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BEGINNER’S GUIDE: HOW TO BET ON BASKETBALL
Basketball is played professionally on nearly every continent in the world and is even a sport that is represented in the Summer Olympics. The biggest and best basketball league in the world is the NBA, which has representation from over 40 different countries around the globe. While a majority of the superstars are from the U.S., like Lebron James or Kawhi Leonard, there is a growing contingency of international superstars that are taking the NBA by storm like Luka Doncic or Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Basketball was invented in the late 19th century by a Canadian gym teacher named James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith invented the game as an alternative to more physical and injury-prone games like American football, as well as a way for athletes to train during the winter when it was too cold to exercise outside. He used a soccer ball and some peach baskets that were hung from a balcony railing, and until he cut a hole in the bottom of the baskets, the ball had to be poked out every time a basket was scored.
The sport quickly took off and became very popular around America as it was introduced to schoolyards as well as the local YMCAs through which much of the spread around the world took place. Basketball was eventually adopted by U.S. Colleges just a few years after it was created, and the popularity spread so quickly that the predecessor to the March Madness tournament was created in 1939. The NBA was eventually founded in 1946 and continues to this day to be one of the pillars of professional sports and pop culture.
Interesting Facts About Basketball:
1) While the NBA is the most well-known basketball league in the world, the WNBA is also very popular and was established by the NBA in 1996.
2) During the three weeks that March Madness is on, an estimated $10 billion is bet on the games around the U.S.
3) While only 64 teams make it to the March Madness tournament, there are over 350 Colleges in America that play Division 1 NCAA basketball.
4) The highest-scoring game in NBA history happened in 1983 when 370 total points were scored across three overtime periods. Detroit beat Denver 186-184.
Tips on How to Start Betting on Basketball
Ready to start betting on basketball games at your preferred online sportsbook? It is never a profitable endeavor to just jump into something without learning the best strategies beforehand, especially when it comes to betting with your hard-earned money.
While we cannot provide actual Bet-by-bet advice in this guide, we have accumulated some of our favorite tips to help you get your online basketball betting off to a fun and hopefully profitable start!
Tip#1: Set your betting limits and play within them – This is one of the biggest issues with new sports bettors and is the single biggest reason that new players burn through their bankrolls too fast. Set a limit on how much you can afford to lose in a given week or month and stick to that rule as you are starting out.
Try to use proportional betting to help sustain your bankroll last and try to avoid bets with low odds but higher payouts like parlay bets. Stick to single game bets and while using proportional betting, wager a percentage of your bankroll each time. Nothing turns players off of sports betting faster than burning through their account balance within a few days of starting out.
Tip#2:Learn What the Odds Mean: Sometimes the posted odds, point spread, or total does not match what your read is on the game. It is these edges that will give you an advantage in the long run. If you do not think the Golden State Warriors should be underdogs, then you should be on the Warriors on your own system. The odds are merely a guideline set by the bookmakers to get the most amount of action on both sides of the game, not necessarily an indication of how good each team is compared to each other.
Tip#3: Educate yourself on basketball – Take the time to learn the rules of basketball and how games generally play out. If you are betting on the NBA, study the teams and players and any trends or statistics that may help give you an edge on a given game. Learn about things like team pace, team defense, and defense vs position. These stats will go a long way in providing you with insights on how basketball games may play out..
Tip#4: Learn which bets you are good at: This seems straightforward but learning which types of bets you are more successful at can go a long way for your basketball betting career. If you are good at point spreads, then bet on point spreads. If you are bad with totals, then don’t bet on totals!
Again, watching games can give you a huge advantage in understanding how odds and lines are made by sportsbooks as well. Try and learn how teams perform, in situations like if they are on the road or on a back to back or playing in the morning versus playing at night. These edges can go a long way in helping you stay profitable.
Payment Methods Used in Basketball Betting
A majority of online sportsbooks will accept the usual forms of digital payments. Credit cards, direct bank transfers, and PayPal are almost universally accepted now across any e-Commerce platform you use and we’ll go into a bit more detail about them below.
There are other new options that have been gaining popularity such as eWallets and Cryptocurrencies, but they are far from being the standard and are less common than the big three options below:
- Credit Cards: The most common way that players can deposit right into their online sportsbook accounts. Most of the major companies are accepted including Visa, Mastercard, and Discover. Keep in mind that some credit card companies do not allow the cardholder to make purchases on sports betting or gambling sites, so be aware of any restrictions before trying to use that card.
