Basketball Betting Guide | How to Bet on the NBA & NCAA

For Intermediate

Start Strong With Sports Betting on NBA & NCAA Basketball with Sports Betting Guide

Congratulations! You are starting out with betting on basketball with the online bookmakers and you decided to find some extra information.  Simply by doing this you are already ahead of the curve when compared to most basketball bettors. Sports betting can be great because you are trying to predict the outcome of real-life games and many factors will result in the outcome of the game. 

Most people who bet on basketball make bets on their favorite team and/or player. While this can be fun, in the long run, it is rarely a profitable way of betting on basketball because you are biased towards your team. Learning to analyze games and approach the game as objectively as possible is one of the best things you can do when starting and this is exactly what you will learn how to do in this basketball guide!

Table of Contents

How to Win Money Betting on the NBA & NCAA

Basketball is a fast-paced popular sport. With its growing popularity, there has been an increase in basketball fans. Since there are so many basketball fans, there are many ways for people to experience the sport. Sure, watching is fun, but what about betting on basketball?

Since sports betting is a highly-established industry, it is no surprise that basketball is one of the most popular games people gamble on. We figure that if you are betting on basketball, you should know everything about it, so we have put together this online basketball betting guide. 

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Benefits of Online Basketball Betting

The introduction of online gambling platforms creates accessibility and ease. This has led to a growth in the market. More people are open to using online platforms to bet on basketball for various reasons. First, there is the convenience and comfort that it allows. You get to gamble from your home, commute, or work and can perform other activities as you wait for the results.

You also get to save on money and time that you would incur if you opted for a live option. The travel costs would eat into your profits, reducing your winnings significantly. With online basketball betting, all you have to worry about is functional internet connectivity, a working device, and enough information to bag a win. 

Finally, there are numerous games, and you get to look through each one to determine the one that offers you a higher chance to win before betting on one. This accessibility also allows betters the opportunity to broaden their knowledge.

Types of bets for the NBA & NCAA

You probably could guess that you can bet on who will win a game, both in the NBA and NCAA,  but did you know there are many more different types of bets in online basketball? Different platforms offer you a variety of betting options based on the league. Here are some different kinds of bets you can make on basketball games.

  • Game total alternatives
  • Point spread
  • Double result
  • Outright win
  • Win group
  • Winning margin
  • Winning conference
  • Highest scoring quarter

You need to know what each of these types mean before you start betting money. After all, you are betting to win, not only to have fun, right? For instance, one popular kind of bet is spread betting, also known as line betting. When it comes to making a bet, the spread is often always in favor of the underdogs. The teams that are least likely to win have market bias behind them, and this should inform your game assessment. 

Those that decide to bet on popular teams do so based on their reputation. While this might work out sometimes, it often does not. Remember, when betting, go with the facts, not your emotions. Previous success can be an indicator of high prospects, but putting your money on a team should be well thought out. 

Tips for online NBA & NCAA betting

Like any other form of online sports gambling, when you bet on basketball games, you need to invest both time and money to ensure you get the most out of it. You have the option to place small bets and roll those over into bigger ones. The following tips are crucial for anyone who wishes to make a considerable profit while online betting on basketball.


There is a vast scope that you should cover in this area. First, you need to familiarize yourself with the rules, competitions, and types of the game. To get accurate information, you could visit websites that hold expert opinions. Always be aware of online platforms where amateur betters share information based on trends since they might misguide you. 

We understand that sometimes popular opinions are not always correct. Therefore, if you do not wish to base your bet on other people’s views, we recommend analyzing the statistics. In our experience, previous performances have hints on future plays, and this might come in handy for both beginners and experts.

Make informed decisions

If you are a basketball fan, it is easy to get caught up in the loyalty you have for your favorite team. However, placing real money on online basketball betting means that you need to overlook your bias and focus on winning. Rational decisions will keep you happy as you get paid for your bets. Just because you may bet against your favorite basketball team, doesn’t mean you’re not a true fan.

Be familiar with players

While the statistical data you get helps decide which team to go with, accompanying this information with an analysis of the teams’ reaction to losses and wins also goes a long way in making sure you make the right choice. Teams are just a collection of players, so it helps if you keep an eye on what specific players are doing as well as the whole team. You can do this by catching up with news and watching several games a week. 

Confirm your bet

The excitement that comes with big games means a large number of people are placing their bets. This comes with a margin for mistakes. Once you decide which team you are rooting for, the type of bet, and how much you are willing to spend, you need to confirm that all details are correct. You don’t want to win your bet only to find out that you didn’t bet as much as you thought you did.


