Everything You Need To Know About Betting On Basketball

Welcome to our guide to basketball, where we’ll go into great depth about all aspects of this great sport. We’ll get started with a history of the sport where we’ll discuss its less-than-auspicious origins. After this, we’ll move onto discussing the betting side, where we’ll introduce you to a range of basketball bets, so you can bet with confidence and ease. Worry about bet types and how to formulate an effective strategy will be a thing of the past after you’ve read through our guide, and don’t even get us started on the betting insider terms. You’ll know exactly what they mean.

As the industry leader in providing useful information on a range of betting markets, we’ll also direct you to the best sites to find basketball bets. We consider bonuses, odds and website reliability before recommending a bookmaker to you. That’s why you can be assured that we are a betting tip website you can trust. Lastly, we’ll give you some advice on placing basketball bets. Our top tips on basketball will give you the welcome boost you need to get started with basketball betting.



Before we get on to how to bet on basketball, let’s familiarise ourselves with the game itself.

The History Of The Game

While basketball is now known for its celebrity courtside viewings, big contracts, and high-intensity action, the original game was designed to be a sedate affair. The sport was created by Dr. James Naismith in 1891, a Canadian educator who worked at the YMCA in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith was tasked with the job of creating a sport that his physical education students could play inside to withstand the harsh winters the state often encountered.

The game Naismith produced took elements of rugby, lacrosse, football (soccer), baseball and American football. Dribbling was not yet introduced. Equipment was basic. No special basketball was used originally. Instead, players used a football (soccer) ball to play. Players tossed the ball into peach baskets pinned to the wall.

The game was so popular within the YMCA that its rules were added to the YMCA magazine for other groups to play. Within a few years, the first basketball was created, and colleges took up the sport. Commercially, however, professional basketball was a flop thanks to the Depression in the 1930s. This changed when the NBA was founded in 1946 in New York. Getting off to a rough start amid difficulty appealing to the masses and point fixing within existing basketball leagues, they plodded on regardless. By the 1950s the sport had gained mainstream popularity and has continued to grow to this day.

Huge Sporting Spectacle

Aside from the rumours of match-fixing, there have been plenty of other shocking events and exciting results in basketball. None perhaps attracts attention like the fifth game of the 1976 NBA finals between the Boston Celtics and the Phoenix Suns. Going into the penultimate game, the teams were tied two-games-a-piece.

Before the finals, Boston appeared the clear victors on paper. The Phoenix Suns had been created just a decade earlier after a team expansion, whereas Boston had an impressive history. The game that followed told a different story. Boston eventually went on to triumph 128-126 after a hard-fought win that went into triple-overtime. Fouls rained down on both teams and clock controversies occurred. It was a substitute player, the seldom-used Glenn McDonald, who scored the final six points for the team, leading them towards their NBA Championship win.

Chicago Thrill vs Utah Jazz

Basketball’s popularity expanded, but it wasn’t until the 1990s that the rest of the world took notice. In 1998, the NBA finals between Utah Jazz and the Chicago Bulls showcased the best basketball has to offer. The Bulls lost the first game of the finals but won the three that followed. It looked like a closed case. However, after Utah won the fifth final, a sixth game was played. Utah and the Bulls were neck-to-neck all the way through before an exciting 20-footer by basketball legend and he-of-the-Nike-trainer-fame, Michael Jordan clinched the game in Chicago’s favour 87-86 in edge-of-the-seat action!

Different Types Of Basketball Bets

Like most sports, there are various types of bets available for basketball games. The majority of bookmakers will offer the two most popular bets: the outright winner of a basketball match and the winner of a specific tournament. For those looking for a bookmaker with a little extra, Betting.org have got you covered. Not only do we have lots of advice on how to bet on basketball, but we’ll run through a glut of different basketball sporting bets, so you know exactly what markets are available. By the time we’re done, you’ll know exactly how to bet on the NBA and other basketball events.

