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Basketball Betting Guide: Bet on NBA Games and More

24.04.2024, 10:51

Basketball is one of the most beloved sports in North America, but it's also a cultural phenomenon in almost every other corner of the world. And just like with all things sports, basketball betting is just as popular as the sport itself! Here's our introduction to basketball betting—how to start betting on NBA games and other leagues, how to read basketball odds, what basketball live betting is, and more.

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Top-3 Basketball Betting Sites

Knowing where to place wagers on basketball is half the battle. Let's quickly overview the best bookmakers for basketball bets depending on region, payment preferences, and bookie reputation.

William Hill: Fantastic Option For NBA Bets

Although some might find this betting platform a little old-fashioned (it comes with territory - after all, it was founded in 1934), this also comes with a plus. The bookmaker that has been operating for nearly a century is a reputable bookmaker. William Hill is a fantastic option for European bettors seeking to put down money on the NBA. In this case, it's the combination of spotless reputation, good NBA games coverage, and consistently above-average NBA odds that does the trick. Just to prove the point - even as we write this article, there are around 5 NBA matches with boosted odds! William Hill doesn't just stop with the NBA; it also lets bettors wager on worldwide basketball leagues like EuroLeague, CBA, and even smaller national leagues (even stuff like Kazakhstan League and B-tier leagues).

BetUS: Basketball Betting in USA

As its name implies, BetUS is the premier choice of sports betting on the territory of the United States (well, and Canada). Many US states have legalized sports betting on their territory since 2018, but the country as a whole remains a challenging region for betting platforms. However, US-oriented bookies like BetUS were the first to bring online betting to the territory of legalized states. Basketball betting is one of the main attractions on BetUS - it's basically the first thing you see when opening the site. While BetUS puts the NBA at the forefront, it also includes other international options, such as the Champions League and Argentina Liga A, as well as all the variations of NBA betting with Conferences, Divisions, etc. etc.

Stake.com: Sportsbook With a Twist

This site can, without any exaggeration, be called the face of modern sportsbooks. With banners seen across the most popular sports disciplines, Stake.com implements an interesting twist to basketball betting. It is a fully end-to-end crypto-based bookmaker, meaning it has an edge in security and privacy (find out why in our crypto betting guide) compared to traditional bookie sites. Stake opens its doors to visitors from pretty much worldwide - from Europe to Australia. It features the ever-popular NBA League alongside international leagues for true fans. With Stake's modern design and mobile compatibility, it's impossible never to miss a basketball game.

Best Events To Bet on Basketball Betting

We've mentioned the most famous league of basketball—the North American NBA—quite a bit above. There's a reason for that—after all, it is the main attraction of the sport. But it would be unfair to only pay attention to it alone—there are more interesting events in basketball's competitive ecosystem. not to mention the ability to place bets on basketball matches any day that comes with knowing them!

Bet on NBA

Well, let's tackle the leaders of basketball betting first. For good reason, the NBA is considered the premier league of basketball. It's not only just the fans' opinions - there were whole studies showing how NBA teams' performances are head-and-shoulders above their worldwide competitors. No wonder basketball and basketball betting fans naturally gravitate toward NBA league. Another huge advantage is that it runs 9 months a year - if a pretty much year-round top-notch competitive environment isn't perfect for betting, we don't know what is.

Not to mention - this league is at the forefront of the entire industry with the number of spinoff leagues that exist. Let's take a look at them:

NBA G League

This is the academy wing of the NBA (or a minor NBA league). Formerly known as NBA Development League, it's pretty much in the name - it's a training ground for upcoming talent. Most bookmakers include the NBA G League in betting lines due to the franchise's popularity.

WNBA

The Women's NBA League is the best women's league in the world. Although it is independent from the main league, the WNBA takes on the main NBA format. The league runs for four months per year, with playoffs taking place in September.

NBA Summer League

Although not a part of the actual main NBA league, the NBA Summer League is a yearly off-season event taking place in July. It's a more light-hearted part of the franchise and a time for teams to showcase their rookies and G-League talent over main rosters. Still, the NBA Summer League can be a fun time for basketball betting since the matches can be unpredictable and chaotic.

NBA 2K League

Here's a fun league. This basketball league isn't played on a court—instead, players battle it out on game consoles as part of esports competitions. It's not really what most mean by basketball betting, but it's fun to include the NBA 2K League here. Learn more about esports betting with our guide!

Popular Basketball Betting Markets

Betting on basketball includes many more options than just betting on the match winner. Let's quickly review some of the popular bet markets best suited for basketball.