- Direct Bank Transfer: A bank transfer is a direct debit from your personal bank account and is just as fast as paying by credit card and generally has a higher success rate for transactions than credit cards as well. You may need to enter your bank account details so have that information ready before trying to deposit.
- PayPal: PayPal is the premier site for transferring money online but you do need to sign up for an account and link it to a bank account before you try and use it at any online sportsbook. It is safe, trustworthy, and easy to use and has become increasingly used at online websites as a method of payment. PayPal is great if you need to use different currencies as well.
Player Support when Betting on Basketball
If you are just getting started with your online sportsbook and have some questions or concerns, you are not alone!
Nearly every online sportsbook provides its customers with 24-hour around the clock customer service. Because online sportsbooks and online casinos are open 24 hours a day and seven days per week, there is always some form of customer service available via email, telephone, or an instant chat function.
These customer service representatives can assist you with anything from deposit or withdrawal issues to questions about specific basketball-related bets or games.
BASKETBALL – THE GAME
The actual gameplay of basketball is fast and furious and requires an incredible amount of athleticism, agility, and endurance. Teams play five players on each side and play a game of four quarters split into two halves. Official NBA quarters are 12 minutes long while NCAA Basketball plays quarters that are 10 minutes long. The goal is of course to score as many points as you can within the time frame of the game, while also preventing your opponent from scoring on your own basket. Scoring baskets vary from where on the floor you score from, within the 3-point arch is a 2-pt field goal and beyond it is a 3-pt field goal.
Fouls are handed out by the referees for violations against shots or player movement. If a foul occurs as a player is shooting, that player gets to shoot two free-throws worth 1 point each from the free-throw line. Each player is given up to six fouls in a game before they are ejected. Teams have 24 seconds in the NBA to at least get a shot off or else they are called for a shot-clock violation. These are the basic regulations of a basketball game that most leagues, whether professional or recreational, will follow. The conclusion of the game comes when the game clock runs down and a team has more points than the other. If the teams are tied at the end of the game, they will play overtime for five minutes. Overtime periods will continue until there is a winning team.
Basketball Betting Explained
Now that you are all set up with your online sportsbook and ready to start placing some bets on basketball, it is crucial that you learn the different types of bets that you can make. Like with any sport these days, online sportsbooks have made it possible to bet on nearly anything that can happen in a basketball game. From total points in a quarter to race to 20 points to individual player props, literally anything can be wagered on. Let’s go over a few of the more basic types of bets and then a few more that are a little bit more fun and unique:
The simplest bet for any new sports bettor to understand, when you place a bet on the moneyline, you are betting on who you think will win the game outright. With basketball, because of the focus on point-spread betting, moneyline odds can be quite low if the perceived matchup is lopsided. Here is an example:
|The Odds ||New York Knicks (5.00) Vs. Los Angeles Lakers (1.10) |
|The Outcome ||You can see that given the moneyline odds, the Lakers are perceived to be a much stronger team than the Knicks, and so the low payout odds reflect this. Keep this in mind when betting moneyline odds as there is usually quite a large discrepancy in NBA games and the odds for picking the moneyline winners are not always worth betting on. |
Combining two or more moneyline odds on the same bet to win a larger amount is another popular way that new bettors are utilizing. Heavy moneyline favorites are often seen as sure winners and so many people parlay those to increase their odds.
|The Odds ||Lakers ML (1.10) + Bucks ML (1.30) x $100 = $143.00 |
|The Outcome ||If the Lakers are (1.10) and the Milwaukee Bucks are (1.30) to win their game, then if you combine them on the same bet you will be paid at higher odds than if you played them separately. |
Chiefs ML (1.20) + Ravens ML (1.40) x $100 = $168.00
This may be the most popular way of betting on basketball even though it remains one of the most difficult ways to predict the outcome of a game. The basic premise of a point spread is betting on the difference in points of the final score. Let’s use the Knicks and Lakers example from above:
New York Knicks Vs. Los Angeles Lakers (-12.5)
The (-12.5) indicates that you are betting on the Lakers to win by 12.5 points or more for the final score. Alternatively, if you want to be on the Knicks they would be read as (+12.5) which means they need to finish the game within 12.5 points of the Lakers, or they can win the game outright and it would obviously still be considered covering their spread. Point spread odds pay almost even money for your bet and are most popular when betting basketball and American football.
