How to Bet on Basketball

Betting on basketball has been one of the most popular forms of sports wagering in North America for years. Like football wagering, basketball action is offered in numerous ways.

Bettors can either wager on a pointspread or on the total number of points scored in the game by both teams. One can also find basketball action offered in the form of prop bets and tournament brackets.

A pointspread type of bet is a method of handicapping a game that offers action on one team winning by a certain number of points.

So instead of picking one team to win over the other, you bet on whether a team will cover the pointspread or not. This type of betting line is used for NBA, WNBA and college basketball.

The favored team’s spread will have a (-) sign in front of it, meaning that they are essentially spotting the other team that number of points up front, just like one would do if they were playing against their little brother in the driveway. The underdog team will have a (+) sign in front of their spread number.

Say the Raptors are playing the Suns and the bookmakers have the Suns as six-point favorites. The book will have the line set up like this:

Teams     Spread     Score
Phoenix      -6           105
Toronto      +6           101

If you made a bet on the Raptors to cover a six-point spread you would be a winner in this example because Toronto only lost by four points.

Betting Over/Under the point total is a straight-forward concept. The bookmakers will offer action on the combined total of points that will be scored in the game. You simply bet on whether the actual total will be Over or Under the handicapped total.

Basketball prop bets come in many different forms. You can bet on events in the game like which team will score first, or on a specific player’s performance.

Tournament brackets are used to bet on the outcome of playoff rounds. College basketball's March Madness is the most famous bracket. All the teams in the tournament will be matched up and bettors can make predictions on which teams will advance. The winner is determined by which bracket has the most correct predicted games compared to the actual tournament results.

Signing up at a sportsbook is easy, just fill out your name and address and a few security questions and you’ll be betting on basketball as soon as you deposit into your new account.