How to bet on Basketball

Basketball betting offers sports bettors some of the most intriguing prop bets out of any sport out there. During basketball season, there are typically games almost every night of the week, giving bettors something different to bet on each day. But with so many different basketball betting options, it can be tough to break down what each type of bet actually is, which is why we are here. America’s Bookie’s Basketball Betting section covers all or your sports betting needs, and answers any questions that you may have in terms of types of basketball bets, the best way to bet basketball, and much more!

Point Spread Betting

Point spread betting is big in basketball. Putting a point spread on a basketball game is essentially a line based on how much one team is projected to win by. The odds on this type of bet don’t vary much, mainly because the line will move quite a bit over the span of a day or multiple days when it is posted. This type of bet is the most common type of basketball bet. Here’s an example of a point spread bet in basketball:

Denver Nuggets -4 (-110) vs. Atlanta Hawks +4 (-110)

In this situation, the Nuggets are projected as four point favorites over the Hawks. If you were to bet the Nuggets here, they would have to win by more than 4 points, and you would be betting $11 to win $10.

Total Betting

Total betting in basketball works similar to most other sports, where there is a total number of points that is projected to be scored by both teams in the game. The odds on this bet won’t vary an incredible amount, but the total number will move a bit. For example, if both teams are high scoring teams, the total will be much higher than if the two teams playing are very defensive minded. In this bet there is just one total number selected, and your job is to choose whether it will be above or below that number. Here’s an example of a total bet in basketball:

Denver Nuggets vs. Atlanta Hawks Total over/under at 198.5 (-110 either way)

So in this example, the total is set at 198.5, meaning that if you were to bet the over, the two teams combined would have to score 199 points ore more. You would be betting $11 to win $10 here as well.

Quarter and Half Point Spread Betting

A quarter or half point spread bet, is essentially the same thing as a regular point spread bet, except that it is only for one quarter or half of the game. So typically whatever the full game point spread is set at, the halftime point spread will be right around half of that. You can also bet on each game by quarter, which would typically mean that the quarter point spread bet would normally be a fourth of the full game. So here’s an example of both a quarter and halftime betting point spread:

Quarter: Denver Nuggets -1 (-110) vs. Atlanta Hawks +1 (-110)

This would be a fourth of the bet listed above for the entire game

Halftime: Denver Nuggets -2 (-110) vs. Atlanta Hawks +2 (-110)

This would be exactly half of the full game point spread

Buying Points

Buying points in basketball betting works very similar to buying points in football. In basketball betting you can buy anywhere between a half a point, 1 point, 1.5 points, or 2 points. Of course, the more points that you buy, the more the odds will vary. The idea behind buying points is that you should do it when it will put you in a better position to win or push your bet. For example, if a team is +2.5 and you feel that they won’t lose by more than 3, you can buy a half of a point. Here’s an example of how buying points affects the odds:

Normal odds: -110

Buying 0.5 point: -120

Buying 1 point: -130

Buying 1.5 points: -140

Buying 2 points: -150

Money Line Betting

Money line betting is another fairly popular betting option when it comes to betting on basketball, but comes in behind point spread betting. The reason for this, is because when betting on a money line, you are essentially picking a team to win the game straight up. The problem with doing that, is that if the team is a big favorite, the odds won’t pay out very well if you bet them on the money line. On the other side of things though, if you were to bet on the underdog on the money line, you’ll get a better payout in the end. Here’s an example of a money line bet based on the bet used above:

Denver Nuggets (-180) vs. Atlanta Hawks (+130)

So in this example you can see that the odds have changed quite a bit, and in order to bet the Nuggets now, you must bet $180 to win $100.

