BASKETBALL BETTING SITES
List of the Best Basketball Sportsbooks Online in May 2023
Basketball is one of the most popular sports in America, but also around the world as well. There are many basketball betting options, to say the least, from wagering on the NBA and NCAA and leagues from around the world. The sportsbooks that we review all have basketball lines available and offer many betting options from leagues and tournaments to betting markets and bonuses and promotions.
Continue reading to get all the basketball betting information you need in this extensive guide.
HOW WE PICK THE BEST BASKETBALL BETTING SITES
You should know that we only research and recommend basketball betting sportsbooks that are legal and safe to play at. They are all licensed by a legitimate gaming body and offer you many wagering options. We take the time to look at many criteria of the betting sites available to US players to give you the best betting experience possible.
GET STARTED AND BET ON BASKETBALL ONLINE
Our extensive research for online sports betting apps makes it easier for you to pick the best basketball betting sites. You can then get started wagering on the sport with the many bet types and games to get on. One of the best things is that every sportsbook we review is a licensed one, which means it is legal gambling for US players, and their personal and financial information is 100% safe and secure.
To get started, simply choose a sportsbook and register for an account. Then you can make a deposit, take advantage of a bonus offer, and you can start your hoops betting experience. You can take advantage of our guide to see all the betting options available to you, as there are plenty, as well as how to play the game, how to bet on it, and the history of basketball.
IT PAYS TO SHOP AROUND FOR BASKETBALL BETTING LINES
It is advantageous to shop around to get the best NBA and NCAA lines with all the sportsbooks options available. While the lines will not differ that much, you always want to take the best to get the maximum payout possible. This is especially the case when making wagers of a significant amount.
YOU HAVE MANY OPTIONS
To say you have a lot of options when it comes to basketball betting would be a major understatement. The most popular betting leagues are the NBA and NCAA. The NBA has 30 teams that each play 82 games in the regular season, and there are 358, Division-1 teams in the NCAA, and they play around 30 games per season. Add to this the postseasons and international leagues and the many bet types available you can see you have no lack of choices.
BASKETBALL BETTING TIPS
Whenever you get a good tip on something, you should jump on it. It’s no different when it comes to wagering on hoops. You can use the tips to make more informed bets, which have a better chance of winning. You can find betting tips for basketball at the sportsbooks we review and online.
BONUSES AND PROMOTIONS
One of the nice things about the reputable sportsbooks that we review is that they often offer bonuses and promotions for basketball. If you like to bet on basketball, you should take advantage of bonuses to boost your bankroll. They may have odds boosts for games parlay insurance, and you can be sure that there are quite a few unique bonuses available for the NBA playoffs and finals and for March Madness, which is the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
BASKETBALL BETTING TRENDS
When you make picks for a hoops game, it’s advantageous to look at betting trends. They can give you a good indication of how a team is doing against the spread (ATS) in the last few games. Has the team been a good bet at home or on the road or facing their next opponent? You can also get player trends for proposition bets to see how a player has performed as of late. There are many sites online that have betting trends and some sportsbooks.
LIVE-ACTION BASKETBALL BETTING
Most of the sportsbooks that we review will offer live betting for basketball. Live betting is making wagers on a game while it is happening in real-time. The odds change quickly during a game, depending on how it is unfolding. Live betting is very exciting, and for hoops, you will usually find spread and totals betting available.
Basic Intro to Basketball
Basketball is a team sport where five players from two teams face off on a horizontal court with two hoops, baskets, which are 10 feet high, at each end. The court is divided in half by the mid-court line, and the main object of the game is to score more points than the other team. You score by putting the ball in the basket, and you get two points but three points if you are behind the 3-point arc and one point for a free throw.
Players move the ball by dribbling or passing it. Dribbling is bouncing the ball on the ground without stopping, and when they do stop, they have to have one foot planted on the ground and cannot dribble it again and must pass or shoot. In the two teams matching up in a game, there are five players for each team playing on the court and the players on the bench, which can substitute at any time there is a pause in the action on the court.
In the NBA, a game lasts 48 minutes with four 12-minute quarters. In NCAA basketball, there are two halves of 20 minutes each. In each league, teams take a break at halftime.
Fouls are called by the referee/referees in a game, and in the NBA, if a player gets six fouls, they are out of the game, and for NCAA basketball, it is five fouls. A personal foul is called for hitting, pushing, slapping, or holding an opposing player. If the fouled player is in the act of shooting, they are awarded free throws. They will get two of them unless they were behind the 3-point arc where they get three free throws, and if their shot still went in, they are given one free throw.
