Introduction to basketball betting for newbies

Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the world with the National Basketball Association (NBA) alone having over 30 million active viewers on each social media platform. It also has the biggest revenue in merchandising from clothes, shoes, to collectables. The NBA is also known as the first sports body to support the selling of live tournament moments as non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Millions of people around the world tune in to NBA events and participate in basketball sports betting. If you are interested in being part of this growing culture, here are a few tips that you should know.


Betting line

The betting line is otherwise known as the odds in sports betting. They are the numbers indicated on the options to indicate which one is an underdog (at a disadvantage) and which one is the favourite (has the advantage). There are a variety of betting lines but here are the three most popular that you will see in basketball betting.

Money line

The money line is the most popular type of betting in the United States and its sports leagues such as the NBA. They are always displayed by the hundreds with positive numbers indicating the underdogs while negative numbers show the favourites. The number in the favourite represents the amount that you have to stake to win exactly $100 (¥10,977.8). For the underdog, the number is the amount the bettor wins if they stake $100.

Point spread

While the money line focuses on the possible rewards, point spread focuses on the points that teams should win. They are often written in decimals such as +6.5 and -6.5. Using these examples, the favourites need to win more than 6.5 points to reward their bettors while the underdog needs to either lose with a 6 or less point difference. If the odds are whole numbers, for example, 7, it could result in a push if the favourite won with exactly 7 points difference and all bets are refunded.

Over-Under (O/U)

Both money line and point spread make the bettor wager on either side of an event but over-under betting makes them bet on the total points of the game. Sportsbooks and analysts work to find an estimated number of points and bettors try to guess if the game’s total points will be over or under it. 

The numbers are always around 200-300 in basketball betting because of the nature of the game. Most bookies also have over/under betting for each of the event’s four quarters so spectators have more markets to play with. They also have separate markets for each team instead of the accumulated total for the whole game. You decide on how you want to bet.