The Complete Guide to Basketball Betting – Everything You NEED to Know

Part of the group of “big four sports”, basketball is one of the most popular sports in the entire world to bet on. Not only does betting make watching more exciting and exhilarating, but it can also be a profitable money making hobby or profession (if you’re really good at it).

Whether you’re brand new to sports betting, new to betting on basketball, or a seasoned bettor looking to brush up on things, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve put together the most comprehensive basketball betting guide available. This guide will teach you everything you need to know to get started betting intelligently on the sport of basketball.

We’ll cover some of the basics like how the game works, the history and rules, and the most popular types of bets available. We’ll also cover some advanced betting tips and strategies, how to select an online basketball betting site, and dig into the specifics and nuances of NBA and NCAA (college) basketball betting.

Basically, when you get done reading through this guide, you will know more than a large percentage of current basketball sports bettors. You’re no longer going to have to wonder if the information your friends and those at the sportsbook are giving you is true or not. You will know the information for yourself and be able to be the voice of reason.

More importantly, though, you’ll be able to use this knowledge and new information to get started on hopefully a profitable journey into the world of basketball sports betting.

For those looking for specific information, we’ve included some handy links to jump you right to the section you’re looking for. If you’re new or just looking for a refresher course across the board, we recommend just reading the guide from start to finish.

Basketball Betting Sites

Finding a trustworthy and reputable site to place your basketball bets can be, well, exhausting without the right direction or help. With literally thousands of options all across the web, the levels of quality and amount of options are all over the spectrum. Knowing which sites you can trust and which you can’t is nearly impossible from the surface as even the garbage sites do a pretty good job of getting fancy graphics to mislead you.

Thankfully, this is what we do best. You may have heard this before from other review sites or sports betting websites, but unfortunately, they are sometimes misleading you as well. Here’s how we’re different.

  • We NEVER allow sites to pay their way onto our recommended list. We NEVER allow sites to pay for a better review or a more favorable write up from us. Period. End of story. No Exceptions. If we allowed this like most other sites sadly do, we should call them “ads” and not recommendations.
  • The ONLY way for a site to make our recommended list is to offer a superior product and service to you the customer.
  • Sites MUST continue to keep up their high level of service, or they will be removed from the list immediately. Our recommendations are regularly updated to make sure that we’re bringing you the best of the best.

Now that we’ve explained that, here is our list of our favorite online sports books and betting sites offering basketball wagers. If you’d like to know exactly how we came to these conclusions, we’ve outlined all of the criteria below the list.

RankBetting SiteDeposit BonusGet StartedRead Review
#1Bovada Logo
Bovada
Up To $3,750Visit NowRead Review
#2SportsBetting.ag Logo
SportsBetting.ag
75% Up To $1,000Visit NowRead Review
#3BetOnline Logo
BetOnline
50% Up To $2,500Visit NowRead Review
#4MyBookie.ag Logo
MyBookie.ag
100% Up To $1,000Visit NowRead Review
#5GTbets Logo
GTbets
100% Up To $500Visit NowRead Review

How We Evaluate Sites

The above list of recommended basketball betting sites is not something we take lightly. We didn’t just get our team together over a few beers and ask who likes which sites. These sites were heavily vetted and selected based on some strict criteria to ensure that we are only recommending the best of the best.

Below we’ve outlined the criteria we find the most important when selecting an online sportsbook to take our basketball bets. While these are not all of the criteria, these are the most important and were the biggest factors in deciding the above list.

BasketballTrust, Reputation, and Integrity (Safety and Security)

The absolute number one, hands down, no excuses, no exception criteria when selecting a new online sports book or betting site are the level of trust, the site reputation, and the integrity of the staff running the site. We aren’t trying to sound like drama queens here, but these really are the most important factors when it comes to selecting a site. If you can’t trust the safety and security of your money, your bets, and your personal and private information, then you don’t want to get within 100 miles of that site.

Sadly, the industry is filled with bad apples that do a great job of disguising themselves with pretty graphics and flashy promotions. It takes some research and digging under the hood of the site to really see the accurate picture of what is going on. We look at the following criteria in our research:

  • Site History
  • Industry Reputation
  • Company Management
  • Company Management History
  • Customer Complaints
  • Payment Processing Practices
  • ANYTHING We Can Find
BasketballBet Options and League Options

While trust, reputation, and integrity are the most important, they really only help you out if the site also offers the betting variety and flexibility that you’re looking for. We look for basketball betting sites that offer the ability to not just bet on the NBA, but also on college basketball as well as other leagues worldwide.

In addition, we look for betting sites that give you full flexibility when it comes to the types of bets and number of bets offered. If a site only offers you the ability to pick the winner of a game, that’s not much flexibility. We like sites that give you the ability to bet on all aspects of the game including prop bets, live betting, individual quarter and half bets, and over/unders. This flexibility allows you to leverage all of your knowledge, including things that you may predict that don’t have a direct outcome on the winner of the game.

BasketballThe User Interface

If you’re planning on spending any more than a few minutes on a website, you’re going to want a site that takes user interface into account. What is the user interface? Glad you asked. The user interface in simplest terms is how well the site is laid out and how easy it is for you to get things done. Is it easy to place a bet? Is it easy to find the NBA game you’re looking for? If so, the site probably has a good user interface.

If it’s a nightmare to place bets and you end up throwing your computer against the wall or into the pool every time you try, you’re probably experiencing a bad user interface. With so many different options to choose from, you should never have to spend even a second on a site with a bad user interface.

