As you are probably aware, basketball is one of America’s most prominent sports. That also makes it one of the most popular games for US bettors to have a crack at when playing at online sportsbooks USA.
Although the main competition to bet on is the National Basketball Association (NBA) other leagues do exist, and there are plenty of international basketball leagues that punters may feel like trying, too.
However, if you’re based in America, the likelihood is that it is going to be the NBA all the way for you. If you are new to basketball betting, read on to find out more.
What Competitions Can I Bet On?
As mentioned, most major countries in the world offer basketball leagues in some way, shape or form. However, the NBA is considered one (if not the) biggest of that lot.
The pyramid system in American basketball stems from high-school and college teams, right the way up throughout development leagues and finally, the NBA itself. Each competition is entirely different.
- National Basketball Association (NBA): The NBA features 29 American teams and 1 Canadian team. They are split into two conferences of three divisions each. Each team plays a total of 82 games (41 home and away). The top 8 teams ranked in each conference advance to the playoffs, where a round robin format (best of 7) begins until the NBA Final determines that season’s overall winner.
- College Basketball: Also known as the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Basketball, or college basketball, the competition is split over 3 divisions, with each division containing many conferences, and thus hundreds of teams. These competitions have plenty of rules and can lead to players drafted into the NBA should they perform well enough. Despite its relatively amateur status, college basketball is a major lure amongst American sports bettors and is keenly watched on television, too.
- NBA G (Gatorade) League: The NBA G League (named after its Gatorade sponsor) used to be known as the NBA D (Development) League and works in much the same way as the NBA, although it allows younger players to gain more experience in a less-challenging environment.
- NBA All-Star Game: Played in February between the top players in each conference.
Types of Basketball Bets
Armed with the knowledge of the competitions you can bet on, it is time to look at a few of the wagers you can make with basketball at US sportsbooks. Like most other US sports, US sportsbooks use a standard set of betting options for basketball.
- Money Line: A single bet on who will win a match. Alternatively, players can also be on who will be ahead at the end of the first quarter, or first half, and so on, instead of at the end of the game.
- Handicaps: If there is a big difference between the quality of two teams, bookies will often provide bettors with a handicap to even the odds. This means that punters betting on a favourite will have to win by a large margin, while bettors wagering on an underdog won’t.
- Totals: With so many ways to bet here, you’re spoilt for choice. You can have a crack at the number of baskets in a game, the overall points a team scores, and many other aspects involving number totals.
- Outrights: Like money line bets and often known as money line bets, these involve betting on who you think will qualify for the playoffs, win their division/conference, or win the NBA Final outright at the start of the season.
Doing Your Homework
Like any major sport, there are certain things you can do to ensure yourself a greater possibility of landing a win. For starters, players should consider the form and tiredness of players.
If a player is potentially carrying an injury, their form or confidence have gone, you’ll want to keep note of that. There are ample resources out there offering NBA stats for you to check out. Provided you know what you’re looking for, you should be able to gauge how likely a bet is to come off with these.
Other Things to Consider
Of course, the weather isn’t going to be an issue with basketball like it is with American football and baseball. However, that doesn’t mean to say that there aren’t other things which can ruin your road to glory. For instance, the following…
- Injuries, Player Rotations: As mentioned above, if a player is suffering from injuries or they are rotated out often, performance may go down the pan. If a team is relatively sure of beating an underdog, but they have a big match coming up after that, don’t be surprised to see them rest some of their biggest stars. That, in turn, may open the door for an upset.
- Scheduling: Every team must play every other one, this much is true. However, some teams may face tougher matches in succession than others or may have to do more travelling at once than others. This can affect the overall tiredness of the team, especially when different time zones are involved.
- Dodgy Stats: There are, believe it or not, websites out there which don’t provide you with up to date statistics. As infuriating as this is, it is just a fact of life. Make sure that if you’re going to be using NBA stats to help figure out which way you should bet, then you should verify that the statistics you are using are up to date. Last nights newspaper, official NBA sources, major sporting networks such as ESPN, or franchise pages are one way to go about this.
Where Can I Bet on Basketball?
Everywhere. As one of the United States’ biggest sports, almost every US-friendly sportsbook on the net offers basketball betting.
Remember, aside from just the NBA, these bookies will also be able to provide you with the All-Star Game, college basketball, G League, and international leagues, such as the EuroLeague, if you fancy something different.