Basketball Betting Strategy: An Introduction to Betting on Basketball

While many people think of basketball as an American sport, it is played throughout Europe, with many competitive leagues, including one in the UK. The worldwide popularity of the sport has made betting on the sport also very popular, with daily games taking place around the world, gamblers can always find a game to bet on. There are many markets available, both for those who have a great, in-depth knowledge of the game and for those who are newcomers to the sport looking to start betting.

There are many opportunities to find an angle into a game and if you have expert knowledge on one of the leagues available to bet on, you could find yourself in a very profitable position. If the sport continues to grow globally I can only see bookmakers continuing to add more markets to their basketball betting book, giving punters, even more, choice and even more chance to find an edge.

The Main Markets

The easiest way to get into basketball betting is to take a look at the three main markets that are available to bet on. These are common markets that most people will already have knowledge in making it easy to get into the sport without having to do too much learning. Providing you have a basic betting knowledge, you will be able to bet on these markets and know what you are doing with the bets you place.

These three markets are the money line, which is the outright winner including any overtime played, the spread line which is the handicap line and an over/under market on the total points. These are markets that a lot of people will have seen and used on other sports before and it is this that makes basketball betting very accessible to newcomers. Like the NFL, the handicap line in basketball is usually the one that most punters use and if gives a great, balanced platform to bet on, which is why so many people use it.

Money Line

The money line is for those wanting to pick the winner of a game and it includes any overtime played so if the end of regulation ends in a draw, you may still win the bet. This is the line used by accumulator backers most of the time and it is a good place to start for those looking to get into the sport and betting on the sport.

The line is simple, straightforward and offers punters the most chance of winning as it is a two way line to win the game. The prices offered on this line may not always be big, although if you put together teams in an accumulator bet then you can enhance your returns that way. Despite this, I still think it is the best place to start for anyone new to the sport, the market is simple and if you pick the right team you win, it couldn’t get much simpler.

The Handicap Line

Handicap betting is very popular in some sports and also the main line of focus for some people. The handicap line is a fictional line created by bookmakers to make the two teams play off a level playing field. The weakest team is given a head start so that the game is much closer and a better game to have a bet on. The line will always end in .5 so that the line remains a two way market and a winner can be called.

For example, in an NBA game where there is a heavy favourite, the weaker team will receive a head start on the handicap of 15.5 points. On this line, the 15.5 points is used to try and make the teams even, and their odds will represent this instead of the favourite been long odds on like they are on the money line. In this example you are betting on the favourite of the match to win by 16 points or more, making them a much better price than what they are to win the game by any margin.

If you want to back the underdog then on this line you have a greater chance of winning. For the underdog to win on the handicap they either have to win the game outright or lose the game by a margin of 15 points or less. This is more likely to happen than just an outright loss, giving the underdog more support than they would have in the normal money line market and therefore that balances out the money on the market.

When using the handicap line you will find all bookmakers offer very similar prices on an event. However, the lines are all created individually by the bookmakers so the actual line itself may vary quite a bit. If you have time, make sure you shop around as two or three points difference on a line could have a huge impact on your bet, potentially the difference between winning and losing.

The Total Points Line

The total points line is another line that bookmakers create for themselves so make sure you follow the rule above and you shop around to find the best deal to suit your bet. This is an over/under the line which allows people to bet on the total number of points scored in a game by both teams. The market has been around for many years in American sports and is very popular. Like the handicap line, you will see the points line have .5 at the end to ensure the line always produces a winner.

For those looking for an easy way to get into Basketball betting, without having to choose a team to win then betting on the points line could be for you. It is easy to use and gives an interest in the game throughout, even if the game is very one sided making it appealing to those watching live. The market is also one that can be very profitable if you are willing to spend time doing a little studying.

When betting on this line I look out for things like recent form of players, defensive records and how open and one-sided the game is likely to be. All of these things have an impact on the game and if I see positive trends in those then I will likely place a bet on the overs in this market.

Predicting the underline is a little trickier but when looking at this I like to choose a game between two solid defensive teams that looks like it is going to be close. When games are close teams are less likely to take risks and try to run quick plays, this means they hang onto the ball for a lot longer. With a slow build up and teams keeping the ball, scoring opportunities are reduced and therefore it is likely we will see a low scoring game that finished under the line.

The final thing I like to look for is teams towards the end of the season who have nothing to play for. These teams tend to play without fear and play a more attacking game, something which can help us make a profit by backing over the line.

Alternative Markets

For those with an in-depth knowledge of basketball, you will find many other markets to bet on where you can use your knowledge to your advantage. These markets include specific players markets, team scoring markets and a variety of other things that the bookmakers now offer for us.

Players Markets

Do you think a player will have a good game or a bad game? If you do then bookmakers have created what they call ‘prop bets’ which are placed on a player’s performance during a game. The most common one is a total points bet on how many points that player will score. The line is an over/under line where you predict if he will score more or less than the line given. This is great for those with in-depth knowledge of the game and who can predict how a player is going to play.

Team Markets

If you have an opinion on how a team is going to play then you can place a bet on their performance, without backing them to win or lose a game. This is great for those who like to study games because you can predict how many points a team will score, and even narrow that down to pointe per half if you want to.

The best example of this would be if you think a team is going to score a low amount of points, but you don’t necessarily think that will cost them the game, you are unsure of the game outcome. Using the team scoring markets you can back under the line so all you are betting on is what you believe will happen, which is that the team will score a low number of points