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how to bet on basketball

We independently review betting sites. Sign-ups through our links may earn us a commission at no extra cost to you, this never influences our listings’ order.

If you’re wondering how to bet on basketball, just follow the steps below:

  1. Sign up with one of the best betting sites we recommend if you don’t already have a betting account. If you do, just log in.
  2. Make sure that you have some funds in your account. If not, choose a payment option and add some funds.
  3. Find the basketball betting section and find the competition that you want to bet on.
  4. Look for a market that interests you, which could be an ante-post basketball bet, or a bet on individual basketball games.
  5. Once you’ve selected a bet that you want to make, click on the odds, which will add the selection to your betslip.
  6. Decide how much money you want to bet and enter your stake to see the potential payout.
  7. Once you have double checked that everything is correct and that you’re happy to place your bet, click on Place Bet to confirm your wager.
  8. Sit back and keep your fingers crossed that your bet will win.

Most Popular Basketball Betting Markets

You now know the basics when it comes to how to bet on basketball. Yet it is a sport that is covered in great detail by bookies, with a wide range of markets. Here are some of the most popular markets and betting options that you will find available when you bet on basketball games.

  • Money Line – This is simply an American term for the match result bet type. You bet on which team will win the basketball game.
  • Over/Under – Bet on the total number of points that will be scored. A figure is speculated and you have to bet whether the actual total will be over or under that number.
  • Spread Bets – Just think of the spread betting option as a handicap bet. One team is give a negative points handicap that they must overcome and the other team is presented with a positive points advantage.
  • Prop Bets – A proposition is made and you have to bet on whether it will occur or not. It could be whether the game goes to overtime, or a winning margin, or the first team to reach 20 points, for example. These type of bets are known commonly as ‘props’.
  • Player Props – There are all sorts of bets in basketball based around player performances. You can bet on individual points scores, rebounds, assists and many other statistical matters.
  • Half/Quarter Bets– There are many markets and types of bets that concentrate on performance within a certain quarter or half of the game. You can bet on the result within a certain quarter, or the points total within the first-half.

How to Bet on NBA Basketball

Basketball is a huge participation and spectator sport across the world, but nowhere is it bigger than the USA. The main basketball competition in America is the NBA and it is also the most popular league when it comes to bookmaker coverage in the UK.

The NBA sees a lengthy regular season in which the competing teams are split into various regional divisions. The top performing teams in the Eastern and Western Conferences go through to the playoffs, which is a knockout competition in which the NBA teams play a best of seven game format.

The playoffs culminate in the NBA Finals between the Eastern Conference champion and the winner of the Western Conference. The first of these teams to get to four wins, become the ultimate NBA champions. It’s a huge event, which provides the peak of NBA betting action.

Another huge event is the All-Star game, which sees the best Eastern Conference players, take on the best Western Conference players, in a one-off contest. Here are a couple of NBA wagering tips that will be useful for anyone that is just learning how to bet on basketball.

NBA Schedule Matters

NBA teams play a huge amount of games, which often involves a lot of travelling. It’s worth studying the NBA schedule to try and find instances when a team has had to do a lot of tiring travelling, played a lot of games and perhaps had to go into overtime. They will be at a disadvantage against a better-rested team.

Read All About It

The NBA is such a popular sporting competition that there are acres of words written about it each season. These words include nuggets that can help your betting. It could be a bit of team news or injury reports involving key players, or some betting tips from a respected NBA pundit. Take in as much knowledge as you can regarding the NBA.

Common Basketball Terms when Betting

With basketball being a sport that most popular in the USA, there are a lot of betting terms and phrases that will be unfamiliar to punters in the UK. Here are some of the most common terms that you will see, along with an explanation of what they mean.

  • Favourite – The team that are expected to win a basketball game.
  • Futures – An American term for outright betting, which concerns who will win future events, such as the NBA.
  • Juice – The percentage adjustment made by bookies, to ensure that their markets are profitable.
  • Money Line – Another phrase for the match result of a basketball game.
  • Parlay – An accumulator bet, in which several different wagers are grouped together to make one
  • Pick ‘em – A game in which both teams are rated at having an even chance of winning.
  • Push – If there is a tie in a market, such as the money line, the bet is made void and the punter’s stake is returned.
  • Spread – This is another name for a handicap, where a points handicap is applied to one team and a points advantage given to the other.
  • Teaser – A parlay bet on points spread where basketball bettors can adjust the spread.
  • Totals – A wager on the total number of points scored in a game, or period.
  • Underdog – The team which are not expected to win a basketball game.

How to Bet on College Basketball

After the NBA, it is the college basketball scene that attracts most of the betting action. The NCAA basketball competition features a large amount of games spread across the schedule, providing plenty of betting opportunities.