Outright Winner

This type of bet is pretty self-explanatory. You are wagering on the outright winner of a single match or an overall tournament. Let’s say you’re interested in NBA betting and think that the Golden State Warriors have a good chance of taking the crown. In that case, you may be tempted to bet on them winning the finals, so you make an outright winner bet. Unlike bets that allow a margin of error, an outright winner bet will only pay out if the outcome occurs exactly as you bet. In other words, the Warriors would have to win the NBA finals and become NBA champions. There’s no room for second best.

While this type of bet doesn’t allow for second-best, it is a very simple bet to place. This means it is a favourite for newcomers who want to start betting on something simple to get started with. It’s also worth noting you have the option to join numerous outright winner bets together to form an accumulator should you so wish.

Point Spread

Point spread betting is a little more complicated than the outright winner, but when you get used to it you may find it’s one of your favourite betting types.

There are two teams in a basketball match and each of these is given odds. With a point spread, you will have one team with a plus number and one with a minus. As an example, let’s use Utah Jazz and the LA Lakers.

Utah Jazz are -4.5 and the Lakers are given +4.5. Those betting on Utah would need them to win their game with 4.5 or more points to win their bet. Betting on a wager with a + means you are betting on an underdog. If you bet on a + team your bet will be paid out either if your team wins the game outright or loses by less than the value of points. In our example, that would mean losing by less than 4.5 points.

Player To Score The Most Points

This is a simple bet where you are given a list of popular basketball players that are taking part in a tournament. For example, a list of players who are competing in Euroleague or NBA tournament. Each of these players will have their own odds next to their name. Your task is to choose the player that you feel will score the most points over a tournament or season. If you’re right, your bet wins. If you don’t correctly pick the right high scorer, your bet loses.

It pays to think about basketball betting strategies when it comes to basketball betting. One of the best ways of minimising risk is to do research, and this bet type is relatively easy to research. Look at the current form of the players in the list and use your own knowledge of previous games and particular basketball teams to make an informed bet on your chosen player.

Team Total Odd/Even

A team total odd/even bet is a two-part bet. In this example, we’ll use Boston Celtics vs Cleveland Cavaliers. You will be able to choose from two sets of odds for both teams; odd or even. The odds for all events will always be the same, too: 10/11.

So, how do you bet on basketball odd/even bets? There are two decisions to make for this bet. The first is whether you are going to bet on Cleveland Cavaliers or Boston Celtics. Let’s for argument’s sake choose the Celtics. You then choose either odd or even. Let’s say we pick odd. This represents the points Boston will score during the game. For this bet to pay out, we want Boston Celtics to finish the game with an odd number of points.

Odds/even bets can be combined with other bets; for example the winner of the game and whether their score is odd or even. You can also wager on the odd or even score of a team at halftime or at the end of each quarter rather than at game finish.

Race To 20 Points

The last bet type we’ll take a look at is the race to 20 points betting option. As the name suggests, your bet will only pay out if you correctly predict the team that scores 20 points in a game first. As basketball is such a quick-paced sport, this can happen surprisingly rapidly, allowing those who just can’t wait for results to be sated quickly.

For those looking for multiple bets, some bookmakers offer other points bets that you could combine with this one. For example, a final score bet or the odds/even bet from earlier. This adds another level of excitement to your basketball betting, and of course, your potential winnings.

Basketball betting is very popular, and you’ll find that most of the larger sized bookmakers have a healthy selection of basketball bets. Next up, we’ll talk about the bookmaker we think is best for basketball betting. Who is it? There’s only one way to find out.


Best Bookmaker For Basketball Betting

We found Betway to not only be one of the better UK bookmakers, but also a great bookmaker if you’re interested in placing basketball wagers. Created in 2006, the UK-made bookie has grown to include a wide selection of bets on sports, casino, and poker tournaments.

There’s no doubt that their wide basketball betting options were contributed to this success. You’ll find a huge choice of European, Australian and US basketball matches available, as well as numerous markets to choose from. Bets can be selected on total scores and winning margins, as well as double-result bets. There’s also Betway’s #BetYourWay promotion, which offers wagers on unusual markets such as a specific player scoring more than 50 points.