Teaser Betting

Teaser betting is one of the most profitable types of bets in sports. Betting on teasers in basketball is a bit different than in football, as you can buy points ranging between 4, 4.5, or 5 points. What you are doing here is making a parlay, with at least two teams and moving their point spread. The idea behind these bets is to make them easier to win, but in return you have to give up the higher payout. For example, a two team parlay will pay out around 2.6 to 1, while a two team 4 point teaiser is more around 10 to 11. Here is an example of a teaser bet in basketball:

Denver Nuggets -4 vs. Atlanta Hawks +4

So if you were taking the Nuggets in this bet, and do a 4 point teaser, you would then be betting on the Nuggets at a pick. This is a great spot to do a teaser bet in, especially if you feel the Nuggets will definitely win the game outright, but may not win by more than 4.

Special Teaser

A special teaser works similar to a regular teaser, but gives even more points to the side that you choose. The reason they are called ”special” teasers, is because instead of just 4, 4.5, or 5 points, they could give anywhere between 8 and 10 points total. In these types of bets though, all ties will lose normally (mainly due to the fact that they are giving you so many points in a game, and are assuming that this bet is very tough to lose). A special teaser would make the example above go from the Nuggets being -4, all the way to even being +4 with an 8 point special teaser.

Teaser Rules

Teasers do come with rules also, and the first thing is the payout. Most sites offer payout that is fixed depending on the number of teams included in the teaser. These odds depend on which sports betting site that you are using as well. Another important rule to factor in, is what happens if the game results in a tie? If there is a tie, most sports betting sites will count it as a push, and just lower the number of teams in the teaser. Other sports betting sites will count that as a loss, automatically losing your teaser, and very few sports betting sites will count a push as a win. On top of these standard rules, most sites will also offer a max that you can bet on a teaser, and a max that the site will pay out on a teaser as well. So always be sure to check what the maximum amount of money your teaser can pay out is.


Parlays are very similar to teasers, except that you are betting on the actual point spread with multiple teams in the bet. Parlays are between two teams, all the way up to 8 or 9, with some sites allowing a total of up to 10 or 15 teams in a parlay. The idea behind a parlay is that the payout is great if you can hit it, but you have to get every team in the parlay to cover the spread in order to win the bet. If one team does not cover the spread, you lose the entire bet. Here is a list of odds for parlays, broken down by how many teams are included in the parlay (with each bet being a point spread bet):

2 team: 13/53 team: 6/1
4 team: 10/15 team: 20/1
6 team: 40/17 team: 75/1
8 team: 150/19 team: 250/1
10 team: 400/110 team: 400/1
12 team: 600/1

Round Robins

Round robins are basically multiple small parlays, which are taken from a group of teams that you choose to bet on. In a round robin bet, you choose between 3 and 8 teams to include, and also decide how many ways the bet will go (between 2 and 6). We have listed all of the different ways to do round robin bets below, and will include an example of a smaller round robin.

Say that you are betting on the Los Angeles Lakers -5, the San Antonio Spurs -2, and the Oklahoma City Thunder -2, in a three way round robin:

Round Robins
Parlay 1:Parlay 2:
Los Angeles Lakers -5Los Angeles Lakers -5
San Antonio Spurs -2Oklahoma City Thunder -2
Bet $10 to win $26Bet $10 to win $26
Parlay 3:
San Antonio Spurs -5
Oklahoma City Thunder -2
Bet $10 to win $26
Picks/Ways/Number of Bets
8 picks/2 ways/28 bets8 picks/3 ways/56 bets
8 picks/4 ways/70 bets8 picks/5 ways/56 bets
8 picks/6 ways/28 bets7 picks/2 ways/21 bets
7 picks/3 ways/35 bets7 picks/4 ways/35 bets
7 picks/5 ways/21 bets7 picks/6 ways/7 bets
6 picks/2 ways/15 bets6 picks/3 ways/20 bets
6 picks/4 ways/15 bets6 picks/5 ways/6 bets
5 picks/2 ways/10 bets5 picks/3 ways/10 bets
5 picks/4 ways/5 bets4 picks/2 ways/6 bets
4 picks/3 ways/4 bets3 picks/2 ways/3 bets

Parlay Rules

There are some rules when it comes to parlay betting as well, with the first one being the most important one, what happens when there is a tie in a parlay? Some sites will give a push, and just knock down the number of teams in the parlay, while other sites count a push as a loss, and very few sites will count a push as a win. The most common way that sports betting sites handle ties is by eliminating that bet from the parlay. The other rule to keep your eye on about parlay betting is the payout. There are some huge payouts if you are able to hit a big parlay, and the worst thing that can happen is that you don’t get fully paid out because a sports book has a max amount that you can win.

