Beginner's Guide to Basketball Betting Online

by Rae Dover
| 23/09/2020

Basketball is usually played at an extremely high pace, which is very popular for fans watching the games as they are always entertaining and high scoring.  The popularity of the sport has led to sportsbooks offering large amounts of betting markets for us to get involved in.  This article is the essential beginner’s guide to online basketball betting and will provide you with everything you will need to start your journey into hoops wagering online.

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Global Basketball Competitions

Although Canada is not known for its own basketball league, we do have one of biggest teams in the NBA playing in our very own Toronto! The Toronto Raptors are known around the world and are also the 2019 NBA Champions. A number of the most popular leagues around the globe that we can bet on are listed below:

  1. NBA – the biggest basketball competition in the world. 29 teams from America and 1 from Canada compete to win the championship.
  2. European Leagues – basketball has always been a popular sport across Europe, and many countries have their own professional competition which are becoming very popular with bettors. 
  3. Asian Leagues – professional basketball leagues across China, Korea and the Philippines. 

The dream is to play in the NBA, but players who do not make it will have an opportunity to play professional basketball in other leagues around the world. The best players outside of North America will be recruited by NBA teams to come and play for them, for example Yao Ming from China and Luka Doncic from Slovenia. 

Betting Terms – Single or Parlay

When looking into basketball betting online, you will come across two main terms – single and parlay betting.  A single bet refers to placing money on one outcome. For example, over 224.5 points in the game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the San Antonio Spurs.  A parlay consists of 2 or more single bets on the same betslip. An example is placing a moneyline bet on 3 different games on the days slate. This is preferred when betting on favourites, as a parlay can increase the odds and the pay-out if your bet wins.

Betting Markets in Basketball

Sportsbooks offer a wide variety of betting markets for basketball. As a beginner, it can be very time-consuming and confusing to look into each individual market. We recommend delving into the most popular ones first, which include:

  • Moneyline – which team will win the game. A moneyline bet will also be valid for any overtime played during a game. Some markets do not take account of overtime, so please be wary about this when placing your bet.
  • Point Spread – a sportsbook will offer odds on a team winning a game by a certain number of points. If one team is favoured heavily, they will have a very large point spread, for example -14.5. For a game that is considered to be much closer, the point spread will be a lot lower, -1.5. This market will be discussed in more detail in our betting markets article.
  • Points Total – sportsbooks will also offer a points total market, giving the bettor a set number of points to be scored in a game (for example 219.5), and you will decide on whether the game will go above that number or stay below. Sportsbooks will carry out their own research into each game, creating a total that is usually close to the final score.

Do’s and Don’ts in Basketball Betting

The major do in basketball betting is to carry out extensive research into each available game. Carrying out the research will help to you to place profitable bets over a long period of time. We recommend you look into the home / away record of each team and the number of points scored / conceded by each team to gain an understanding of the team’s offence / defence. You should also look at the day’s injury reports, because if a team is missing a key player, this can have a big effect on the outcome of the game.

Please do not always bet on favourites. Even though these teams are likely to win the majority of games, you will actually end up losing more money in the long run. This is due to the very low odds for a favourite to win a game, causing you to place a large amount of money to make a decent amount of profit. If you lose one of these bets, you end up losing a large amount of money.  You can find more of our recommendations in our basketball betting strategy guide.

Next Steps

Now it is time to start betting online. First you will need to find a sportsbook that provides everything you need. The majority of sportsbooks have great bonuses for new customers, so please look at our article highlighting the best sportsbooks for Canadian bettors to help with your decision. Once you are all signed up, you should start looking into which markets you want to bet on. Please use your research to help point you in the direction of which market to bet on.

Once you have carried out all of the steps above, you can start betting. We highly recommend that you start with low wagers and spread your bets across multiple markets. This will allow you to determine which market is best for your research.

The NBA alone has a total of 1230 games across a whole regular season. This provides us with a lot of opportunity to earn money when betting on basketball online.

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