If the personal foul is not when a player is shooting, the opposing team takes the ball out of bounds. However, if a team has over a certain amount of fouls in a half, which varies depending on the league, then any personal foul will give the opposing team two free throws.
If a personal foul is deemed too violent by the referee, it is called a flagrant foul. In this case, the team fouled gets two free throws and possession of the ball. A technical foul can be given to players and coaches, which deals with arguing with the referee, fighting, or harsh or obscene language. When a team is called for a technical foul, the opposing team gets two free throws and retains possession of the ball. If a player or coach gets two technical fouls in a game, they are thrown out.
There are also violations in basketball where the team losses possession of the ball. Here are the most common violations: Traveling – Moving more than one step and a half, not dribbling the ball. Traveling is also when a player stops dribbling and moves their pivot foot.
- Double Dribble – If a player stops dribbling and then begins to dribble again. A double dribble is also called if a player dribbles the ball with two hands on the ball instead of one.
- Held Ball – When two players are holding the ball simultaneously trying to get possession. The ref will interfere and give the ball to one team or the other, depending on a rotating basis.
- Backcourt Violation – When a team crosses the midcourt line, they cannot go back across it while possessing the ball.
- Goaltending – Goaltending is called when an opposing player touches a shot either on the way down, when it is on the rim, or if the ball has already hit the backboard. If goaltending is called, the team that shot the ball gets the points, like if the ball had gone in the basket.· Time Violations – A team losses possession of the ball if they commit a time violation. That can be for not crossing the midcourt within 10 seconds, a player having the ball for over five seconds while being guarded closely, and not being able to pass the ball inbounds within five seconds. There are also shot clock violations if the team does not attempt a shot before the shot clock expires. There is a 24-second shot clock in the NBA, and for college basketball, it is 30 seconds.
NBA and NCAA Basketball Layout
The two most popular leagues and betting leagues, by far, are the NBA (National Basketball Association) and NCAA (college basketball).
In the NBA, there are 30 teams, with half in the Western Conference and half in the Eastern Conference. There are three divisions in each conference, with five teams in each. Here is the breakdown of them.
|Eastern Conference||Western Conference|
|Atlantic Division||Central Division||Southeast Division||Pacific Division||Northwest Division||Southwest Division|
|New York Knicks||Indiana Pacers||Miami Heat||L.A. Lakers||Utah Jazz||Memphis Grizzlies|
|Brooklyn Nets||Chicago Bulls||Charlotte Hornets||L.A. Clippers||Denver Nuggets||Dallas Mavericks|
|Philadelphia 76ers||Milwaukee Bucks||Atlanta Hawks||Golden State Warriors||Portland Trail Blazers||Houston Rockets|
|Toronto Raptors||Cleveland Cavaliers||Washington Wizards||Sacramento Kings||Minnesota Timberwolves||San Antonio Spurs|
|Boston Celtics||Detroit Pistons||Orlando Magic||Phoenix Suns||Oklahoma City Thunder||New Orleans Pelicans|
The NBA teams play an 82-game schedule, and there is a new playoff format starting for the 2022 season. The six best records from each conference will make the playoffs. The seventh and eighth seeds will face off in a three-game series where the winner makes the playoffs. The eighth seed will then face the series winner between the ninth and 10th seed, where the winner will make the playoffs.
Once the eight teams from each conference are set, they are seeded 1-8 for each conference, based on their regular-season record. Then in the first round, the teams play a seven-game series with 1 vs. 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, and 4 vs. 5. After that series is another and then one more in the conference finals. The two teams that win their respective conference finals will play a seven-game series to determine the NBA champion for the season.
In college basketball there are 386 teams in Division 1, all tying for the National Championship. The teams are all in 32 conferences across the United States, and each team plays around 30 games each. More than half of the games are within the conference. At the end of conference play, the teams will play a conference tournament. The tournament winner will get an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, which is also called March Madness and the Big Dance.
Besides the 32 automatic bids, there are 36 at large bids where a committee will pick the 36 teams that will be invited to the NCAA Tournament, which is always held in March and a huge basketball betting event. The teams are seeded by how strong their schedule and conference are. There are seeds from 1-16 in four regions in the East, West, South, and Midwest. All of the teams in the Big Dance will play in one of the four regions, and the regions are in that respective region of the US, but the teams in them are from anywhere.