Like the NBA, it starts with a regionalised regular season, with the best teams making the playoffs. The playoffs are known as ‘March Madness’ and is a huge events in America.

When it comes to how to bet on basketball strategy is important. Here are a couple of tips that apply to the college scene.

Concentrate on Certain Conferences

There are 353 NCAA Division I teams. Being an expert on all of them is not a realistic option. Instead, concentrate on a specific division and get to know it really well. Put in the research and watch the games regularly in that division and there’s every chance that you could soon know more about it than the oddsmakers.

Bet Against Top-Ranked Teams

Basketball betting fans will naturally bet on the biggest colleges with lofty reputations. This inflates the basketball betting odds of the underdog team, who actually tend to have a strong record in the NCAA. Though the best young players will gravitate to the most successful college basketball teams, lesser colleges can still end up with great players. Prior to the season, look at the new recruits at teams and how they fared in younger age groups.

How to Bet on Basketball Online – Futures Markets

how to bet on basketball

As the name suggests, futures markets allow you to place bets on basketball events that will conclude in the future. So when it comes to the NBA, that could mean betting in basketball on which team will ultimately become champion, or win a division or conference.

The various divisions and conferences feed into each other, providing plenty of future betting opportunities. You can also bet on future markets that concern the performances of individual players, such as who will become the NBA MVP or top points scorer.

Basketball Live Betting & Streaming

When you bet on basketball games, you don’t have to do so before the action starts. Live betting allows you to place bets after the tip off and throughout the game. This can be useful, as it allows you to watch a game and see where the momentum is headed.

Sometimes, a bet will not be obvious before the game starts, that suddenly makes sense once you start watching. Or, a price that was not attractive before the game begins, hits a spot where it’s worth backing. With basketball being such a fast-paced game, you can expect the odds to fluctuate swiftly. Making your bet at the right time is an art that takes some practice.

Many sports betting sites offer live streaming of basketball games. This enables you to watch a game and place bets on it, all from the same website. That’s incredibly helpful for punters, as your attention is completely centred on one screen.

Basketball Acca & Same Game Multis

With so many basketball games taking place every day, it can often make sense to pool a number of bets together to make up an acca. This is especially the case for wagers with short odds. It may not be worth placing a single bet on such a selection, but when you add several together in a multiple bet, they can form an acca with decent odds.

A relatively recent development when it comes to making a bet on basketball games, are Bet Builders. This feature allows you to group together a number of bets from the same game, in an accumulator bet. The odds don’t accumulate in the way that they would do with a normal acca, as some of the bets can be related to one another. So for example, if you bet on a team to win a certain quarter, they would therefore become more likely to win the whole game. Bet Builder provides a calculation that gives you odds that take related contingency into account.

It’s a great way to add a little value to your basketball bets. The regular odds for a team to win might not appeal to you, but when you combine them with a short-priced wager that is likely to land, the overall odds get a boost.

Basketball Betting Strategy

In this section we’re going to show you how to bet on basketball and win. Follow these tips and they will boost your profitability.

Bet Sensibly

However much money is sat within your betting account, represents your bank. It doesn’t make sense to place bets that take up too big a percentage of your bank. So if you are betting 50% of your total funds, it will only take two unsuccessful bets to wipe you out. Keep staking at a sensible level and as you gradually grow your bank, you can in turn, gradually increase the size of your stakes.

Look For Value

A value bet is where the odds are bigger than they really should be. That means that the price is larger than the true chance of the bet winning, suggests that it should be. So if a popular team has a 50% chance of winning, the odds should be around 1/1. If the odds are significantly bigger than that, then you have found some value. Do your research and find opportunities for profitable betting markets.

Don’t Be Emotional

When it comes to how to bet on a basketball game, a top tip is to keep emotions out of it. You might have a favourite NBA team, but that doesn’t mean that it necessarily makes sense to bet on them every game. Don’t let your allegiances blind you to where the value is and also don’t go chasing losses, by placing rash bets in an effort to win back a lost stake.

Where to Bet on Basketball in the UK

You can bet on basketball games at any betting sites in the UK. Basketball is one of the most popular sports at UK bookmakers, so they cover the sport with the according detail. It’s not just the NBA that is featured, but also the many competitions from around the world, so there are always plenty of games to bet on each day.

There are good reasons why we recommend Spreadex for placing bets on basketball, because of the dual service you receive through them. Both spread bets and fixed odds wagers are available there. Besides Spreadex, other basketball betting sites to earn our experts’ approval include BetMorph, 10bet and LiveScore Bet.


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Dan Fitch
Dan Fitch
Dan Fitch

A writer and editor for some of the top names in the gambling industry for nearly 20 years, Dan also works as a freelance sports journalist for publications and websites such as ESPN, FourFourTwo and LiveScore.