With the NBA already in the second half of their season and college basketball about the start March Madness, the sports bettor will have a lot of games to wager on in the coming months. Basketball is one of the easier sports to bet on. The types of bets are pretty straight forward and if you already know how to bet on football you should have no problem with basketball.
Point Spread Bets
The most common type of bet is the point spread bet. Just like football, in basketball one team will be favored to win. Let’s say the Miami Heat are playing the New York Knicks. Barring some unforeseen miracle the Heat should win this game. So the oddsmakers would make the Heat an 11-point favorite. This means that if you bet on the Heat they need to win by at least 12 points. If the Heat win by 11 the result of the game is a “push” and nobody wins.
When betting against the spread a bettor will have to wager $11 in order to win $10. The one dollar difference is the sportsbook’s “vig” or fee for taking the bet.
One of the most popular basketball bets is the over/under, or “totals” bet. This is where you bet on the total number of points scored by both teams. In this type of bet the bettor can wager that more than the predicted total number of points will be scored (over) or less points will be scored (under).
Let’s go back to our hypothetical game between the Miami Heat and The New York Knicks. Let’s say the odds-makers have set the over/under at 190. There is a lot to consider when betting over/under. Some teams score more points at home or on nationally televised games. Always check the scoring averages for the exact type of game being played. In this case the Knicks are at home and the game is being broadcast nationally. If the Knicks historically score more points in these types of games you might consider betting the over. Your next bit of research will be to see how the Heat score in nationally televised road games.
Money Line Bets
If you want to bet on the winner of the game but don’t want to hassle with the point spread a money line wager is the bet just for you. In any game one team will be favored over the other. In our game the Heat are the favorites. The money line might look something like this:
Miami Heat -300
New York Knicks +240
The Heat are 3-to-1 favorites so any one betting on them will have to wager $30 in order to win $10. Conversely, if you bet on the Knicks you could win $24 for every $10 bet.
March Madness Upsets
One of the best parts about March Madness is seeing a small underdog college take down a big university. It happens every year. But trying to pick which Cinderella team to put your money on can be tough.
The 7 seed vs the 10 seed
Historically, the number 10 seed has beaten the number 7 seed more than any other underdog. Over the last four tournaments the number 10 seed is 11-5 against the spread.
The 6 seed vs. the 11 seed
The next most frequent upsets occur in the 6 seed vs. 11 seed games. In the last four tournaments the 11 seed is 10-5-1 against the spread.
With so many games happening every week basketball provides a sports bettor with lots of action. Once you start wagering on hoops you will no doubt continue it for the rest of your gaming career.