How to Bet on Basketball

How To Bet On Basketball

There are so many reasons why betting on basketball is an exciting and popular pastime, and there are a huge number of college, NBA, and International basketball betting options available throughout the year. In this article, we’re going to help you make your first basketball bet by following these simple steps.

How to Bet on Basketball in Canada

  1. Be familiar with the sport and the teams you’ll be betting on.
  2. Understand the many types of bets you can make on a basketball game.
  3. Familiarize yourself with different betting strategies and tips and manage your bankroll wisely.
  4. Sign up with Sports Interaction to place your first wager.

Know Your Basketball Stats

This first step might seem obvious, especially if you’re already a huge basketball fan, but knowing a game, and knowing what you need in order to successfully wager on it are two different levels of knowledge. This means studying the rosters, keeping on top of injury lists (that includes knowing if certain players are playing while still recovering from past injuries), seeing how the team performs on the road, knowing which lineups work best against an opponent’s offensive and defensive schemes, coaching tendencies and on and on.

Sports bettors love statistics and there’s no shortage of stats available to look at, regardless of the sport you’re researching. Look at team stats like rebounding, free throws, field-goal percentages, strength of schedule, etc. Sports Interaction features an entire section of the site dedicated to current NBA statistics that you should consider one of your go-to information sources.

Different Types of Basketball Bets

As with football, hockey and many other sports you can wager on, there’s much more to placing a bet than just betting on who will win the game.  There are also many leagues around the world that play, as well as a professional women’s basketball league, so when it comes to betting on basketball, you aren’t just limited to the NBA. Let’s take a look at the betting options available.

Moneyline Betting on Basketball

The most simple kind of wager you can make, betting the moneyline means betting on which team will win the game. That simplicity makes it one of the more popular bet types.

Toronto vs. Milwaukee

Pointspread Moneyline Over / Under
Toronto +7 -112 +226 o +217 -110
Milwaukee -7 -108 -273 u +217 -110

In our example above, the moneyline is in the center column. The Raptors are listed as +226, which makes them the underdog against the Milwaukee Bucks at -273.  If you wanted to place a $100 dollar bet on the Toronto Raptors to beat the Milwaukee Bucks in this game, and they won, your total winnings, including your original bet amount, would be $326.

The Milwaukee Bucks have been priced at -273, with the (-) sign indicating that they are the favorites in this matchup. That same $100 bet on the favored Milwaukee team would make your payout, including your original wager amount, $136.

How to Bet on Basketball Point Spreads

The most popular type of wager for basketball bettors is the point spread bet. Betting on the point spread means you’re wagering on how many points a team will win or lose by. Let’s look at an example.

Toronto vs. Milwaukee

Pointspread Moneyline Over / Under
Toronto +6.5 -107 +220 o +216 -110
Milwaukee -6.5 -113 -277 u +216 -110

If you are betting on the Milwaukee Bucks, then they must win by seven or more points for you to win your wager. Let’s say the final score is 99-90 for Milwaukee, giving the Bucks a nine-point win, which is more than the 6.5-point spread. That means that if you bet $113 on the Bucks, you will win $100.

If you are betting on the Toronto Raptors, then they can lose by no more than six points – or win. For example, if the final score is 103-100 for Milwaukee, then the Raptors only lost by three and you’d win your wager.

For more examples, please read our in-depth guide to point spread betting.

Over/Under and Totals Betting

Over/under betting on basketball is also wildly popular with bettors. Essentially, what you are betting on is whether the total score is going to be over or under a specific number set by oddsmakers. Simply put, if it is higher than the predicted number, then the over wins; if it is lower than the predicted number, then the under wins. Let’s look at our Raptors vs. Bucks game again for an example.

Toronto vs. Milwaukee

Pointspread Moneyline Over / Under
Toronto +6.5 -100 +220 o +216 -110
Milwaukee -6.5 -120 -277 u +216 -110

As you can see above, the total has been set at 216, with the odds as follows:

Totals: 216 Over (-110) Under (+110)

In this case, if you are betting $110 that the total score will be over 216 points, then you could win $100. Or, if you are betting that the total score be under 216 then you’d win $110 by betting $100. If the game finished 100-116, landing on exactly 216 points then that would be a push, meaning that all wagers would be returned to bettors because neither the over or under came through. That’s why you’ll often see totals listed by half-points (eg. 216.5).

To learn more about this kind of bet, see our guide to Totals and Over/Under betting.

Basketball Futures Betting

Another exciting way to wager on basketball is a futures bet. This generally involves making a bet on who will win a major championship or a division title or even a Most Valuable Player award. The fun thing about these types of bets is that they are often available before a season starts, which makes betting on how you think your team will fare throughout the season that much more exciting. Here’s an example of an NBA Championship futures bet dealing with these two teams that we’re looking at late in the 2019 post-season.

2018-19 NBA Championship

  • Milwaukee Bucks +295
  • Toronto Raptors +650

As you can see from these numbers, the Milwaukee Bucks are at +295 so a $10 bet would return $29.50 if they did go on to win. If you bet $10 the Toronto Raptors would win it all, your bet could pay out $65.

2019 WNBA Championship

  • Washington Mystics +260
  • Los Angeles Sparks +450
  • Connecticut Sun +500
  • Phoenix Mercury +500
  • Las Vegas Aces +550
  • Atlanta Dream +600
  • Seattle Storm +1100
  • Minnesota Lynx +2200
  • Chicago Sky +6000
  • Dallas Wings +6000
  • Indiana Fever +8000
  • New York Liberty +8000
Show More Odds

Here’s a futures bet card for which team will win the WNBA Championship. The Washington Mystics are the favorites here, priced at +260. The biggest underdog in the tournament is the Seattle Storm at +1100. A $100 bet on the Storm to win the Championship would put an extra $1200 in your pocket if that bet paid off. There’s a lot more risk with futures bets, with a lot more in terms of reward if your team succeeds.

How to Bet on Basketball Props

Prop bets, or proposition bets, can be on just about anything to do with the game beyond who will win and how many points they’ll win by. Let’s take a look at a couple examples. Here are a few player props from our game between the Raptors and the Bucks.

If you think Kawhi Leonard will get more than four assists in the game, you should bet the over. If you think Giannis Antetokounmpo won’t get at least six assists in the game, bet the under.

This prop bet is on where Kawhi Leonard will end up in the 2019/20 season. If you think he’ll stay in Toronto our $100 bet would earn you $190. If you felt like taking a long shot that Kawhi would sign with the Minnesota Timberwolves, a hugely long shot at +8600, your $100 bet would pay out $8700 including your original bet, which might be enough to buy season’s tickets to the Timberwolves.

Basketball Betting Tips and Strategy

The most important strategy to betting on ANY sport is to do your research. Start by betting on the teams you’re most familiar with and bet when there’s value. Professional sports bettors wager with their heads, not their hearts.

Keep track of the bets you make so you can review them later and learn from decisions you’ve made and see if you have certain betting habits that you want to break.

Manage your bankroll. Betting on sports is supposed to be fun, so only ever bet what you can afford to lose.

Sign up at Sports Interaction

We’ve made creating an account and placing your first bet very simple and straightforward. Sign up here and you’ll be in on the action almost immediately.