Don’t worry if you are wondering how to bet on basketball wagers. Just scroll to the bottom of the basketball betting page. Here, you’ll find links to basketball betting tips, info on NCAA wagers and even in-play information to help you research your bets.

For fans of live betting, you’ll also find plenty of choices when it comes to basketball. We found live betting from Italy Serie A2, Poland, and the US. While there was no live streaming available of the events we saw, we’re assured that Betway does have live streaming available on bigger events.

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Popular Basketball Betting Terms

When you first start betting on basketball it’s natural to ask, “How does basketball betting work?” After all, the number of different betting markets and terminology can be confusing. But don’t worry, we’ve got the primer you need to make a positive start when it comes to basketball betting.

  • Parlay — Another name for an accumulator bet. Two or more bets are combined for a bigger return.
  • Moneyline — Betting on the winner of a match.
  • Prop (proposition) bets — Bets on aspects that don’t affect the outcome of a match, like race to 20 point bets.
  • Team Total Odd/Even — A bet where you wager on whether a team’s overall score will be odd or even.
  • Futures — A bet that will not happen until a future event, for example, bets on a team winning a series or bets on a team winning a series from behind.

Top Tips For Betting On Basketball

It’s natural to be a little nervous when betting, especially when betting on a sport you’re a relative newcomer to. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with some top tips on basketball betting. Even if you’re a novice bettor, these should help you feel more confident when placing your wagers.

Check Odds

Different bookmakers have different profit margins, which is one of the reasons why odds vary from one bookmaker to another. We’ve named Betway our recommended bookmaker for basketball betting, but it’s always wise to check the odds of other bookmakers before placing your bets. This will ensure that you get the best deal available. At Betting.org, we have our very own Odds Comparison Tool which scours the internet finding the best odds. It’s incredibly simple to use, too: just type in your team of choice and the tool will work its magic.

Use Live Betting To Your Advantage

Live betting has come a long way over the past few years, gaining more reliability as the web technology that supports it improves. With this increased reliability has come more live betting markets than ever before.

While more live bets offer punters more choice, it also allows punters the chance to capitalise on fluctuating odds. With fixed odds betting the odds you are given before the event do not change. That means if you bet on a football team at 6/1 and they win, you receive winnings equivalent to six times your initial bet. With live betting, the odds could vary depending on the team’s state during their match. You may find a team 41-12 down, but you still think they’re going to win. While their odds may have been 6/1 before the match, they’re now 8/1 as they’re now at a disadvantage. Bet now during live play and if the team ends up winning, the return to you will be higher.

Research A Team Before Betting On Them

This is such an important part of betting and can be the difference between winning and losing a bet. Taking the time to check out the form of the team you’re going to bet on is absolutely vital to your chances of betting success. You need to know if there are any injuries to key players or any other issue that might disrupt the team performance. By doing a small amount of research first, you can really boost your ability to formulate a good betting strategy. When it comes to betting on basketball, there’s no such thing as too much knowledge.

Bet On Familiar Teams

Carrying on from our previous point, it’s important to refrain from betting on teams you are unfamiliar with. While basketball may be your favourite sport in the world, don’t bet on obscure basketball leagues without prior in-depth research. This is just a recipe for disaster. Instead, bet on those markets that are familiar to you. Perhaps you’re an NBA fan, or maybe you like to bet on the UK scene? Whatever your preference, stick to one or two familiar leagues and try and learn as much about the teams in those leagues as possible. That way if a tempting bet does come up at your favourite bookmaker, you’re in a good position to take advantage.

Never Overstretch Your Budget

You’ll need to set a budget for your betting. The best way of calculating a budget is to work out how much spare cash you have available then set aside a small percentage of it for gambling. While your budget may not be as much as you would like, it’s important to keep a hold on your finances by ensuring you don’t go over your budget level. This is particularly easily done if you’re prone to betting to recoup losses. To counteract this, you can opt to set a deposit limit in your account. Alternatively manage the situation by removing yourself from the computer, phone or tablet when your bets are going against you. Walking the dog, making a cup of tea or doing the weekly shop can all take your mind off the issue for long enough to get your emotions back in check and ensure you don’t feel tempted to chase losses.


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