Online Basketball Betting

How to bet on Basketball Games Online

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Assuming you've ever made a football bet online, you won't have much to learn when it comes to basketball betting. After all, both sports commonly feature point spreads, moneylines and totals (over/under). But even if you've never wagered on either sport, online basketball betting is still pretty easy to learn. This being said, let's discuss the basics of wagering on basketball games, beginning with what a typical line looks like.

Example of a Basketball Line

Whenever you visit an online sportsbook during the winter and spring, you'll see a large variety of NBA and NCAA basketball lines. And they can look quite strange to a total beginner since there are plus signs, minus signs, and various numbers present. Rather than continuing to describe what they look like, let's just jump to a sample NBA betting line:

Toronto Raptors +10.5 +240 Over 205 (-110)
Miami Heat -10.5 -190 Under 205 (-110)

The first number in this bet is the point spread, the second is the moneyline wager, and the third is the totals bet - along with odds in parenthesis. None of this may make any sense yet, so let's discuss each individual type of wager below.

Point Spread

In order to balance out betting action on both sides in a straight bet, bookmakers institute a point spread. The favorite is indicated by a minus sign while the underdog is indicated by a plus sign. And the idea here is that bettors hope to wager on the team that covers their spread.

For example, Miami (-10.5) has to win by 11 points or more for a bet on them to be successful; if they only win by 10 or less, the wager results in a loss. A bet on Toronto (+10.5) means that the Raptors have to lose by 10 points or less for bettors to win.

As you can see in our particular point spread example, half points are used. This is quite common at sportsbooks because they want to prevent ties and pushes because no team can score half a point. When making a point spread wager, keep in mind that you are normally risking $110 to win $100 in profit.

Jordan Williams, Terrance Birdette


Another way that bookmakers balance action with basketball games is by using a moneyline. With this bet, you are merely guessing which team will win the game. But to keep everybody from wagering on the favorite, sportsbooks offer different payouts based on the favorite and underdog.

In the case of the Heat (-190), bettors must risk $190 just to win $100 in profit. As for the Raptors (+240), people stand to win $240 in profit for every $100 wagered. Also note that you don't have to bet $100; this is just the easiest way of showing how these bets work.

Totals (Over/Under)

If you'd like to guess how many points two teams will combine to score, you can opt for the over/under (totals) bet. This is a very simple wager to make because you either bet that both teams will combine to score more or less than the given totals line.

The totals line in our Heat and Raptors example is 205 points, following by the odds in parenthesis. So if you bet the over, you'd need both teams to score 206 points or more; assuming you wagered on the under, you'd hope for both squads to score less than 205 points. In the event that both teams collectively score 205 points, the bet is a push and your money is returned.

As for the odds (-110), this simply means that you're risking $110 to win every $100. Again, you don't really need to bet $110, this is just the easiest example to use.

Pick a Sportsbook and get started

If you're looking to get into either NBA or NCAA basketball betting - or both - the process is pretty easy. You simply need to find a good online sportsbook, create an account, and make a deposit. Assuming you have no trouble with the deposit portion, the whole process shouldn't take any longer than 15-20 minutes. Once you're signed up, you can navigate to the NCAA or NBA betting section and start placing your wagers.