How to Bet On Basketball
As one of the most popular betting sports in the world, basketball attracts quite a bit of attention from the betting public during both the regular season and extended playoff run to a world championship or national title. Top-rated online sportsbooks such as HR Wager handle the bulk of the action betting on the games.
Betting basketball in the US centers on the NBA as the professional league and college basketball at the amateur level. The pros generally start their season in the fall with the best-of-seven postseason rounds extending into June with the NBA Finals. The college season starts in November and it culminates in March with the annual NCAA Tournament which crowns the national champs.
Betting Basketball Pointspreads
The most basic way to wager on any basketball game is the pointspread set between the favorite and the underdog. That spread can range from as little as a half a point all the way into the double digits. The highest pointspreads can be found in college basketball given the disparity between the top programs in the nation and the vast amount of teams playing Division I ball.
When betting the favorite, that team has to win by more points than the betting spread to cash in as a winner. The underdog in any game needs to lose by fewer points than the spread or pull off the actual straight-up upset to win the bet.
For example, if the Los Angeles Lakers are 10-point favorites against the Phoenix Suns, they would need to beat the Suns by at least 11 points to win the bet. If Phoenix can win the game straight-up or keep the margin of defeat to nine points or less, this would be the winning side in that bet.
If the actual margin of victory is Los Angeles by 10 points, the game would be declared a PUSH (or tie) to cancel out the betting action on either side.
Betting Basketball Total Lines
Another highly popular way to bet on basketball games is the OVER or UNDER on the total final score between the two teams. The betting lines for college games can be as low as 110 points and the totals for certain NBA games can be as high as 250 points.
The OVER or UNDER on any basketball game pertains to the final combined score even if the game is ultimately decided in overtime. A winning bet on the OVER would need a total combined score that is at least one point higher that the actual betting line. A successful wager on the UNDER needs a total combined score that is one point lower than the set total line.
For example, if the total line for the Lakers vs. Suns game was 220, the total combined score of that game would have to be 221 points or higher for the OVER to pay off. The winning side would be UNDER if that total score was 219 points or lover. If it happens to be 220 points on the nose, that bet would be declared a PUSH.
Betting Basketball Moneylines
Most basketball games will also have moneyline odds. This is a straight-up head to head bet on the winner. It will cost you more to win less betting the favorite. You can win more money than your wager betting the underdog.
For example, if Los Angeles is set at a -200 favorite, you would have to risk losing $200 to win $100 betting the Lakers to win. Phoenix might be set as a +180 underdog on the moneyline odds. Betting the Suns to win the game straight-up could return $180 on a $100 bet if they go on to pull off the upset.