Basketball Betting

Basketball is one of the most exciting sports, thanks to its fast pace and constant scoring. Betting on basketball has the potential to make it even more exciting, provided you know what to do heading into the games. In this guide to betting on basketball, find out what you should be looking at before placing your bets and things you should stay away from as well.

How basketball betting works

When it comes to basketball betting, there are a selection of betting markets that frequently appear throughout the wagering process. Knowing these markets can help you think about basketball games from that perspective at all times. Among those markets are spreads, moneylines, and totals wagers. You can bet on all these markets at both Betfair and Paddy Power.

With spreads, the gambler usually wagers that the difference between the scores of two teams will be less than or greater than the value specified by the bookmaker. These spreads can vary depending on how big the perceived difference in skill is between the two teams.

Moneyline wagering is a little simpler, as it simply asks which team will win a given game. In this case, favourites require bettors to risk more funds in order to win the desired amount, while underdogs require a lower investment amount to reach that same profit amount. While these seem easier than spread bets, they can be tricky given the amounts that need to be risked along with factors that can impact a team's ability to win.

As for totals betting, bettors can wager on the amount of points they think will be scored in a game. In these markets, bettors are given a point total and need to decide if they think the total number of points scored in the game will be over or under that number. There are a lot of different things that go into successfully betting on the totals for each game but, if you figure out a system that works for you, it can be a great idea.


Things to keep in mind when betting on basketball

There are a lot of things to remember when betting on basketball that can make you a better bettor. These components to wagering are not ways to guarantee success, but definitely maximise the chances of achieving it.


Knowing the player matchups for basketball games you plan on wagering on is perhaps the most important step one can take when preparing to place a bet. Doing so ensures that you know where each team will have advantages and disadvantages within a game. This paints a great picture for wagering, as you see if there is somewhere that a team can set themselves apart to cover the spread or take home a win on the moneyline.

The notion of tracking matchups within each game can help with totals betting as well, as bettors can see if there is a spot on the floor where players will rack up points or struggle to score. Depending on which side of the total you are planning on betting, matchups can vindicate your decision or help you change your pick to something more fitting based on the teams competing.

The Cleveland Cavaliers and the Golden State Warriors have contested four NBA Finals in a row, with the Warriors prevailing in three of them


Just like matchups are instrumental in determining which sides and totals you should wager on, the same can be said about the tempo surrounding the teams in a given game. Some teams tend to play faster than others, which can create advantages or disadvantages depending on who is better able to implement their style onto a particular contest. This is especially true of totals wagers, as backing teams who play a more up-tempo style to go over their totals could be beneficial. Of course, those teams could see their total numbers go higher than the average game as a result, so be careful not to make blanket statements about any one team based on their tendencies.


Betting on basketball is interesting, as the regular season can feature teams with varying levels of motivation. Some teams are looking to rest players at times to make sure they are ready for the playoffs, while others are so far out of the playoff race that they are looking to coast to the finish line. The teams in between those extremes, meanwhile, are fighting for playoff spots. All of those situations come with varying levels of motivation that should be considered when making basketball betting picks.

For the teams in the playoffs but looking to rest players, their seeding may be a factor in how hard they try. Teams who are out of the race completely may be perfectly content with losing. While teams fighting for playoff spots should be as motivated as can be to get into the tournament. When it comes to spreads and moneyline wagering, spotting differences in motivation is an excellent first step to take.

Things to avoid during basketball betting

Just like there are things to keep in mind when betting on basketball, there are also plenty of pitfalls to avoid to make sure that picks go according to plan.

Blindly backing teams

There may be teams at the top of the standings that appear to be better than everyone else. But backing those teams at bookmakers like Betfair and Paddy Power to continue winning constantly may not be a profitable strategy. Those teams tend to be less favourable with regard to their odds, not to mention they may have disadvantages with regard to matchups or motivation on any given night. As always, things should be taken on a case by case basis.

Always betting the overs

Betting the overs in any sport is one of the most fun things that a bettor can do. After all, it requires bettors to cheer for scoring from all angles all of the time. But sometimes tempo or other factors can make unders a great decision. Instead of focusing on a good time, finding the right spots to bet each side of the total is the best possible decision to be made.