There’s been a recent surge in interest in US sports in the UK, with American football leading the way but basketball not far behind. This has led people in the UK to ask how to bet on basketball. How do you wager on top teams such as the Denver Nuggets and the Miami Heat, or on NBA legends like Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry?
This page will explain all you need to know about how to bet on basketball games online. As well as the NBA, we will be looking how to bet on European basketball, and how to bet college basketball which is incredibly popular in the US. It will also make clear the answer to the most important question of all – where to bet on basketball in the United Kingdom.
Football may be a game of two halves, but basketball is definitely a game of four quarters. Two teams of five dribble and pass up and down the court, hoping to find net and chip in with the odd three-pointer. Like all US sports there are masses of numbers involved, which means there are plenty of measurables that can be wagered upon.
The key aspect of betting in basketball is just like any other sport – betting on the winners of an individual game. Outright betting is also available but win/lose (there are no ties in basketball – well, hardly ever) betting is not your only option, as information later on in this article will reveal.
Placing a bet online in basketball is no different to playing a bet on any other team sports, but just to avoid any chances of confusing, we’re going to place an example bet for you at one of our favourite online betting sites, bet365.
We are going for an NBA bet and are going to bet on the Cleveland Cavaliers beating the Houston Rockets. We just head to the bet365 website and find the game we are interested in. The details of this match-up can be seen below:
Bet365 takes a ‘betting on the spread’ approach to basketball betting. Note, this is different to the UK definition of spread betting. When you’re learning how to bet on the spread in basketball, it’s basically just handicap betting. If we were to bet on the Rockets (the underdog) three points will be added to their score. If we bet on the Cavaliers (the favourite), then three points will be subtracted from their score. We still fancy the Cavs despite the handicap, so we click on the 1.90 odds to transfer the wager to our betting slip.
We have set our stake at £5, meaning a winning bet would return £9.54. To confirm our wager, all we need to do is hit the ‘place bet’ button.
So, you’ve now learned how to bet on the spread in basketball, but is that the only way of betting? Of course not! Basketball is a game that is high in statistics as Americans love measurable sports. Let’s go a few more of your betting on basketball options:
Basketball is not a sport where early cash out is readily available. That’s because the majority of bets on basketball are about the state of the game once it has been completed. For the ‘bet on the spread’ wager, the handicap is only applied once the game is over, and that goes for the majority of basketball bets.
The only real exception is the money line bet with no spread or handicap applied. However, you may find difficulty in trying to uncover a UK betting site that allows for early cash out in basketball betting.
Again, basketball bets are not ones that work well with accumulators. Accas do exist in American betting, although Americans are more likely to call them parlays. While it is possible to place the same kind of accas in basketball as is done in football, it is not really a popular option.
Accas or parlays in basketball work in exactly the same way as accas in any other sport. Say you backed the Nuggets at 1.50, the Cavaliers and 1.75 and the Knicks at 1.25. Your cumulative odds are 1.50 x 1.75 x 1.25 = 3.28. Therefore a £10 basketball acca bet on these three sides would return £32.80.
As basketball can be a little unpredictable, it’s best to keep your basketball accas down to three or four selections. The more legs you add to a basketball acca, the less likely it is to generate any returns.
Finding value in basketball betting odds is difficult, but it is the only way when you’re learning how to bet on basketball and win. If you want to come up with the definitive basketball betting strategy, then finding value is the only way to help you find a successful system, no matter if you bet on college basketball, NCAA basketball, the NBA or even European basketball.
Because most basketball betting is done by betting on the spread, then it comes down to finding value in the spread as opposed to finding value in the odds. The odds for basketball are always tight, because that is the way betting works in the US.
Take the Rockets/Cavalier match-up above. The Cavaliers not only have to win the game to win the bet, they have to win by at least four points (as if they win by three, the spread ‘result’ will be a tie). The key therefore is to determine how likely this is to happen.
Unfortunately, because basketball is so measurable it is easy to base the result of the game on the past performances of sides with similar records, so finding value can be tough. This is not to say that basketball is predictable, far from it, but betting sites seldom screw up the spread – you just have to be aware when they do!
Although basketball games are not really suitable for cash out, they are suitable for live betting. This does not work in the same way as, say, betting on football. For example, the odds of bets such as the spread, total points and the money line constantly fluctuate. It is therefore a skill in live basketball betting to know when to pounce and place your bet. You will though have to wait until the end of the contest for your bet to be settled.
Because basketball is such a fast-paced game it would be virtually impossible for a sports betting site to offer accurate odds on live aspects of the game, such as the next team to score a three-pointer, or the next player to commit a foul. You may find a site responsive enough to offer odds on such markets, but due to the unpredictable nature of these events, most sites do not bother.
Of course, everyone wants to bet on basketball and win. However, because basketball is reasonably unpredictable (even the best side in the NBA will lose around a third of its regular season games) coming up with a successful basketball betting strategy is very difficult. Our experts though have done their best to come up with a couple of them.
Betting on basketball is difficult enough, but it can become slightly easier if you avoid a few common slip-ups. We have listed a few common errors that can be applied to both basketball betting and sports wagering as a whole.
Here are some important terms you are likely to encounter when you are betting on basketball, with a brief explanation of each.
|An artificial handicap that’s applied to the final result
|A bet on the number of points scored in the game, over or under
|The odds of the two competitors winning the game
|Another name for an accumulator or acca
|A parlay on point spreads where bettors can adjust the spread
|A bet that returns your exact stake when settled
|Propositions. Specific bets on the game, a team, or a player
|Another term for outrights, i.e. the overall NBA winners
|The team thought likely to win, also ‘chalk’
|The team thought likely to lose
|The adjustment to odds made by betting sites so they remain profitable
|A contest in which both sides are thought equally likely to win
All UK betting sites will accept basketball wagers. The scope of the coverage is variable though, as a few sites may only cover the NBA and NCAA. Most sites will cover global basketball though, so no matter what you want to be bet on, you will be able to at most UK sports betting websites.
If you are not sure where to start, then you can check out our list of UK betting sites.
If you want to taste ‘nothing but net’ when it comes to learning how to bet on basketball and win, then we hope that we have helped. We’ve shown you how to bet on basketball games online with an example of how to bet on the spread in basketball. We’ve also shown you how to bet on the NBA and NCAA basketball (how to bet on college basketball) and most importantly of all, where to bet on basketball.
All the best of luck in perfecting your basketball betting strategy, and we hope you ‘slam dunk’ plenty of big basketball winning bets.
Basketball is one of the more unpredictable US sports (not as unpredictable as baseball though) so learning how to bet on basketball and win can be tough. Do your research, explore all options and tryout any basketball betting strategy on paper first.
College basketball. In the US, promising sports players work through college in their youth, before they (hopefully) go on onto the pro game. NCAA basketball is basketball at college level, and is extremely popular in the US.
This is the normal way of betting on basketball. The spread is an artificial handicap given to any side that you bet on. If they beat the spread, then your bet wins.
Sure! Although overshadowed by men's basketball, women's basketball remains popular throughout the world.
No - if you are based in the UK then it is always best for your safety to bet at sites with UKGC licences. You can easily bet on NBA games at them.