Basketball is an absolute must in every sports bettor's repertoire. Why? Because the sport is poised to grow even more in the coming years. Think about it — the NBA is America's second-favorite league, NCAA March Madness is a peak betting moment annually, and basketball leagues in foreign countries continue to rise in popularity. Given this surge in worldwide interest, basketball betting is a must.
And that's why we're here — to give you the "lay of the land" when it comes to basketball betting. Over the course of this guide, we're arming you with the know-how to succeed at wagering on basketball. That includes the best online sportsbooks, basketball betting terms, and of course, how to bet basketball tips!
Online Basketball Betting
The number of online sportsbooks that exist currently is seemingly endless. New platforms pop up almost every day in some corner of the world, ready to capitalize on the huge appetite for online basketball betting.
However, there's a select few that stand above the crowd — especially when it comes to basketball betting markets. We've curated a top-three list that would suit any bettor that wants to bet basketball game year-round. Without further ado, here are our recommendations:
For A Vast Betting Selection — Bovada
Ah, Bovada, if you're from the United States and familiar at all with online betting, you recognize that name. That's because its perhaps the most-widely used offshore betting site inside the country.
Bovada's popularity comes down to two reasons — ease of use and its abundance of markets. For starters, its user interface is progressive and straight to the point. While there are thousands of bets to be had on Bovada each day, the site makes finding and placing the exact one you want as easy as can be.
And yes, the betting options are never-ending, particular with basketball. Whether its NBA, NCAA, or international hoops, Bovada supports each with an abundance of basketball betting odds. It's seriously tough to go wrong with a trusted bookie like Bovada.
For Earning Rewards — BetDSI
BetDSI's big selling point is its rewards program. A deposit of just $300 will enter you into the service's Gold level. Consistent playthrough can graduate you to Platinum and the top-end Diamond level. The biggest perk of the program is the ability to exchange points for free play, which is no small thing.
Though, we don't want to overlook BetDSI's basketball selection, either. NBA and NCAA are prominent fixtures in the sportsbook, but admittedly, foreign-based leagues are less prominent. BetDSI has an excellent live betting feature that pairs with basketball particularly well.
For A Big Sign-Up Bonus — SportsBetting.ag
Most online bookmakers have a sign-up bonus for new players, but few rival what SportsBetting.ag offers. First-time players to the site will have their first deposit matched by 50 percent, all the way up to $1000. Just be sure to enter promo code "SB1000" in the cashier to earn the big-bucks reward.
Regarding hoops, SportsBetting.ag doesn't shortchange bettors. While the NBA makes up the majority of the menu, other basketball leagues based out of China, New Zealand, Israel, among other countries, are also covered.
Bonus Pick — WagerWeb
Ok, we have one more honorable mention and it's none other than WagerWeb. Immediately, what sets this bookie apart is its multiple bonuses. While SportsBetting.ag has one lucrative promo, at WagerWeb, new players have their pick between three deals (users can only select one). Each has varying degrees of cashback, free play, and rollover requirements.
Every bettor is looking for something different out of its welcome bonus, which makes WagerWeb especially appealing. Once players choose their bonus, a huge catalog of basketball bets is awaiting them at WagerWeb.
And those are our four best basketball betting sites. You honestly can't go wrong with any of them.
How To Bet On Basketball
Ways on how to bet on basketball are plentiful. But for a newcomer, this might be confusing at first. Don't worry, we're about to explain how basketball betting works:
Spread Betting Basketball
The point spread in basketball betting is a favorite among gamblers. Essentially, bookies handicap competing teams with a pre-set amount of points — one for the favorite (denoted with a - sign) and one for the underdog (+ icon). Essentially, a team needs to "cover" that point-spread by bet's end.
Let's use an example, shall we? The 76ers could be listed as -4.5 favorites over the Bucks, who in turn are +4.5 underdogs. A bet toward Philadelphia hits only if they win outright by at least five points. Whereas Milwaukee cashes in the bet with either a straight-up victory or a defeat by four points or less.
What does moneyline mean in basketball betting? It's actually very simple: you're solely gambling on which team will win, no matter the final score.