OVER/UNDER or TOTAL RUNS
Your online sportsbook will provide a point total number and you can place a bet on whether the total points scored in the game will be higher or lower than that total. You can also bet on individual team totals or point totals by quarter or by half as well. Here is an example:
Miami Heat Vs. Golden State Warriors (225)
The over/under number for this game has been set at 225 points, so the Heat and the Warriors need to combine for over 225 total points for you to win the bet. If you bet the under, you would want both teams to combine for less than 225 points. The online sportsbook will post similar numbers for halves and quarters as well so you can bet on the totals for each quarter as well as the whole game.
Prop bets are gaining popularity and are bets that focus on individual player performance, rather than the whole team. For example, you can bet on how many points James Harden will score in the game or how many combined steals and blocks Giannis Antetokounmpo will have. Depending on your online sportsbook, these player props can get very specific. If you get to know things like defensive position matchups and how certain teams utilize these players, you can build a real edge in the player props market and in the long run it can be quite profitable.
Futures bets are another part of the sports betting industry that is gaining popularity, especially with the so-called professional bettors. In the futures market, players can place bets on future outcomes such as the outright NBA Championship winner, division winner, conference winner, or team win totals. The best part about betting futures is that players are provided higher odds, the earlier they place their bets. The downside of course is that any funds a player bets on futures bets will be tied up until the end of the season, or when a team’s win total is hit. Some online sportsbooks will also let players bet on individual player awards such as MVP, Rookie of the Year, or Most Improved Player.
Which Odds Do You Prefer?: There are a few different types of betting odds that players can use and it is completely up to personal preference and has no effect on the bets or the outcome of the bets.
- Decimal odds: These are easy to understand and make complete mathematical sense as they are directly proportionate to the amount you wager. If you bet $100 at 1.50 odds you will win $150.
- American odds: These are slightly less clear to read but once you learn how the numbers work it makes sense. You will notice American odds use (-) or (+) symbols before their numbers with the (-) indicating a favorite and the (+) the underdog in the matchup.
- Fractional odds: Again, similar to decimal odds mathematically but using fractions instead of decimals.
These can all be used depending on the bettor’s preference. Keep in mind that they are not interchangeable as 2.00 in Decimal odds does not equal +200 in American odds and vice versa.
The Basketball Leagues You Can Bet On
Any discussion about basketball leagues has to begin with the NBA, the premier men’s professional league in the world. The NBA has 30 teams across the United States and one team in Canada that compete across the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference. Last season, the lone Canadian team the Toronto Raptors won the NBA Championship as they defeated the Golden State Warriors in seven games.
There is also the WNBA for professional women with 12 teams across America. The WNBA has gained in popularity and has become a popular sport for online sportsbooks to offer.
The NCAA Division I college basketball is the highest level for college players and acts as a direct feed into the NBA. The popular March Madness tournament pits the top 64 schools in the country in a single elimination style tourney. There is also the CBA or Chinese Basketball Association, and several professional leagues in Europe including the EuroLeague, FIBA Champions league, and the Liga ACB amongst others.
LEARN TO BET GUIDE
Pick the Sport you want to bet on, learn the dynamics of the games, and tap into the best betting strategies developed over the years. Can you build that elusive hot streak? There’s only one way to find out. Always remember, Bet Responsibly, Bet Greatly:
American Football Guide
SPORTS COUNTRY AND STATE BETTING GUIDES
Wondering how the different U.S. States approach sports betting? the KGB team has provided in-depth guides on how various State or County laws stack up on sports betting. Check out the guides below, where we’ll investigate each state and help you in your quest to start Sports Betting:
Pennsylvania Sports Betting Guide
New Jersey Sports Betting Guide
Oregon Sports Betting Guide
Illinois Sports Betting Guide
West Virginia Sports Betting Guide
BASKETBALL BETTING FAQs
It can be if you put research in and learn the rules of the league and the characteristics of each team. As with anything the more you learn, the more success you can have.
Again, this is going to be based on your own style of betting. Do point spreads make sense to you? Or do you prefer looking at point totals instead? Maybe you are risk-averse and play moneyline favorites. Whatever your style is, stick to bets that make sense to you.
Yes, the NBA and most professional basketball leagues are available at any reputable online sportsbook.
No. Some states in America do not allow bettors to wager on college sports so if you are in the U.S. make sure you know the state laws for where you are betting.
Yes, if online sports betting in your country is legal, then the NBA should also be legal to bet. Always check with your local online sports betting laws to make sure you know the regulations.
Yes, as long as the online sportsbook you use has a mobile app or a mobile-friendly site, you can use your mobile phone to bet on the NBA or any other sport available at your online sportsbook.
Again, this depends on where you are physically betting from. Your online sportsbook will determine your location either by GPS signal on your mobile phone or your IP Address on your computer internet connection.