Guide to Betting on Basketball
Basketball is a very popular sport for betting and with many different leagues around the world, if you are a general basketball fan then there will always be a game coming up for you to look at.
The biggest basketball league in the world is the NBA in North America, and this is where most of the bets are placed. Elsewhere, look out for college basketball in America, the EuroLeague in Europe and the Chinese basketball league in Asia if you are looking for alternatives from the big league.
If you are starting out betting on basketball then in terms of the sport, there are a few things you can look out for which should help you get on your way.
Like most other sports, you will gain a lot from a look at the standings and the last few games. In particular, look at when the last few games have been played and what kind of travelling the team has had to do, this is a big thing in the NBA but also in Europe.
For example, you may need to think twice if you are backing an East Coast NBA team on a back to back while they are on a road trip on the West Coast. Not only will they be tired from their game on the previous night, but may also have jet lag issues travelling from the opposite coast.
Their opponents could be sat at home waiting for them having not played for the past three or four days. This is not uncommon to see on the schedule, and it will play a big part in your picks.
If you are betting on total points or spreads, look at how many points your team averages in the season, while also looking at recent scores to see if they are hitting that. A game between two high scoring teams that have suspect defensive records can be the perfect recipe for a bet on the points line, just as a team between two strong defensive units can be as well.
You don’t have to dive in too deep during the early stages, a quick browse at the schedule, overall scoring and recent scoring can point you in the right direction with your wagers.
The Money Line
In terms of betting lines, the best place for anyone new to basketball betting to begin is the money line. This is simply who will win the game, it doesn’t matter how they do it, what the score is or anything else, all you are concerned about here is the win.
If the game goes into overtime then you are still covered, this line is a straight two-way matchup between the two teams taking part.
When finding your feet, the money line offers you a simple place to try out single bets on teams to win. As you progress, you can either move onto more complex markets to get a bit better value and higher odds, or you can keep using this market and place bigger bets, combining teams together in accas if you are looking for a bigger win.
If you’ve placed a bet on any other North American sports in the past, you will have seen the money line market on those too, this is a market that all North American sports use. Others around the world also use it, but often call it something different, it is basic and all gamblers should begin here with their chosen sport.
Handicap Betting & Total Points
After you have got to grips with the money line, you will notice a wide range of other betting markets you can use. The two most commonly used markets are the handicap betting line and the total points line.
Handicap betting is when the bookmakers create a fictional line for you to bet on, which is aimed at trying to level up the teams. For example, the best team in the game will have a deficit of -7.5 points to overcome, so the lower ranked team have +7.5 points.
When betting on the line, if you are backing the favoured team, not only do they need to win the game, but they also need to win by eight points or more to cover the handicap. Backing favourites on this line is common, by adding the deficit in you are going to get a bigger price on your bet.
Handicap lines have spread over the past few years and now most bookmakers also offers alternative lines. So, the standard line may be -7.5, but you will also be able to bet on -3.5, -5.5, -9.5 and more.
Total points betting is another common way of wagering on basketball. This gives you the option to bet on a game without choosing the winner. Simply look at the total points line and choose to go over or under.
This is where you can look at the scoring record of teams, how they have been scoring recently and try to match up two teams who will either create a high scoring game or a low scoring one.
Bets That Focus on Teams and Players
The final bet types to mention are more advanced, and these are markets that we have seen develop over the past few years. These markets focus on teams or individuals, either on the points they score or for players, things like rebounds and assists.
This is perfect for those who want to dive a little deeper, but also great for those who play fantasy sports and like to focus in on individuals rather than the game as a whole. These markets are what the betting industry have created to combat the rise in fantasy sports, and it will be interesting to see if they work.
As you can see from the above, betting on basketball is very diverse, and there is something for everyone in the markets, depending on your experience. Newcomers have a place to start, but after that there will always be something else to move onto as you learn and pick up more experience.
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