With that simplicity comes more lopsided odds, however. Using the prior example, you might get Philly at -220 odds to win outright. That's more than one-to-two odds (a $220 wager payoffs only $100 on a winner). Though, this is favorable if you like betting underdogs. In the same example, the Bucks could have a moneyline of +185. With those odds, a $100 wager nets you $185 in return if it pans out.
Word of advice, though: don't fall in love with underdogs. In the long run, betting on them will lose you more wagers than win and that's obviously a no-no in betting.
Over/Under Betting Basketball
If winners or losers don't concern you, then over/unders should be right up your alley. This is a wager on the number of points that will be tallied by both teams. A bookie will set a mark, say 210 points, for an entire game. As the name implies, a bettor simply chooses whether the point total will finish above or below that preset figure.
Whether its spreads, moneylines, or over/unders, bookies can set these wagers for full games, a single halve, or by quarter. Heck, you can even do it in real-time, which is what we'll cover next.
Bettors can now wager on a basketball game while it's happening live. Odds can change with every make or miss, which in basketball is often.
A good live betting basketball strategy is to wait for a good team to fall down mid-game. Most of the time, they're bound for at least one cold streak. If does happen, you can get them at better prices than their pre-game lines.
Unlike the aforementioned bets which pertain to single games, futures are an entirely different beast. These are long-term plays on an outcome. For instance, futures are common on championship winners or end-of-the-year accolades like Coach of the Year.
Usually, you'll get more longshot odds on futures than most bets. After all, picking a single team to win the NBA title among 30 is tougher than a 50-50 chance on an over/under.
Props are eerily similar to futures but it's short-term instead of long. Again, your betting on a specific outcome (outside of which team will win or how many points will be scored). By and large, these outcomes are within a particular game.
Common props that are offered include how many points X player will score by game's end. In the same token, you can wager on which team will finish with more offensive rebounds. As you can tell, there's usually a statical component attached to most props.
Last on our list is a favorite among many bettors — parlays or accumulators. This is a betting ticket that includes more than one wager. That can mean two or even 15 different bets.
The parlay is only a winner when every single bet hits on the ticket so there's no margin for error. Obviously, parlays are riskier than single bets, hence why the payouts are so much more lucrative.
Basketball Betting Advice
Unfortunately, there's no "golden ticket" rule when it comes to basketball betting strategies. There are just too many variables at play on any given wager. Regardless, we don't want to leave you hanging here. Here is some basketball betting advice you should typically account for:
Study The Matchups Closely
Every single basketball team has strengths and weaknesses. All of them. Ultimately, what decides the outcome of a game is which team can use its strengths to exploit the other's weaknesses more — that's what goes into any good basketball coach's gameplan.
You'll need to create similar gameplans before betting. Using basketball betting stats and your trained eye, you'll need to identify the pros and cons of basketball teams. Once that's done, mismatches will be easier to spot. Use these mismatches to guide your decision-making on bets. Take our word for it, this is how to bet basketball and win.
Put In The Research
This tip sort of piggybacks off the last, but it's worth driving home: do research. And a lot of it, too. Research comes via pouring through the stat sheet, observing games with a close eye, and perhaps most importantly, learning from past mistakes.
Bettors, and people in general, all suffer from overconfidence bias. Essentially, this is a tendency for one to believe they're smarter and more capable than others. Look, we think you're smart too, but are you really smarter than professional bookmakers themselves?
Certainly not if you're just making betting picks based on your gut (while they use computer models to set odds). So dig deep into research and know exactly why you're betting one way over the other.
Through It All, Stay Even Keeled
If there's something that the game of basketball shares closely with betting itself, it's the ebbs and flows or "runs" as the terminology goes in the hoop world. What this describes is how quickly things can change at any given time.
How this applies to a bettor is one minute you might be winning big, but the next you're in a deep pit of losses. This is almost a guarantee to happen if you bet on the sport long enough.
But what separates the top bettors from the amateurs is their mentality. An experienced player never gets too high off a win or too low from a loss. That contrasts with a newbie who lets prior results dictate their next move (e.g. chasing money with a risky bet after losing a few in a row).
The point is to accept the outcome and move on to the next bet. It's this very mentality that will serve you best in the long run.
Enough of our basketball betting tips and predictions. Ready to take all this advice and start gambling yourself? Below you'll find a list of reputable sportsbooks filled with the best basketball bets today.