The first games are the play-in games where there are four of them with eight teams vying to get in the round of 64. Once that is set, the dance begins, and the teams face off in a single-elimination format, with the winner moving onto the next round. The nicknames when whittled down are Sweet 16, Elite 8, Final Four, and then the National Title game. The last two teams in the tournament play each other in one game where the winner is the National Champion for the season.
We cannot forget about the ladies as well. The WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) is the top women’s league globally. While the betting options are more limited, hoops sportsbooks will often offer spreads, totals, and moneylines for games.
Brief History of Basketball
Basketball was invented in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts by James Naismith. Rumor has it that he was asked to create an indoor game that was safer than football and could be played indoors during the colder months. The first game had nine players on each side trying to shoot a ball into a peach basket, which would have to be retrieved if a shot was made.
The first recorded college basketball game was in 1895 in the 9-9 format, and the first collegiate 5 on 5 game was in 1896. After that, having five players on a side stuck. There were smaller pro leagues in the US near the turn of the 19th century, but they didn’t last long.
At the turn of the century, many colleges had basketball teams. The NCAA took over the sport in 1909, and the first NCAA tournament was held in 1939. More and more colleges fielded teams throughout the years, and the tournament grew to what we know it today. UCLA has won the most national titles with 11, followed by Kentucky (8), North Carolina (6), and Duke (5).
The NBA was formed in 1949 when the Basketball Association of America (BAA) and National Basketball League (NBL) merged. The NBL was more established than the BAA but played in smaller cities in the Midwest in smaller gyms, while the NBL played in bigger cities and market arenas like Madison Square Garden in New York City. The new league in the NBA originally had 17 teams.
In the 1950s, the NBA’s popularity waned, and by the middle of the decade, only eight teams remained. At this time the league would implement the 24-second shot clock, hugely increasing the game’s pace. Because of this, there were higher scores, and the league took off. In the 60s and 70s, many teams came into the league which are still playing to this day.
The ABA was formed to rival the NBA in 1967 and lasted until 1976. The ABA had a flashier type of basketball that fans loved, and some of the bigger stars at the time option to play in that league, such as Julius Irving (Dr. J) and George Gervin. However, the league disbanded in 1976, with the NBA absorbing four teams. The game’s popularity, once again, took a short downfall but rose back again when Larry Bird and Ervin Magic Johnson entered the league in 1978 and 1979, respectively. They sparked the league’s popularity with their teams in the Boston Celtics and L.A. Lakers vying for the NBA title nearly every season in the 80s.
When Michael Jordan entered the league, it took off, and he became the face of the NBA. In the 90’s, the Bulls dominated and won six titles in six trips to the finals. At this time the NBA became a global brand, and because of that, the sport of basketball became more popular worldwide.
There have also been some black marks in the game’s history in terms of basketball betting. Here are the most significant scandals:
- 1950 NCCY point-shaving scandal – In the 1951 season, 32 players from seven teams were embroiled in a mafia-run point-shaving scandal.
- Boston College and the Mafia – Jimmy Burke, who Robert DeNiro portrayed in the epic film Goodfellas went to jail for a point-shaving scandal involving players from Boston College.
- Tulane and the Hot Rod – John “Hot Rod” Williams played 13 years in the NBA but was in a point-shaving scandal with four other players while at college at Tulane. Tulane shut down its program for four years because of it.· The Ref Gets In on the Action – In 2007, NBA referee Tim Donaghy was caught betting on games and gave information to other gamblers after falling into debt.
How Does Basketball Betting Work?
When you want to bet on basketball, you are making a bet on a game that the oddsmakers have set. You can then set the wager you want at an online sportsbook, and you should use the ones we review, as they are not only reputable and licensed but offer many options for basketball betting lines. At the sportsbook, you can go to the basketball section and click on it, and you will see all the games available and all the different bets that you can make. Simply click on the bet you want to make, figure out the amount to wager, and wait for the outcome.
When you are checking out the hoops, odds you will see many betting markets available, especially for NBA and NCAA games. On these leagues, especially the NBA, you will see many wager types available from the spread and total to the moneyline, proposition bets, and maybe more!
Basketball Bets Available
Let’s take a look at the basketball bets that are available to you.
