Betting Basketball is Easy, Fun and Can Be Very Profitable!


Admit it. You love basketball, know the game inside and out. Follow it daily checking scores and standings and who’s playing well etc. Isn’t it time you started to cash in on your obvious talent for picking winners?

Basketball is really very easy to bet on and lots of people do. Most experts agree that it is the easiest game of the 4 major US sports to bet on. With over 30 NBA teams and more than 100 Division 1 NCAA teams there is no shortage of contests on practically any night during the season to bet on. The season culminates with NBA playoffs and March Madness so there is plenty of opportunity to win big if you have the knack. Like football, basketball uses the point spread for wagering on teams, as well as an over/under number. Not to over simplify it because there is certainly strategies and subtleties to consider but if you know the basics of how to bet football, your pretty much know how to bet on basketball. So no worries go for it!

The way most gamblers bet basketball is by betting the point spread. As you might imagine the point spread is what the handicappers put on one team to make both teams equal in terms of betting.  With the point spread, the team that is better is expected to win and will be called the favorite, while the team that is expected to lose is called the underdog. For betting purposes the team expected to win gives, or lays, points to the team expected to lose.

Here is an example if the Miami Heat are playing the Nets, most bettors would bet on the Heat to win the game. But lets give a point spread that will make the Heat a 7 point favorite. So it means is that the Heat have to win by 8 or more points for its bettors to win their bet, while betters betting on the Nets would win their wager if the Nets not just won the game but even if they lost by 6 points or less. Now if the Heat win by exactly 7 points, it is called a push, or a tie, and nobody wins or loses any money.

Here is how the bookmaker makes his money. When betting against the point spread, bettors are asked to 11 -10 odds, which means that they risk $11 to win $10. If I bet $11 on the Celtics and you bet $11 on the Knicks, the bookie collects $22 between us, but only returns $21 to the winner. The extra buck is the bookie’s fee for taking our wagers.


The second most popular method of wagering on basketball is in the over / under also called betting totals  also known as over/unders. A total is the predicted combined score of the two teams playing. A number will be posted and bettors have the option of wagering more than the predicted total points will be scored (over), or less than the predicted total points will be scored (under).

In the game between the Heat and the Nets, the over/under number might be 187 points. Bettors wagering on the over would win their bets if the total combined score was 187 or greater, while bettors wagering on the under would win their bets if the combined total score was 187 or fewer points. Again, if the combined score is exactly 187 points, the bet is considered a push, or a tie, and no money is won or lost.

Just like with the point spread, bettors lay 11-to-10 odds and thus risk $11 to win $10 on their over/under wager.

Money Line Wagers

Bettors also have a few other betting options available to them and some betters are very good at these. So while betting against the point spread or on totals make up the vast majority of basketball wagers,  the money line wager, which is a bet on the winner of the game without the point spread is popular. But since some teams are given a better than 50-percent chance of winning, money line bets are made using odds, so that if you bet on the team expected to win you have to risk much more than you stand to win.

An example of the money line odds on a game will look something like:

Miami Heat -300
Brooklyn Nets +240

What is going on is that bettors taking the Heat are asked to put up $30 to win $10, while those believing the Nets will win are asked to risk $10 to win $24. This is the one that I like as you can sometimes have a feel for an upset and for cheap money make a good score.

Parlays and Teasers

The 2 other types of wagers involving basketball are parlays and teasers.  Some people refer to parlays and teasers as exotic bets. In parlays and teasers bettors must correctly predict the winners of two or more games. When there is a full slate of games say in the NBA and you have good vibes on a few teams this is the way to go as you’re going to get better odds. On parlays, bettors have the option of betting against the point spread or using the money line. Teasers are made using just the point spread and betters get an adjustment with the point spreads in their favor. The adjustment in the point spread is huge as the handicappers today are so good that when they say a team is favored by 5 points there is probably a great reason for that so if you’re taking that team on a teaser you may only have to win by 4. Doesn’t sound like a big deal but come the end of the game with every free throw counting and all that it’s big.

Aha there is always a catch! With parlays and teasers all of your teams have to win or you lose the entire bet. Even if you correctly pick 3 out of 4 games, a parlay or teaser wager is still a loser.