Basketball Moneyline Bets

Moneyline bets are most popular across many sports disciplines, and basketball is no exception. Most NBA bets are on the moneyline, which means they are simply betting on the match's outcome (usually match winner). Moneyline is the most beginner-friendly type of bet since it doesn't matter by how many points a team wins, unlike the spread bets or totals. All we need to know in moneyline is which team's gonna win.

Basketball Spread Bets

Point spread bets on basketball - or handicap bets, for the European punters - are a great pick for basketball. Favored by seasoned bookmakers, spread bets aim to bridge the gap between the underdog and the favorite in case of an uneven matchup. Daredevil gamblers might opt to bet on an unfavorable point spread for a chance to get higher basketball odds - although this activity is best left to pros.

Spread Bets Example

Some matches have massive skill discrepancies that they're not worth betting on a moneyline. Let's take, for example, an NBA game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Memphis Grizzlies. Thunderpick.io set the odds at -5000 and +1024 for each, respectively. For those who are unfamiliar with how to read American betting odds - it basically means the Cavaliers are pretty much guaranteed to win with 98% implied probability. Still, it would take a wager of $5000 to get just $100 in winnings, which is just not a sound wager at all. Memphis Grizzlies, on the other hand, would win big - but a 2% chance of winning isn't particularly promising. In this case, we introduce a points spread handicap on Cleveland Cavaliers to -8 points - and watch how our basketball odds go up to +108 in case of this bet, making it basically even money. This bet now makes sense!

Basketball Totals

This betting market is incredibly popular in basketball thanks to the sport's high-score nature. Bets on the total are a great way to spice up the viewing experience of a match without having to commit to either team—all the punter has to guess is whether the total sum of scores of both teams exceeds a certain threshold established by the bookies. Hence, the names—over/under betting or total betting.

Totals Bet Example

Let's take a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Charlotte Hornets, for example. A bookmaker might set the odds for the match to exceed a total of 219.5 points at +105. In this case, as long as the combined score of both teams is 220 or more, the bet is won. It doesn't matter which team wins or loses or when they score or not - the only thing that matters is the total!

Basketball Prop Bets

Proposition bets can mean bets on various aspects of the game apart from score and outcome—varying from betting on player performance to other things like fouls. In Basketball, a typical prop bet is on player performance—usually in the form of Player Points or assists in an over/under format.

Prop Bet Example

For instance, we can bet on Milwaukee Bucks' player Bobby Portis in a match against Orlando Magic on thunderpick.io. In this case, we can bet Totals—remember from before—on the number of Double-Doubles scored in a game. The total in this bet is set to 0.5—therefore, as long as Bobby Portis scores at least one double-double, we win our bet on him.

In basketball, a double-double is a single-game performance in which a player accumulates ten or more in two of the following five statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals, and blocked shots.

Basketball Live Betting

By the way, basketball prop bets work well with live betting. Although it's possible to wager money on props pre-match, prop bets are the most common form of live betting since they focus on segmented parts of the game—something basketball greatly benefits from with its four-quarters format.

Basketball Outright Bets

Unlike live bets that are resolved almost instantly, when betting on basketball outrights, you'll have to chill and wait for quite a while! In Outrights betting, we don't wager on individual players, quarters, or even matches - instead, we attempt to guess the outcome of entire events! In the case of NBA betting, it would take around six months (!) to resolve such a bet - since an NBA season usually lasts around that long. While this bet requires a lot of game and team knowledge and takes a while to resolve to boot, it rewards punters who get it right handsomely.

Basketball Betting Tips

Here's a quick overview of the best basketball tips to get you started. If you want to go in-depth, consider checking out our sports betting strategy guide.

Know The Game

This tip is obvious, but it can't be stressed enough. Of course, you don't have to be a pro athlete to place bets on basketball - although that would unironically be of big help - but knowing some basics of the game is important. Familiarize yourself with the game rules, the teams, and the players by either watching matches or reading stat analysis by professional analysts.

Shop the Odds

While most beginner bettors would probably want to pick one bookie and then stick with it, this is not always an optimal choice. It's convenient, but it also means you miss out on better deals you might get when constantly comparing odds provided on important NBA matches across multiple bookmakers. Remember, sports betting sites constantly compete with one another for your attention—so use this competition to your advantage.

Use Betting Software & Bet Helper Sites

When planning your next bet, it is paramount to gather as much useful information as possible. Even basic stuff like consulting the official NBA site can help greatly with bet accuracy.

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