The spread is the most common hoops wager, and a handicap one where the favorite in a game will be getting points and the underdog will be getting points. The main goal in a spread bet is to cover the spread and if your team does that, you will win. Here is an example of a spread bet:
Boston Celtics +5
Philadelphia 76ers -5
In this example above, the 76ers are the favorite noted by the – in front of the number, and the Celtics are the underdog noted by the +. The 76ers are giving five points to the Celtics in the wager. So, if you bet on the 76ers, they have to win by more than 5 points, and if you bet on the Celtics, they need to win the game or lose by fewer than 5 points. At the end of the game, the 76ers beat the Celtics 115-108, and since they won by 7 points, the 76ers would be the winning bet, winning by more than 5 points, so they covered the spread.
(NOTE) for spreads and totals and some other bets, you will often see a .5 after the number. So, the example above could be 76ers -5.5, Celtics +5.5. If there is ever a .5 after the number, the bet cannot end in a push since a team cannot score half a point. If the spread, or any bet, ends at the same number as the book picked, the bet is called a pick, which is a push, and you will get your original stake back. In the example above, if 5 points favored the 76ers and they won 115-110 they won by 5 points, so the bet is a push.
Moneylines are also a popular bet that takes the handicap out of the equation, but there are inflated odds to reflect the favorite and underdog. In a moneyline wager, you are simply picking the winner of the game. Since there is no type of handicap in this type of bet you are betting more to win less on the favorite and betting less to win more on the underdog. For simplicity, we will use $100 to show an example of NBA moneyline basketball betting odds. Here is an example of an NBA moneyline bet:
L.A., Lakers +130
Golden State Warriors -150
Like the spread, the + in front of the number shows the underdog, and the – in front of the number shows the favorite. In this game, using $100, you can bet any amount you want; you are setting down $100 to win $130 by betting on the Lakers and laying $150 to win $100 betting on the Warriors. The payout is better for the Lakers, but they are the underdog. With no handicap such as a spread, the moneyline evens the playing field in terms of the wager, as you are simply picking a side to win. You can also bet if the game goes to overtime, and in the example above, if you took the tie and the game does go to OT if you bet $100 you would win $1100.
The totals bet is one of the more straightforward bets to understand, as the sportsbook will set a total for a game being the total number of points scored by both teams in a game. This bet is also called the over/bet, as you are betting if you think the total posted will be over or under the number set by the sportsbook. Here is an example of an NBA totals bet:
Dallas Mavericks vs Houston Rockets – 224
At the end of the game, the Mavericks beat the Rockets 116-110. The total number of points scored in the game was 226, so with the posted total at 224, the over bet would be the winning one, and the under bet would be the losing one.
A parlay bet is several bets in one. You can usually wager between 2-15 games in one bet, and the games are referred to as legs in a parlay wager. The more legs in the single bet, the higher the payout will be, but the harder it will be to win. You have to win every leg in the bet for it to win. So, if you pick five NCAA games in a parlay with spreads, all five teams you picked have to cover the spread for the parlay to be a winning wager. Breaking it down a parlay is a high-risk and high-reward wager.
You can use spreads, totals, and sometimes proposition bets for parlay basketball betting, which we will touch on in the next section.
Often at basketball betting sites, they will offer parlay insurance. Often parlay insurance is offered where you can still get a payout if only one of the legs in your parlay is a loser. Typically, you will have to have a bet with at least 4 legs in this type of promo.
One of the cool things about parlays as well, as you will, often, see sportsbooks offer cross-sports one. So, for example, you could come up with a four-leg parlay betting on two spreads for NFL games and two totals for NBA games.
A proposition bet is referred to as a prop bet, and it has nothing to do with the overall outcome of the game. You will find both player and prop bets at basketball betting sites, and they will have either even odds or inflated odds. A few examples of a prop bet are which team will score the first basket in the game, will there be a technical foul in a game, which team will have the halftime lead, will a certain player score over or under 18.5 points, and will a player have over or under 10 rebounds.
You will find more prop bets available for the bigger games in the bigger leagues so that they will be more of them available for the NBA and NCAA games. The NBA games are where the most prop bets are found, and this is especially the case for the playoffs and finals.
The name of the futures bet says it all, as you are betting on the future outcome. A bet like this is betting on the winner of a league or conference or an award race, such as the MVP of the NBA or the player of the year in college basketball. The futures bet is more of a marathon wager since you have to wait until the end of a series or season to see if the bet is a winning one.
