Basketball is one of the most popular sports not just in the United States, but in many parts of the world. Thanks to the popularity of online sports books and online bookmakers, basketball continues to offer some of the most exciting sports bets you can make, no matter which league you are following.

While the NBA is without doubt the largest and most followed league in the world, there are many other forms of the sport that are just as popular. College basketball, for instance, accounts for a vast majority of online basketball bets, as do a number of European leagues. The Olympic Games and World Championships also bring in massive viewing and betting numbers, especially in the final stages of their

Most basketball bets placed are attempting to predict the outcome of the game.

In the United States especially, points spread betting is a very popular type of bet on basketball games. It is also known as betting the ‘line’ or the ‘spread’. The sportsbooks will set a ‘line’, by estimating how many points the game will be decided.

For example the line or ‘points spread’ on a Lakers versus Celtics game in Los Angeles may be set at -8.5, with the Lakers as favorite. This means the sportsbook is predicting that the Lakers should win at home by roughly nine points. If you bet on the Lakers at -8.5, then they need to win by 9 points or more for you to win your bet.

Often the Celtics would then be listed as +8.5, meaning they have to get within at least 8 points of the Lakers for you to win a bet placed on them.

Setting this points spread is referred to as ‘handicapping’. The sportsbooks will have oddsmakers on staff that study the form of all basketball teams and players in order to accurately predict the outcomes of upcoming games.

Money Line Betting is also popular with basketball punters. This is simply betting on the winner of the game. The sportsbook will set odds before the game which represent each team’s chance of winning. For example the moneline on a particular game may be;

  • Lakers -200 | 1.50 | 1/2
  • Celtics +170 | 2.50 | 3/2

The odds above are displayed in American, Decimal and European formats, but they all mean the same thing. If you were to place $100 on the Lakers in this game, and they won – you would collect a total of $150.

We also provide a more detailed explanation of sports betting odds, or you can use our sports betting odds conversion calculators to easily display odds in your favorite format.

Now that you know the basic types of basketball bets, you should read more about College basketball betting or, to start betting on basketball games right now, choose one of our recommended online sportsbooks.


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