Factors that affect online NBA & NCAA betting

The temptation to base your bet on a team’s past performance is something that most betters experience. This, together with an inclination to support bigger teams, can be cause for tremendous losses. From the different games we have watched and the bets we’ve made (both winners and losers) we found eight critical elements that will impact the results of any game. Here’s what they are.

Changes, trades, and transactions

Make sure you are aware of players signing with new teams or getting traded, this will have a big impact in how teams perform.

Changing coaches

A new coach can impact a team either positively or negatively. As such, you should look into their experience, methods, and track record. Researching a coach is just as important as researching the players.


Individual performances and capacity pour into the outcome of a game. Injuries in key players lead to a change in the odds. You should think about how best to use the information to increase your chances of bigger wins.


Look at the number of points, fouls, rebounds, and blocks for each player. This should be for individual games and complete seasons. Delve further into their conversion rates, dunks, and free-throws to get a clear picture.


Basketball is demanding for players since they always have to be in an excellent physical state. That said, this demand comes with risks of player injury, fatigue and now a new concept of "load management", where players sit out certain games to prevent those factors from happening.


Trust and respect are crucial elements in the success of a team. Each player should each be aware of the other’s strengths and weaknesses. Analyze the individuals in each team, their characteristics, and how their different styles of playing blend. Tension and conflict affect the game. 

Common rookie mistakes that you should avoid when betting on NBA & NCAA online

The pointers we give in this guide are helpful for both beginners and skilled bettors. Our experience and research should help you navigate the common pitfalls and avoid unnecessary losses. The first thing you should steer clear of is betting with your emotions. Your passion for the game is appreciated, but you’re betting to win actual money. While it is difficult to bet against your favorite team, it will suck even more if you lose money. 

For every bet you make, you need to ensure that it is not beyond your budget. Show discipline. If need be, have a separate account for betting. Accept your losses, and don’t try to recover. If you do, there is a high likelihood that you will lose more money. 

Gambling while drunk is one of the best ways to make the wrong choices and end up spending more money than intended. You shouldn’t put your money where your knowledge isn’t. Don’t gamble because you feel like it. Most losses are a result of going in blind or doing it out of impulsion. 

What makes basketball great

Sports betting is a large market with many different sports to bet on and the industry is growing. With all these options available you might be tempted to try out a lot of them. Rest assured, basketball is one of the best sports to bet on, especially when starting with sports betting. Because most basketball seasons are long when compared to other sports and have a lot of games there is also a lot of opportunity to profit. Another advantage of the large amount of games played is that you can dodge some variance. The outcome of a game is not predetermined so the statistically “best” team will not always win. In the long run the better teams will end up on top which makes sticking to a betting strategy even more profitable.


The Different Basketball Bets

As one of the main sports in the U.S.A. the betting options are well covered and both in the NBA and NCAA league you can find many different plays. Below we will discuss some of the most common basketball bets and what to keep in mind when placing a certain wager type.


Out of the major sports, basketball is the highest scoring game and this adds a very interesting dynamic to the over/under betting lines. In hockey, the score usually differs by a few points, while basketball has a lot more variety between the low and high scoring games. This fact also brings a large margin of error for the sports betting bookmakers when they set the lines. When you look at the totals you could be able to be profitable strictly from over and under bets. Basketball is a game of runs and teams can go on scoring streaks. Also keep in mind what the playing style of each team is. Some teams are strong on defense and will not allow a lot of points while with two offensive teams the total can run up fast.


In almost every American major sport the spread bets are the most popular and basketball is no different in this sense. Spread betting is great because the bookmakers try to set the lines in such a way that with the spread applied the matchup should become even. The reality is that this is not an easy thing to do and it regularly happens that the betting lines are “off”. Especially in the different NCAA divisions there are so many games to keep track of that an advantage can be more easily found. Be on the lookout for teams who are streaking and whether a team is strong on the road or at home, this is sometimes overlooked and we can profit here.


Basketball bets that go straight for the outright winner are less popular with most bettors because the spread bets are more interesting and challenging since there are a lot more possible outcomes and factors to discuss. Moneyline in that sense can be perceived as boring because either the team you are betting on wins or losses. Where moneyline becomes interesting is in the cases where the spread lines are way off. Especially in college games you can find underdogs which should actually be the favorite. Sure, you could play it safe and take the extra points but moneyline bets on basketball are one of the most profitable bets in these cases. Whenever you are doing your analysis take the moneyline into consideration, especially when you expect that the lines are not set properly.

