Whether you are an avid fan of the NBA, college hoops, or both, there’s plenty of action to be had during basketball season at your favorite online sportsbook. Betting on basketball games is fairly simple, even for an inexperienced gambler. Winning at any form of sports betting is a bit trickier. The good news is we can help you learn how to bet basketball lines and find the best online sportsbooks.
Basketball can be a tricky sport to wager on, especially the NBA. The NBA is such a long season, which makes it hard for teams to stay focused night in and night out. Understanding basketball betting lines is simple, but you need to put in some effort in order to actually win. Let’s first go over the basics of basketball betting and then we’ll give you some helpful strategy:
There are 4 ways to bet on basketball games. The first is the most common – against the point spread. Each team is given a set amount of points they most either win by or avoid losing by. If a team is listed with a “-“, that means they are the favorite and must win by more points than they are given in order for you to win your bet. For example, if the Bulls are –4.5 and you bet on them, they must win by 5 or you lose the bet.
If the Bulls were a 4.5 underdog (+4.5) and you wagered on them, you win your bet as long as they don’t lose by more than 4 points. Make sense? Payouts on bets against the spread usually have –110 odds. That means in order to win $100, you must wager $110 (or $1,100 to win $1,000, $11 to win $10, etc.).
Another popular way to bet on basketball games is to select the over/under. This is a simple type of bet to understand. Your online sportsbook will set an over/under line on almost every basketball game. If you take the over, the teams must combine for more points than the listed over/under in order for you to win. If you take the under, you need the total points to go under the line. So if the over/under on the Lakers/Celtics game is 180.5 and the score ends up 90-89 (179 points), those that took the under will cash in. Payouts are usually –110 or close on over/under bets.
The third type of basketball bet is the moneyline. This is simply a bet on a team to win the game – no points added. You win if your team wins, whether that is by 30 points or 1 point. You will get the biggest payouts on the underdog but sometimes it’s best to take the favorite if your confidence level in that team is high. If the team is +240, a $100 bet will pay $240. If the team is –240, a $240 bet will pay $100. Underdogs payout better than favorites but, remember, the reason they payout more is because they are less likely to win the game.
The final and most entertaining way to bet on basketball is a parlay or teaser bet. This type of bet involves multiple games and you must win/cover the spread in every game or lose the bet. You can select 2-20 (depending on your online sportsbook) team parlays and teasers. In a parlay, you select a certain amount of teams to cover the spread. Payouts are great, but these are difficult to win because you need every team on your ticket to come through. A teaser pays out well but a bit less than a parlay, but it’s easier to win a teaser. Teaser bets are the same as parlays except you are given a few extra points on each game.
Now that you know how to bet on basketball games, let’s go over some betting tips to help you win. First off, college basketball and NBA betting is pretty much the same in terms of types of wagers offered. However, it’s usually more difficult to predict the outcome of NBA games. But there are more opportunities to find a “steal” betting on the NBA. Here’s why…
The NBA has a long season. Therefore, it’s difficult for nearly every team to perform well each night. The college basketball season is much shorter and there is more of a talent gap between the top teams and the bottom teams. In the NBA, there are more frequent upsets because if a top team doesn’t come to play one night, they just might get beat by a bottom feeder. It’s rare for a directional school to defeat, say, Kentucky.
Unfortunately, you just never know for sure if an NBA team will show up on any given night. But you can take an educated guess. Watch for teams that are in the middle of a long road trip, playing a weak opponent in between tough games. That’s going to be your best opportunity to find a steal betting on the underdog. In situations like that, the favorite may not play well. You won’t be right every time, but you don’t have to be. No one wins every game. All you have to do is win 53% of the time to profit.
How do you win on college basketball games? The best way is by betting against the general public. The media hypes up the premiere college basketball teams too much, which leads to clueless sports bettors betting big on the elite programs. That means the point spread on the underdog in these games is often prime for the taking. Think you have what it takes to make some money betting on basketball games? Then get signed up for one (or two) of our trusted online sportsbooks. Good luck!