So you see betting basketball isn’t hard and it typically ranks second in terms of betting dollars behind football. And again many betters feel that dealing with the point spread, or with totals is easier than using the money line.

Every year some teams over perform and some teams tank. I watch the winning and losing streaks or trends and factor in fatigue which comes into play as teams play sometimes 3 or 4 times a week in different cities. In football it’s once a week and they have plenty of time to rest. In baseball teams play a series of games in one city so they get adjusted but in hockey and basketball it’s one and done. Other things to consider are matchups. Sometimes, one team will play really well vs another team even though their record indicates they should be big underdogs. Sometimes individual players get red hot and carry teams. I have seen hot shooters go off and score 35 points and practically single handedly win a game for a team. Sometimes players have obvious or not so obvious injuries that slow them down or take them out of action.  You got ot know this stuff if you’re going to make the real money. A wise gambler stays on top of the sport on a daily basis and the more information you can process the better you will be at making betting decisions. Betting sports is fun and challenging and can be very lucrative if you know what you’re doing. Why not give it a shot. No pun intended.

Betting on Basketball is similar to betting on Football. Both of these sports use a Point spread or you can bet on the money line. Many winning Handicappers know that betting on Basketball is more profitable then betting on Football because of the sheer number of games to choose from along with a very long season. You can choose from the Professional NBA games or the hundreds of NCAA college games. Every year in March the NCAA hosts the tournament to determine the Nation’s championship team. These series of elimination tournaments are known as “March Madness.” Here is what you need to know to bet on Basketball.

The casino Sports books make their money on sports bets by collecting a commission on losing bets. This is called the Vigorish or Vig for short. The most common odds are 11 to 10. This means that if you want to win $100 you are risking $110. For example you place a bet on the Giants at the casino sports book and pay $110. If the Celtics win you collect $210 when you cash your winning ticket. If you lose your bet you lose the $110.

Ideally the Sports book would like to have the same amount of money wagered on the two teams playing. If the Celtics are playing the Lakers and they have one player betting on the Celtic and one player betting on the Lakers they would pay the winner $100 but collect $110 for the loser. This gives them a $10 profit so they really don’t care who wins as long as they have an equal amount bet on each team. To accomplish this they assign a line or spread to make the contest equally attractive for both sides.

The Point Spread
Many people think that the point spread is the predicted margin of victory by which one team will beat another team but this is not true. The line is the handicapper’s prediction of what number will be required to split the wagering evenly on both teams. For this reason the line may change from the opening line to the line at game time.

When you bet on a game with the point spread your team does not necessarily have to win. You just need to cover the spread. If you be Miami is favored to win by 7 and they only win by 4 you lose. If you bet Chicago who is a 10 point under dog and they only lose by 3 points then you win.

The Money Line
A money line wager is a bet placed without the point spread. You are betting on the team to win the game outright which is also called winning “Straight UP.” When you bet a game on the money line you will have to pay odds other than the normal -110 that you would pay for a straight bet using the point spread. Obviously if you want to bet on the favorite to win straight up, you will have to risk more to win less. If you bet on the underdog, you would bet less to win more. The money line bets are based on a $100 bet. When you see a money line listed the favorite will have a figure with a minus symbol in front of it and the underdog will have a plus symbol in front of it.

For Example: The Boston Celtics are 5 point favorites over the Atlanta Hawks. The money line is listed as:
Celtics -220
Hawks +180

If you wanted to bet the Celtics on the money line you would have to wager $220 to win $100. If you want to bet the underdog Hawks, you would wager $100 to win $180. Your team would have to win straight up to win your bet.

Types of Bets
A Straight bet is a bet made on a single game or outcome. You can choose to bet the favorite or the underdog or you can bet the over or under of the total score. You can also choose to bet the game on the money line. With a straight bet you are betting on a single event or outcome.

Totals – Over/Under
You can also choose bet the over or the under for the game total score. The over or the under is a wager on the total score at the end of the game. You add the scores of both teams to get the final number. When you bet the under you are betting that the score will be under the total. When you bet the over you are betting the score will be higher than the total. For Example the final score of the game is: Celtics 115 and Lakers 110. The total of the game is 225. You win if you bet over and the score was more than 225 or if you bet under and the score was less than 225. If the score was exactly 225 then it would be a tie also called a push.

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