specials are more difficult to predict and have a larger juice than other bet types.

You can find dozens of specials on individual player achievements or team achievements on NBA and NCAA games. Here are some examples of basketball specials:

• Over/Under on how many points a player will score in a game
• Over/Under on how many assists a player will have in a game.
• Which team will score first?
• Which team will be first to score 20 points, 30 points, etc.?
• Over/Under on how many points a team will score in a particular quarter or half


Accumulators, also known as parlays, are a great way to turn a small bet into a huge payday. In an accumulator bet you can pick 2 or more teams that you expect to win and combine them in a single bet. The more teams you add to your accumulator, the more money you can win. The downside is that every team on your bet must win or the entire bet is a loss.

Basketball Live Betting

Live bets are placed during the game while it’s being played. Live betting has become more popular, it is fun because most live bets offer instant gratification. Some sportsbooks offer bets on which player will score next, or if certain player will score over 30 points or grab over 10 rebounds. This can make a game more interesting but the downside is that live bets are essentially specials, which means that the juice is often higher than point spread bets or money line bets, offering you less value.