Solid odds are offered for futures bets, and this can be especially the case before the season begins. A few examples of a futures basketball bet include which team will win the NBA title, which team will win the NCAA championship, which player will win the MVP, which team will win the Pac 12 conference, and which team will win the Eastern Conference in the NBA.
You can make futures bets before the season begins, and you can also make it during the season. The odds will change for the bet depending on how the team or player is doing.
Live basketball betting is very popular these days, and the sportsbooks that we review offer it. Live betting is betting on a game as it is happening in real-time. The game’s odds will change quickly depending on what is happening in the game. Typically, for hoops live betting, you will find spreads, moneylines, and totals, and sometimes there are live prop bets available.
Before an NBA game begins, the Celtics are a 5-point favorite over the 76ers. The game starts, and the Celtics get off to a slow start and are down by a point at the end of the first quarter, and because of this, the live bet will alter the odds, and they are now only a 2-point favorite. Live betting is fast and furious, to say the least, and this is especially the case for basketball since it is a faster-paced sport.
Basketball Bonuses and Promotions
You will not have a hard time finding basketball bonuses and promotions at online sportsbooks. They will have many typical ones, such as a welcome bonus or reload bonus, but you will also find promos that are basketball-specific. Bonuses are a great way to pad your bankroll, and you should take advantage of them. However, for any bonus, you need to read the terms and conditions for it, as they will have wagering requirements that you will have to meet.
Parlay insurance and profit boosts are two standard promos that you will see often. Parlay insurance allows you to win a parlay even with a losing leg and a profit boost is where a sportsbook will boost the profit of a bet by increasing the odds for a game.
When the bigger events for hoops roll around, you will also find specific bonuses and promotions. There is no lack of them at basketball betting sites when the NBA playoffs and finals occur and when March Madness rolls around.
Basketball is a Global Sport
While the game of basketball was invented in the US and is very popular, it’s also hugely popular worldwide. Because of this, you will see odds posted at sportsbooks for basketball leagues the world over. While you will find odds on other leagues, mainly in Europe, NBA and NCAA basketball betting are, by far, the two leagues that have the most betting markets. You will typically only find spreads, totals, and moneyline bets for leagues outside of the US.
BASKETBALL BETTING ONLINE
What is the most popular basketball bet?
The spread is the most popular basketball bet, followed by totals and moneylines. The spread bet is a handicap bet where you are not simply picking a team to win but cover the spread.
Can I bet on NCAA women’s basketball?
Yes. Betting on women’s college basketball is a recent event where sportsbooks started posting odds. However, unlike the men’s college game, there are limited betting options for women’s hoops, as most of the bets available will be for the NCAA tournament.
What is the biggest basketball betting win of all time?
An anonymous bettor from Las Vegas made a $5 parlay wager with 12 legs for both NCAA and NBA games. Lady Luck was on his side, and all 12 legs won, and the better turned their $5 into $305,375. Interesting that NBA legend and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley won $800,000 by betting on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl over the St. Louis Rams, who were 14-point favorites.
Are basketball betting trends important to look at?
They can be. Trends for hoops can show you the team’s form, in terms of betting and help you make a more informed bet. You can check out team trends and how they have done ATS (against the spread) and Over/Under for the last several games or on the road or against a specific opponent.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Are there any restrictions on NCAA betting?
There can be. Sports betting is legal in the US but on a state-by-state basis. Some states do not allow for wagering on college sports, and there are others where you cannot bet on a team from that state or a game in the state. There are also a few states where basketball proposition wagering is illegal. You can find that info online, but at the US-regulated sportsbooks we review, you can check them out and see what you can and cannot wager on.
Are there basketball betting forums?
Yes. At quite a few of the reputable sportsbooks we review, they have fan forums where you can chat with others about basketball and betting on the sport.
Can I make money betting on basketball?
Yes. However, it is pretty obvious that you have to win bets to make money wagering on basketball. If you are serious about making money, you have to take the time to handicap games and have solid money management.
Do all sportsbooks offer basketball lines?
Yes. Since basketball is such a popular sport and betting sport, all sportsbooks will offer lines for hoops, with most lines being for the NBA and NCAA.
What if I make a player prop bet and that player does not play in the game?
You will get your original stake back if you make a proposition bet on a player and they don’t play because of injury or are simply resting for that game.
What are the most popular basketball betting events?
Well, that would have to be the NBA finals and the NCAA tournament.