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Basketball Betting Markets


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With the recent boom in online basketball betting, the number of basketball markets offered by sportsbooks has increased exponentially. The National Basketball Association (NBA) is still the heavy favourite when it comes to betting on basketball. However, with the recent increase in popularity of competitions throughout Europe, bettors have now been exposed to even more games to take advantage of.

Throughout this article, we will look at the different basketball betting markets offered to us by sportsbooks.


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Most Popular Markets in Basketball

The following markets are considered to be the most popular betting markets in basketball. 

Money Line

This market focuses on the team who will win the match up outright - will the Timberwolves overcome the Mavericks? Although it is considered the least favoured market (due to the odds-on heavy favourites being very short), if you believe an underdog has a chance of winning the game, it can lead to a very large pay-out.

Over / Under Game Totals

This market relates to the combined number of points scored by both teams, taking into account both regulation and overtime. The sportsbook will offer a set total (for example 210.5), and it is up to the bettor to decide whether the total number of points scored will be above or below this figure. Totals offered by sportsbooks can vary widely, ranging from around 180 all the way up to 230. The number is dependent on how the bookmaker perceives the game to go, whether it is a matchup of two high scoring teams or teams with exceptional defensive records.

Point Spread

Point spread is considered the number one betting market in basketball (as it is with football). There can be immense value for the bettor in this market, as the odds offered are much more favourable compared to betting on the money line (especially for teams who are heavily favoured).

Similar to game totals (highlighted above), the bookmaker creates a spread based on the two teams playing and who they believe will win. Below is an example of spread betting:

  • Philidelphia 76ers +4.5 @ Boston Celtics -4.5.
  • Philidelphia are 4.5 point underdogs in this match up against Boston (4.5 point favourite).
  • For your bet on Philidelphia to win, they will need to either win outright, or lose by no more than 4 points.
  • For your bet on Boston to win, they will need to beat Philidelphia by 5 points or more.

Proposition Markets

Proposition markets, otherwise known as ‘Prop” betting, involves a particular outcome happening during the game. These types of markets have become very popular with bettors in recent years, allowing you to place a bet on individual or team performances, please see below.

Player Props

Markets included within player props betting include total points / assists / rebounds for a specific player in that game. For example, a sportsbook may offer an over / under total of 27.5 points for Stephen Curry, or over / under 6.5 rebounds for Lebron James. This creates an exciting angle when betting on basketball. 

Team Props

Sportsbooks also offer markets on specialised team performances, including the total number of points scored or the total number of rebounds by the whole team.

Parlay Betting

Parlay betting can be exhilarating and create bigger paydays compared to the markets above. This type of betting involves at least two outcomes but can be as high as twelve (hence the large payday). Each outcome has to win for your bet to be successful. Even if one outcome is wrong, you will lose your parlay.

Other Basketball Markets on Offer

If the above markets do not create enough value for you, there are plenty more to choose from:

  1. Race to 20 points – which team will be the first to score 20 points. This can provide some value to bettors, as certain teams will start quickly and get into their rhythm much faster than others. 
  2. Tie at the end of regulation – will the game go to overtime. Many basketball games are close fought contests, often resulting in overtime. With the huge odds available (around +1000 – a $100 bet will win $1000), this can be very appealing to bettors who believe the game will go down to the wire.

Futures and Outrights

These are specific markets related to outcomes that occur throughout a season. Below we will look at some NBA future and outright markets:

  • NBA Championship Winner
  • Eastern Conference Winner
  • Western Conference Winner
  • Divisional Winners
  • Most Valuable Player

Live Basketball Betting

Gone are the days of placing your bet prior to tip off and waiting until the end to find out the outcome. With sportsbooks always evolving, the sheer number of games being played and people betting, live betting has become extremely important. 

Sportsbooks now allow bettors to place bets on the majority of markets offered while the game is being played. The odds (and totals / spreads) are constantly changing as the game ebbs and flows.

With the in-play cash out option, you can now settle your bets before the game has even finished. If you have placed a bet on over 198.5 points scored in the game, and there has been 110 points scored in the first half, you are able to cash out your bet to decrease the liability of the game not going over the 198.5 point threshold. You will never be able to cash out for the full amount of potential winnings, but there is still profit to be made by doing so.

There's never a dull moment in live Basketball betting online!

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