Quarter and half bets

These partial bets, depending on the league you are betting in, make basketball betting a lot more interesting. Especially the spread and over/under bets can be very profitable in basketball betting. When you look at the different teams in your league you might notice that some teams are notorious for being a strong starting team or maybe they fluke near the end of the game. The quarter and half bets are great opportunities to cash in on these different team dynamics. Because the markets are not as popular with most bettors you can find a lot of juicy opportunities here. Just make sure that you are familiar enough with both teams in a match up, if you don’t then outcomes can become unpredictable very quickly.

A lot of states within the US have now made it possible to bet legally on NBA basketball and you can bet(well, not literally) that there for sure are more to come in the near future, for example Florida. The ones who offer legal NBA betting in one way or another, you'll find here:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Illinois
  • Mississippi
  • Montana
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Washington DC
  • West Virginia

Betting on the 20/21 NBA Playoffs

When the playoffs come around it gets a bit different betting on the NBA compared to the regular season. The intensity of play rises, coaches try to employ matchup strategies they’ve been scouting for the whole season and players have more of a tendency to play through injuries when possible, leaving all they have on the floor.

As such, the NBA playoffs represent a special time for NBA bettors and justifiably so. Last year the teams played in “the bubble” in Orlando, in what’s best described as very unusual circumstances due to covid, but for this years playoffs teams were once again back in their home stadiums – some with more fans than others. Let’s go through some of the differences that sets this years NBA Playoffs apart from those of the past.

Betting on 20/21 NBA Play In Games

Before the start of the season, NBA team owners voted on a proposal to add so called play in games where the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th ranked teams of each conference would play all or nothing games for the 7th and 8th spot in the playoffs, earning a chance to face off vs the 1st and 2nd finishers of each conference in a traditional 7 game series, here’s what the setup looked like:

NBA Betting

The games were added to generate more high pressure games and the possibility of a Cinderella like story line, and they most certainly delivered.

The big story in these games where the Memphis Grizzlies who finished 9th in the regular season, but managed to win their first game vs the Spurs before facing off vs Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors, who had lost in their first play in game vs the LA Lakers.

Ja Morant led the way with 35 points as the Grizzlies pulled an upset with a 5 point win and their first NBA playoff berth since Marc Gasol and Mike Conley were leading the team.

There were a lot of good betting opportunities in these games and we hope they’ll be a part of next the setup in the future as well.

How injuries and a tight schedule affected 20/21 NBA Playoffs betting

The regular season was only 72 games long compared to the usual 82, but they were played in a very condensed schedule offering little time off for the playoff teams from the previous season.

While this was something to consider when betting on the NBA all season long, injuries especially  had a significant role in the 20/21 NBA Playoffs, playing a part in the early exit of last year’s NBA champions, the Los Angeles Lakers. The LA Clippers lost Kawhi Leonard as well for much of their conference finals matchup vs the Phoenix Suns.

The NBA post season is a great time to bet at the top sportsbooks in the US as they roll out the best NBA betting promotions they can come up with.

Outside of using a new welcome offer if you’re not already registered, it’s also possible for you to pick up free bet offers, parlay boosts, risk free bets and much more.

If you’re wondering about how any of our recommended US sportsbooks work, feel free to check out or review for each of them.

Final Thoughts On NBA & NCAA Betting

As you might have noticed by now, basketball betting offers a lot of spots where the betting lines have a larger margin for error and it can be one of the most profitable sports to bet on. Like any other sport that you bet on it is essential to develop your own strategy and test it out before you fully commit. Once committed, stick with your guns and know that losing bets will happen but that in the end you can still be profitable. There is a lot of profit to be made but keep your mind on the long-term results. Be sure to check out our overview of different online bookmakers to find the best possible lines for your basketball betting.

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NBA Betting FAQ

  • Which sportsbook is best for betting on NBA?

    There are a lot of good ones available, check our review section to find the one best suited for you.
  • Is there extra value to be gained from using promotional offers?

    Yes absolutely, sportsbooks offer extra promotions all the time, often centered around Freebets or Bonus money.
  • Do NBA odds change?

    They may or may not change, depending on the betting action going on each outcome. If a lot of people e.g are betting on one team to win, the sportsbook might lower the odds on that team.
  • Can I use more than one offer at the same time?

    It depends on the sportsbook, on some you can only have one active offer at any time, while others allow you to have multiple offers active.
  • What can I bet on in the NBA?

    Almost anything really. You can bet on which team wins the game, the half or a quarter, how many points a player will score and a whole lot more.