NBA: a guide to popular basketball bets

In recent years, basketball has grown and matured into one of the biggest and most popular sports on the planet. The NBA is a fantastic spectacle and fans from all over the world tune in to watch the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant strut their stuff against the finest players in the business. And for bettors, there is plenty of scope for punting – there could be more options in basketball than any other professional sport.

Like most sporting events, there are plenty of tips to follow and betting markets for basketball punters to place a wager on. Most bookmakers offer the chance for bettors to place a flutter on the amount of points to be scored during a match.

For example, you can place a bet on over/under 181.5 points per game; just like punters can wager on over/under 2.5 goals in soccer. This specific market gives customers the chance to secure better odds on what they consider to be a high-scoring contest; and it is especially useful for matches that are difficult to call outright.

Furthermore, you can place a bet on the final winning margin. If you fancy the Golden State Warriors, who surpassed the Chicago Bulls’ record of 73 victories, to earn a convincing win, you can place a bet on Stephen Curry and co to triumph by a certain amount of points.

If there is an overwhelming favourite in a particular contest, this can help bettors to enhance their odds and maximise profit but punters should be wary of this. If you are out by a single point, you will lose your bet – it’s a high-risk, high-reward strategy.


Perhaps the most popular betting choice for most basketball fans is the handicap. There are various forms of handicap but the straight-up win handicap seems to be the most attractive and lucrative option for basketball bettors.

Punters can exploit favourable markets to earn more money and enhance accumulators. For example, if the defending NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers are priced at (-8.5) on the handicap, then they must win by nine points or more to win that particular leg. This is brilliant for boosting multiple bets…

Let’s be honest, punters look for the best opportunity to win money and basketball betting can offer plenty of ways to boost your winnings. Traditionally, there are fewer upsets in basketball and favourite backers may want to try their hand at one of the United States’ finest sports.

The Golden State Warriors, Cleveland Cavaliers and San Antonio Spurs won the majority of their fixtures last season and punters will be keeping an eye on their progress ahead of the upcoming campaign.

No surprises

In addition, there are very few shocks – certainly fewer than in soccer and other sports. The Premier League is one of the most competitive divisions in sport and the NBA offers a completely different dimension to online betting. Upsets are few and far between across basketball’s primary division and home losses are incredibly rare.

However, this can work both ways and you can often get very appealing odds on big teams when they are on the road. Handicap bettors can also get a much closer handicap price and therefore, they have a better chance of victory.

The NBA isn’t perfect by any means but it is certainly predictable and that will help new bettors to acclimatise and learn the ways of the division. With less upsets, high-scoring encounters and elite sides blowing others away, the NBA is both entertaining and profitable and it is easy to see why punters enjoy basketball betting more than most other sports.