All About the Sport of Basketball

It would probably be safe to go out on a limb and guess that most everyone reading this guide has at least a general idea about the game of basketball. However, we are not in the business of making assumptions and want to accommodate everyone. For this reason, we have put together a dedicated page that talks about all of the rules associated with basketball and how the game play goes.

BasketballThe Rules and Explanation of Game Play

If you’re a complete beginner or haven’t watched the game in ages, this is your first stop. If you are familiar with the game but want to understand some of the nuances (like shot clock, types of fouls, ejections, etc.), you’re also going to want to take some time checking out this page. After reading through this, come back here, and we’ll be able to start walking you through the rest of this invaluable information.

BasketballHistory of the Game and the Greatest Players of All Time

While not as important to understand for betting, we did want to give you some general background information on the history of the sport and some of the greatest players that ever played the game. This information will help you to fit in when people start talking about the “good ole days” and also will help you to understand the evolution of the game better. This information may help you to identify trends going forward and place some real smart bets so we wouldn’t recommend completely glossing over these sections.

What You Need to Know About Betting on Basketball

Now that we’ve gotten through the basics and the “formalities”, let’s get down to business and start talking about the strategy and important information you need to become a successful basketball bettor. Like with anything in life you learn, there are basic/fundamental tips and strategies that you must master first, and then there are more advanced strategies that come to augment that.

Below we’ve separated our betting tips into two different sections. The first includes all of your fundamentals of basketball betting that you must know to be successful in the sport. We HIGHLY recommend that no matter what level of a bettor you view yourself as you take some time and review that section first just to make sure. It’s frequent that even the best in the business sometimes never learned a basic principle that can help them be more successful.

Once you’ve read through the basics section above, you can jump into some of the more advanced betting tips and strategies that you can use to bet on basketball. We’ve put together a dedicated page with all of that information for you here.

Different Ways to Bet on Basketball

You may be well aware of this already, or it may come as something completely new to you. You can bet on more than just who is going to win a basketball game. Yes, the most common bet type is picking the winner of the game, but there are endless other possibilities for you to bet on to try and make some money.

Why would you want to bet on these other things? Glad you asked. Sometimes you will have a prediction about a basketball game that might not have a direct outcome on the winner of the game. Let’s say you think that a certain player is going to have a killer game but the rest of their team is going to do awful and they’ll probably still lose the game. Without betting flexibility, this does nothing for you.

But, with prop bets, you can bet on how many points that individual player is going to score completely independent from the outcome of the game. You can now utilize your prediction to make some money thanks to having some different bet types to work with.

We’ve created a separate page for each different basketball bet type you might run into. We go through the basics of explaining the bet, how it’s paid out, and also any important strategy considerations that you need to have and take into consideration as well.

College Basketball Betting

While the NBA does reign supreme when it comes to basketball betting, NCAA (college) basketball is a close second that definitely takes the forefront in the month of March. Many sports bettors find college basketball to be a much more lucrative sport to bet on as well as a completely different betting experience due to the nature of the younger and more accessible athletes.

BasketballMarch Madness

While you can bet on the college games all season, March Madness is the craziest time of the year for sports bettors, both professional and recreational. March Madness is a 68 team single elimination bracket style tournament that runs every year in March through early April to decide the collegiate basketball national champion.

Teams must earn their way into the tournament either through invitation or winning their conference championship. The entire tournament is done within a few weeks which means it is endless basketball and the term madness may be an understatement. It really is the most exciting month in all of sports betting.

To help you become more informed about how March Madness works, how the teams are selected, how the tournament is run, and betting strategies, we’ve put together a dedicated guide just for you. When you get finished with this guide, you will be a complete expert on everything March Madness related. If you’re already an expert on March Madness and looking for somewhere, in particular, to place your March Madness bets, we also include our recommendations of the best sites that pay particularly special attention to the month of March.

Basketball Betting FAQ

Are there more things to bet on than just the NBA?

Definitely! You can, of course, bet the NBA, but there is also college (NCAA) basketball and tons of other leagues around the world in different countries that you can wager on. NBA betting just happens to be the most popular.

Is basketball betting gambling or something that can be profitable?

Sports betting is challenging, but there are plenty of people that are able to sports bet for a living very profitably. Unlike traditional gambling, you actually have control over your profitability, and if you’re smart, you can definitely beat the game in the long run.

How do I get started?

Thankfully, getting started is simple. Pick a site from our recommended list, create an account, make a deposit, and then start making picks. If you’re correct, you’ll win! Some people like to try and over complicate things, but it really is that simple.

Do I have to make big bets to be a winner?

You 100% do not have to make big bets to be a basketball betting winner. If you’re just looking to have a little extra fun, just bet a few bucks on the game. You are NEVER required to bet more than you are comfortable with. The cool part about betting online is that you can start to experience the rewards and benefits with extremely low bet minimums (usually $1 or $5).

Do I have to make complex bets and use the advanced strategies to be a winner?

One million percent NO! There is a strange movement among sports bettors to think that the only way to make a living from sports betting is only to bet complex bets that other people don’t understand. This could not be further from the truth. There are plenty of professional sports bettors that only bet who is going to win on basketball games. They NEVER touch the more complex bets and are doing just fine.

Our guess is some people think that these more complex bets make them feel cooler and stroke the ego when other people don’t quite understand them. They have their time and place but are certainly NOT a necessary part of a long term winning strategy.