IF glamour, popularity, big money, exciting gameplay, heart-stopping finishes and the world’s greatest athletes appeal to you, basketball could be your game.
Think basketball and its inevitable you’ll find your way to the game’s biggest competition – the National Basketball Association.
The NBA, based in the USA and Canada, is one of the most-popular betting sports in Australia and around the world.
The world’s most gifted basketball players tend to play in the NBA and the matches are not only entertaining, but also great fun to bet on.
There are usually a handful of options for betting on basketball. We’ll go through each of them and provide some tips on what to look for and what to be careful of.
Recommended bookmakers for betting on basketball
As the popularity of the NBA grows in Australia, so too do the specials that leading bookmakers offer to lure basketball punters.
Sportsbet.com.au, Crownbet.com.au and WilliamHill.com.au lead the way with this market, offering a number of specials which encourage multi bets, expand odds for line betting and provide bonuses and cash-back offers for feature matches and playoffs.
The following is our list, in order, of our recommended bookmakers for NBA betting:
An easy one, just pick the winner of the match. This almost always includes any overtime played, unless the sports bookmaker specifically stipulates otherwise – you should check the help section or rulings prior to placing your first bet.
In basketball, sometimes players might withdraw from the game at the last minute so it’s very important to make sure that you are aware of the the likely lineup for the game.
Reading game previews is a good start, but you want up-to-date information. Watching the pre-game shows on TV is a good option, but if you don’t have access to the vision, ESPN, Twitter and google news are good sources when searching for news on specific, important players.
Since there are no draws in basketball, the head-to-head bet is what is known as a “two-horse-race”, meaning that there are only two participants and only two possible outcomes.
We find that on average, there is at least one game per day that has great odds for the underdog, so do your homework and find the value odds.
Basketball money line and handicap betting
A line or handicap refers to points given or taken away from a weak or stronger team to try and balance the match in betting.
Usually in this form of betting, the odds for either side are the same once the handicap is in place – typically around $1.91 at most sports bookmakers.
Most of the time the handicap point difference has a half-point (-5.5 points or +5.5 points for example). This prevents a draw occurring.
Handicap betting is designed to make both teams a lucrative betting option. Like head-to-head betting, we suggest you do your homework and research before looking at the line.
Does the underdog team have a huge head start? What is their recent history against the favoured team? Has the favoured team had a tough schedule? Could they get tired and only win by a handful of points? Are any key players injured? These are the questions you need to be asking.
The over/under betting option gives punters a chance to gamble on the overall combined score of the game.
A bookmaker, using the averages of two competing teams, sets a line for the total game score that punters can elect to go under or over and, like line betting, the odds will start even for both options.
For example, in a game between the Chicago Bulls and Indiana Pacers, the line will be set at 195.5. If you think the overall score of the game will be higher, you can gamble on an up-tempo high-scoring affair.
Odds are typically set at $1.90 for this option and punters will often use this leg in multi bets.
One of the main pitfalls of this bet-type to look out is the fact that it always includes overtime periods. If you have chosen to bet under the total point line, be aware that extra time in a close match will drastically hurt your chances at victory.