One of the world’s most popular sports, basketball is exciting to watch, with non-stop action and often unbelievable athletic achievement. Played all over the world, it’s a sport that you see people enjoying in parks and spare land all over, but for the professional sport, the NBA is by far the most viewed basketball league in the world.
Backed up by huge levels of analysis and commentary, along with extensive and easily accessed coverage of every game, each team, and individual players, it is also a great sport to bet on. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a US based league, but it does have A Canadian team too, and every game, millions are wagering on the outcome. With plenty of opportunities to make money, that should be no surprise, but for those starting out with basketball betting, knowing the best way to get involved can save you time and money.
Basketball, like most sports, has its own betting language and ideas, here we look at the best way to get started in basketball sports betting today.
The NBA consists of 30 teams, split into two conferences of 15 teams. Teams play a total of 82 games in a regular season, half at home, half away, playing the same opponents as many as four times during the season, something unique to basketball in major sports, but a real benefit for performance analysis and betting.
After the league is finished the top 16 teams across the conferences go into a playoff series, where teams play a best of 7 series against opponents in a knockout competition, delivering a final NBA final winner.
That is a lot of games played per season, a lot of betting opportunity and a lot of ways to make some money. So, here are the most common betting approaches for NBA basketball.
Games are usually high scoring, with teams only having 24 seconds to make a shot, and the most common way to bet on basketball, as a result, is to bet the spread. Besides each team in the game, you will find a number, either positive or negative. A negative number means that team is the favorite, positive means the team is the underdog. How it works is simple, you are betting on the team beating another by a certain amount of points.
For instance, if a team has a -5 rating, that means they are favorites to win and to win the bet, they need to win by more than 5 points. Similarly, a +5 would mean the team is the underdogs, and they can win the bet by finishing less than 5 points away from the other team, even if they lose the game itself. Often referred to as covering the spread, this option gives you an opportunity to win money from a losing team, making it a popular and flexible bet to use.
This is the simplest type of bet you can find for basketball, it's simply a straightforward bet on who will win. The odds are shown as a number value, with the negative number for the favorites, positive for the underdog. Because there is a huge difference in quality between teams within the league, the odds can be dramatic.
You can often find values of -800 on teams as favorites to win, meaning that you need to bet $800 on that team to win $100, it can be even higher. Likewise, +650 is not unusual for the underdog, meaning a $650 return on a $100 bet.
Those odds sound great on the underdog, but they are that high for a reason usually, but careful analysis of teams can find some great value in the Moneyline markets sometimes, so always pay attention.
In addition to these two main betting opportunities, there are also bets on the total amount of points scored in a game, as well as specific bets on the outcome of the first quarter and first half, as well as half-time markets on the outcome of the second half. With so many opportunities to bet on any game, basketball is an ideal game for wagers.
High scoring games are normal, and that makes spread betting a great option, however, with many games predictable in terms of outright winners, as we have seen, the returns for betting on outright winners can be relatively small.
Successful basketball gamblers often combine the two types of bets to find ways to make money off each game.
Basketball is a great option for sports betting, however, there are some things to be aware of. Very low odds on some games make Moneyline bets a little less useful than in other sports as a strategy on their own. You need to pick and choose the games you use those bets on, and always avoid the matchups where a top team is playing a struggler.
Overall, with easy access to all the research you need and complete coverage of every game, it's another sport that is almost tailor-made for the sports gambler.