Betting on basketball: What you need to know

IF you love a punt on the basketball, chances are you’re laying it down on the biggest league in the world, America’s NBA.

But there is so much more to the sport than meets the eye.

There are professional leagues all over the world, as well as the wildly popular college basketball in the USA and of course the international events, like the Olympics and World Championships.

It means there is basketball all year round, giving punters a chance to make some real money on the game they love.

The sport features the most athletic men and women in the world, five on five, on the hardwood.

It’s fast paced and action packed and perfect for the almost never ending wagering markets available on it.

Here we take a look at the game and give you a few tips on how to find and place your bets, and maybe win a few dollars in the process.

Best online sportsbooks for basketball betting

We already mentioned that basketball was a global sport and that means there are bookies all over the world clamouring for the punting dollar and trying to beat their competition for the best odds and promotions on the game.

Click on any of our recommended online bookmakers and you’ll open up a world of hoops odds.

If you can’t find a bet with our stable, it simply doesn’t exist.

Our bookies have a huge range of different markets, across their desktop, smart phone and tablet enacted websites and apps, giving you one click punting at your finger tips.

Biggest basketball leagues and tournaments in the world

As we said, the NBA is where it is at in the world of basketball.

But there are so many more leagues, with players of NBA calibre, across the world.

Each is unique in its own special way, most are packed with plenty of talent and all have legions of loyal followers that will tell you their league is the best.

Here is a list of some of the more prominent leagues:

  • French Pro A League
  • Chinese Basketball Association
  • Turkish Basketball League
  • Lega Basket Serie A – Italy
  • Liga Nacional de Basquet – Argentina
  • Heba A1 – Greece
  • Liga ACB – Spain
  • National Basketball League – Australia
  • Israeli Super League
  • Baloncesto Superior Nacional – Puerto Rico
  • Euroleague – Features teams from up to 18 different European countries and is considered the pinnacle of basketball outside the US – kind of like soccer’s Champions League for basketball.

Of course, from the leagues, there is international stuff that brings out patriotism in ball fans.

There are myriad tournaments, but three key ones offer global appeal:

  • The Olympics
  • World Championships
  • EuroBasket

Popular betting markets for basketball

Head to head or money line: This is the easy one. Just pick out the team you think will win the match, lay your money down and then root for them to get over the line against their opponent.

Line or handicap: This gets a little tricker. The favourite team gets a points handicap, while the outsider gets the same number of points as leeway. So the outsider can lose and you can still win. Say the Oklahoma City Thunder are favourites against the Sacramento Kings. The Thunder might be -6.5, which means they must win by seven or more for your bet to pay. The Kings will be +6.5, meaning they can still lose, but must do so by six or less points for your bet to salute.

Margin: Usually 1-10 or 11+. This provides four combinations, with both teams given odds on each margin, making this bet all the more tough. A good one for tight betting games that you think have a chance of being blow outs.

Futures: You can bet on the NBA champion almost all year round. Often markets for the next season are put up moments after the champions are crowned. There are also options for Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year, Defensive Player of the Year and Most Improved Player. You can also bet on conference and divisional winners and losers and there will probably be a few novelties available as well.

Season wins over-under: These are available at the start of the season once the rosters are settled. It’s as it suggests, will the team win more or less games than the line selected by the bookmaker. For example, the Warriors might be over or under 65 wins.

Player props: This can be head to head with other players – ie, will Klay Thompson score more points than Kawhi Leonard, or they can be player lines, ie, Julius Randle over/under 6.5 rebounds.

Tips for betting on basketball

Bet within your means: Pretty self explanatory. Make sure your bills are paid, the food is on the table and you have met all your obligations before you get on the punt. You have to be able to cover your losses.

Know your teams: Lebron’s injured? That Cleveland tip might not be the best idea. How about Pop resting his stars against the bottom team? Stay away from the line. It’s crucial you know who is injured, who is playing and where the game is played. Home teams have the advantage in the NBA, just like other sports.

Look at the records: Records count for plenty. How does the team go against its conference or divisional rivals? On the road versus at home? What were past results between the two teams? Is one of the players on a hot streak?

Notable basketballers

The best ballers ever to step on the hard court strut their stuff in the NBA. There are some superstar ballers who have never ventured overseas, guys like the great Oscar Schmidt (Brazil), but the household names come from the NBA.

Michael Jordan – The pinnacle of athleticism. The perfect combination of height, skills and smarts. An absolute monster who will forever be the best there ever was.

Lebron James – Once the heir apparent, his skills have begun to wane, but he is a two-time championship winner and owns one of the best performances in a losing finals series of all time.

Kobe Bryant – No longer in the game, Kobe was MJ part two. A ferocious competitor, he, just like Jordan, changed his game to preserve his body and still dominate the league.

Larry Bird – Once known as the best shooter of all time until a certain Golden State Warrior came along, Larry Legend was all heart for the Boston Celtics.

Wilt Chamberlain – One of the best big men of all time, owns the NBA’s single game scoring record and even once led the league in assists because someone said he couldn’t.

Shaquille O’Neal – Really took MJ’s mantle as the most dominant player in the game – and ran with it. Opponents ducked for cover and rims quivered when Shaq was in the building.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – Some have made a case that Kareem was better then MJ. In terms of longevity and output, his career stacks up. Is an icon for his sky hook that was simply unguardable.

Magic Johnson – The epitome of cool, Magic was born to be great. One of the greatest passers of all time, he knew how to turn it on under the bright lights in LA.

Stephen Curry – Arguably the best player in the modern game and the greatest shooter of all time.