Betting Basketball at Online Sportsbooks

Next to football, the biggest betting sport in the US market is basketball. The NBA covers the professional ranks along with college basketball as a big betting sport especially when March rolls around.

Basketball is also similar to football when it comes to betting options at online sportsbooks such as Vice. The three most common ways to bet on any basketball game are through the use of a:

  • Pointspread
  • Total Line
  • Moneyline

The pointspread is set to distinguish the betting handicap between the favorite and the underdog. One common misconception is that the spread is a predicted margin of victory. It is basically a tool that oddsmakers use to try and balance out the money bet on one side against the other.

The favorite then needs to win that game by at least one point more than the designated spread to win the bet. The underdog will payout a winning ticket if the final score is closer than the set spread or if it wins the game straight-up.

For example, if the San Antonio Spurs are favored by six points at home against the Dallas Mavericks, they would have to win that game by seven points or more to payoff on a bet. If the Mavericks win the game or lose by five points or less, they would be the graded winner.

If San Antonio would end up winning that game by six points, the bet would be declared a PUSH with no action on either side. That is why most spreads are set with an added half point. This eliminates the possibility of a PUSH or tie.

The second most common basketball bet is on the set total line. The total pertains to each team’s final score added together. This would include any points scored in overtime if the game ended as a tie at the end of regulation play.

College basketball total lines tend to be much lower that total lines for the NBA. The two ways to bet the total line are either OVER or UNDER the set number.

Using the example above, the total line for the Dallas at San Antonio game is set at 210 points. If both teams combine for to score at least 211 points, the total would go OVER. If the final score is 209 points or less, the winning bet would be UNDER. If the scoring added up to 210 points exactly, that bet would be graded as a PUSH.

For this type of bet, it does not matter which team actually won or lost. All the emphasis is placed on the total of the final score.

The third type of basketball bet is the moneyline. This is used to bet any head-to-head game straight-up. In this scenario, you have to risk losing more to win less betting the favorite. You can improve your return on a bet by taking the underdog. The starting point for any moneyline is based on a 100.

Using the same example, Dallas has been set as a +170 road underdog on the moneyline. San Antonio is a -190 home favorite. In most cases, the plus sign (+) denotes the underdog and the minus sign (-) denotes the favorite.

In this case, you could earn $170 on a $100 bet going with Dallas to pull off the straight-up upset. To win $100 on San Antonio as the favorite, you would have to risk losing $190 if the Spurs ended up losing this game.