When people think of basketball they will most commonly think about the NBA but there are also professional basketball leagues in Europe which attract plenty of bets from native punters.
The NBA is the most popular bet for English and American punters though (college basketball also popular in the US) and the NBA season runs from November until June. There are 30 teams from USA and Canada and they are divided into East and West conferences. Each conference is divided into three divisions of five teams and each team will be kept busy with 82 games not including any matches in the playoffs, which are made up of the four best teams from each conference.
Basketball can be one of the most exciting bets for punters who are watching their sport as the action is very much end to end with regular swings in the score.
Types Of Bet
The point spread is a handicap bet on a basketball match and is usually the most popular type of bet to place on a basketball fixture. The idea of the point spread is that the team that is least likely to win is given enough of a head start to make both teams the same odds (so all bets will be a fraction odds on).
The bigger the difference between the two sides the bigger the point spread will be but betting on the point spread requires many of the same considerations in betting on the match outcome. When looking for a value match outcome bet you look for a team that the bookies have underestimated and when looking for a good bet in the point spread you look for a team that has been given a generous handicap for their match by the bookies. It is also worth shopping around with the bookies, the prices will remain the same but the handicaps will differ and you want to find the best handicap for your selection.
As with all other sports you can simply choose to ignore the point spread and bet on which team you think will win. The problem with this bet for Basketball is that the odds on your favoured bets can be very short (hence why point spreads are usually a more popular bet.
It is always worth having a look at the match outcome odds though as on some occasions you may decide that a bet on the match outcome offers better value than a bet on the point spread.
Another very popular bet on basketball matches is a bet on the total points scored during a match. You don’t have to call the exact number of points, simply bet on over or under the points tally suggested by the bookies. The points tally will vary between matches as per the points spread, the bookies select the points tally in order to create equal odds for overs and unders, so you should find you get a shade of odds on whichever outcome you select. Shopping between bookmakers should allow you to pick the best total points outcome selected by the bookmaker for your bet, so if you are planning to bet on overs you want the points offered by the bookie to be lower and if you are betting on unders you want the points offered by the bookie to be higher.
Team To Score First Basket
This is a pretty self explanatory bet on the first of the two teams to score a basket. This bet isn’t a great one for those who are looking for some entertainment in a game as it will be over very early whether it’s a winner or a loser but it can be a good bet if particular teams are very strong or slow starters.
Make Your Own Point Spreads
One of the best strategies for picking value bets in the point spread is to look at a set of fixtures before you have looked at the bookmaker odds and spreads and to create your own spreads/handicaps that would make the game even in your opinion.
Once you have a list of spreads for the round of fixtures check the bookmaker spreads and whichever ones you disagree on most should offer the best value in your eyes, the more you disagree the better value the bet should be. If your point spreads are the same as the bookies for some matches or very close then those matches are best left along as you have very little edge. As long as you are a decent judge of the sport over the long term you should find this a profitable strategy.
Know As Much As The Bookies
In order to win money by betting on a sport in the long run you need to know at least as much as the bookies as this is particularly important for basketball, especially when it comes to knowing who is playing and who is injured. This will play a large part in how the bookies decide their spreads (if a spread looks too good to be true it probably is) and with basketball teams only made up of five players the dynamic of the team can completely be changed by one missing player, especially if that player is one of the more dominant or talented team members and most likely the point guard.