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Different Ways to Bet on Basketball

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Different Ways to Bet on Basketball


Basketball is the 7th most watched sport in the world and is enjoyed by 825 million people worldwide. 

It is no surprise that betting on the sport is widely popular. Floyd Mayweather loves the sport so much he once bet $5.9 million on the Miami Heat to beat the Indiana Pacers. So, what are the different ways you can bet on basketball and how is the most efficient way to place an online bets?

A Straight Bet

A straight bet is the easiest bet to make. Simply look at the games on offer and pick a team to win. 

Although it offers an exciting way to support your favourite team, it’s probably not the smartest bet to make.  

A straight bet is often also termed a money line wager. Because the favourites might be clearly predicted to win, the risk to the bettor will be less. This makes the odds less favourable. You would have to stake more money to make a bet worthwhile.

Likewise, loyalty to your team is great for fun supporting, but not for tactical betting. Simply betting on the winner does not always offer the best odds. To find those, it is necessary to explore different options. 

Team Reputations 

Betting on popular teams and underdogs is a key part of betting in any major sport. Underdogs, or those tipped to be the least likely to win, will attract better odds to win.

A team with a strong reputation, or with a good recent run of results, is deemed the favourite. They will have less favourable odds to win.

The Point Spread

In basketball betting, the point spread means the team you bet on must win or lose by a set margin of points. In effect, the casino is evening out the bet by bringing favourites closer to underdogs via this point handicap.

ball under basketball ring

So, for example, you might need a favourite to win by a margin of 5 points or over to win the bet. You could also bet on an underdog to lose by no more than a certain amount. This is termed ‘covering the spread’.

Let’s say a favourite is playing an underdog and has a point spread of +20. This means if you bet on them and they win by 21 or more, you win. If you bet on the underdog to win you win if they lose by 19 points or less or record an unlikely win. 

If the result is the favourite winning by exactly 20 points, then it will be a tie or a ‘push’ and no one wins.   

Score Totals

You can also bet on score totals. This is the combined score of both teams at the end of the game and is also called the over/under. For betting on the score totals, a predicted number of points will be offered, and you will have the chance to wager over or under the amount.

For example, consider a game between a favourite and an underdog where the over/under score is 124. Speculators making a wager on the over would win their bet if the combined score at the end of the game is over 124. Those betting on the under would need the final combined score to be under 124. 

As with the point spread, if the combined total at a game’s close is drawn then it is a push, and no one wins.  

Cover Betting

Cover betting is a kind of security bet. This involves making a ‘safer’ or less risky bet at the same time as a riskier bet. 

You might want to bet on a favourite to win at the same time that you place a bet on an underdog, to ‘cover’ the financial outlay.

Cover betting could come into play when fans make a bet to support their own team. They can then ‘cover’ the riskier bet by making another a bet on a more likely outcome. 

Live Betting

Live betting is very popular, allowing bets to be placed in real-time. The frenetic action of basketball is ideal for this type of betting, with games turning around completely at any given second. 

The idea of live betting is attractive as it brings you right into the action of the game. 

You have to watch closely as every new play will affect the overall outcome. A missed shot, or a scored basket will mean the sportsbook will adjust the odds.

It is not recommended for those new to basketball or sports betting, as the real-time events require a good deal of concentration.

Futures Betting

Futures are bets on longer reaching outcomes greater than just one game. You could bet on a team to with the championship for example. 

Bets on the season’s eventual MVP (most valuable player) is another popular wager to make. 

Tactical Betting 

As with any sports betting, taking the time to study the game of basketball and the form of teams playing in the leagues pays off.

Knowledge of the strategic plays and what effect they have on the results and scores is essential for tactical betting. 

Basketball is a fantastic sport to bet on. The wealth of possibilities and quick turnarounds mean it has an endless variety of variables. This makes it ideal for those keen to study the game in detail. 

People new to the game and betting in general will also be able to enjoy the excitement of betting on the game. This article has covered the basics, but don’t be afraid to do your own research.

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