Types of Basketball Bets and How to Benefit From Them

Wed, Nov 24, 2021
by CapperTek

Photo by
JC Gellidon from Unsplash

Sports betting is one of the fun ways to enjoy basketball. Whether you prefer to watch a live game, bet among friends, or visit an online sports betting site, there are many opportunities for you to enjoy staking on the game.

However, you need to have at least basic knowledge of the different types of bets and how to read the odds so you can bet more effectively. For example, what do the plus and minus signs before a number stand for?

This article discusses how to read basketball betting odds and the popular bets you can place on basketball games.

Understanding Basketball Betting Odds

Before placing your bets, you need to learn how to read basketball odds and what they mean.

The odds usually reflect how much you are likely to win a given bet. However, the odds may also give you an idea of a team’s chances of winning.

In basketball, these odds are usually denoted with a positive or negative number. Teams with a negative figure are the favorites, while those with a positive number are the underdogs.

Suppose the Golden State Warriors have odds of -130, and the Brooklyn Nets are assigned +150. In this case, the Warriors are the favorites, and the Nets are the underdogs.

If you bet $130 on the Warriors and they win, you earn $100. On the other hand, if you place a $100 stake on the Nets, you receive a $150 profit if the Nets win.

Popular Types of Basketball Bets

Now that you have some basic idea of reading basketball odds, here are the common types of bets you can place on basketball.

Moneyline Bet

Some bettors may consider this type of bet a straightforward method because you only need to choose a team you believe will win a game. The amount you win on the bet depends on how much a team is favored to win.

Consider the following betting lines as an example of a moneyline:

     Los Angeles Clippers -275

     San Antonio Spurs +220

In the example, the Clippers are favored to win the match. If you bet $275 on the Clippers and the team wins, you earn $100. Your total payout will be $375 ($100 profit + $275 stake returned).

If you bet on the Spurs and they win, a $100 stake on them will earn you $220. You will receive a total of $320 ($220 profit + $100 stake returned).

Spread Bet

The spread is the difference between the number of points of both teams.

As a simple example, if the Indiana Pacers have 89 points and the Detroit Pistons have 79 points, you can say both teams have a 10-point spread.

This type of bet is meant to balance the playing field and give underdog bettors a better chance to win. Since you are betting on the spread and not on a team’s score, there is a chance you can win a bet even if your chosen team loses.

For example, the following betting lines are:

     Utah Jazz -9.5 (-110)

     Philadelphia 76ers +9.5 (-110)

For Utah to “cover the spread,” they have to win the match by ten points or more. If you bet on the 76ers, they have to win the game straight up or lose by nine points or less.

Suppose you bet on Utah, and they win 134-123 against the 76ers. Since Utah has an 11-point lead, you also win the bet.

However, if you bet on the 76ers and they trailed by nine points or less, you still win the bet even if the team loses.

Over/Under Bet

If you are undecided or uninterested in which team to bet on, consider betting on the total final score of both teams in a match instead.

In an over/under bet, the oddsmaker sets a predicted score. You place a bet on whether the actual combined score of both teams goes over or under that predetermined score.

Suppose an O/U bet in an Indiana Pacers vs. Detroit Pistons match goes like this:

     OVER 210 (-110), UNDER 210 (-110)

If the final score is at 115-109 in favor of the Pacers, the total combined score is 224 (115 + 109). If you bet $110 on OVER, you win $100. If you bet UNDER, you lose the bet.

Prop Bets

Propositions or prop bets are placed on specific events in the game that are usually not related to the final results.

Some examples of prop bets include which team scores the first three-point shot, which player makes the first rebound, or which team is the first to score 50 points.

Some sportsbooks offer a limited number of prop bets. However, in a practical sense, you can make prop bets even among your friends.

For example, you can make a bet on what shirt color the coach of one team will wear or if any of the teams’ mascots will perform during halftime.


Sports betting is one of the ways to appreciate basketball. Whether you are a beginner, a casual bettor, or an experienced gambler, there are several types of bets you can place to make the game more enjoyable.

While winning a bet is not always guaranteed, you can increase your chances of winning through research and reading about the different teams and their statistics. By analyzing this information, you may be able to make more informed betting decisions.

Check out the latest NBA game schedules at NBA.com/schedule so you can select when you want to place your bets.

Review your state’s laws if you are unsure if sports betting is legal in your area. If you are having difficulties or experiencing gambling problems, call 1-800-GAMBLER.