If Bets

If bets are essentially a way to manage your money. The idea behind an if bet is that you line up 2 or more bets in a row, but each bet in the row is only played if the one before it wins. So for example if you bet on four games and the third one loses (after the first two win), then you would not have the bet placed on the fourth game. This basically makes it so that you can only lose a specific amount of money. Here’s an example of a two team if bet:

Chicago Bulls +5 (-110) vs. Miami Heat -5 (-110)

Bet $11 on the Bulls +5 to win $10

If this bet wins, then a bet would be placed on the following game:

Charlotte Bobcats -3 (-110) vs. Milwaukee Bucks +3 (-110)

Bet $11 on the Bobcats -3 to win $10

Reverse If Bets

Reverse if bets give you the opportunity to win more money if the picks that are selected win. you are taking two or three double action if bets, and reversing them, the example below will explain it a bit more in-depth:

2 team Reverse bet:

Chicago Bulls +5 bet $11 to win $10 (if win, tie or cancel)

Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat over 197.5 bet $10 to win $10


Chicago Bulls vs. Miami Heat over 197.5 bet $10 to win $10 (if win, tie or cancel)

Chicago Bulls +5 bet $11 to win $10

To break this down even more, if both bets are able to hit then you win $40, but even if one bet wins or cancels, you still take home $20. Of course a loss would just be a standard loss.

Futures Bets

Future bets are long term bets, that can pay off very well down the road. Futures bets are normally either made before the basketball season, or early in the season. These bets normally are made on which team you think will win the NBA Championship, which team will win each conference (East and West), or each Division. The odds are better on each bet the earlier in the season that you make them. If you can be a profitable futures bettor, than you can make quite a bit of money. Here are a few examples of futures bets:

Prop Bets

Prop bets are very popular for betting on specific games. If you don’t like the point spread on a game, prop bets are a great way to still find some great action on that game. Prop bets odds will vary depending on the bet, and there are a few different bet types offered. The different types of props range from things like ”who will score the first points of the game?”, ”will the team who scores first win the game?”, and also player props such as an over/under on how many points on player will score. A bet like ”who will score the first points”, will offer multiple different options, with odds ranging on them, while bets like ”will the team who scores first win the game”, only has a yes or no answer. Let’s take a look at a few examples of prop bets:

Basketball Future Bets
Odds on Future Bet to Win NBA Championship:
Chicago Bulls: +600Dallas Mavericks: +700
Boston Celtics: +1000Atlanta Hawks: +5000
Charlotte Bobcats: +10000
Odds on Future Bet to Win Western Conference:
Dallas Mavericks: +275Los Angeles Lakers: +275
Denver Nuggets: +1300Los Angeles Clippers: +2000
Prop Bets
Who Will Score First in the Miami Heat vs. Cleveland Cavaliers game:
LeBron James: +225Dwyane Wade: +250
Chris Bosh: +400Kyrie Irving: +550
Kevin Love: +600
Will the Team Who Scores First Win the Game
Yes: -110No: -110

Prop Bet Rules

The first thing to check out when it comes to prop bets, is if the bet that you are making does or does not include overtime in it. Most prop bets will include overtime, so if you bet on Kobe Bryant to score over 35 points, and he has 34 heading into overtime, you could still get the win. Some betting sites will include stats that a player must start for your bet to count (meaning that if you get hurt before the game that the bet is cancelled automatically). Prop betting rules are set up in order to make sure that there is no misunderstanding on the terms of a prop bet. If you bet that Kevin Durant will score under 10 points, but he gets hurt and doesn’t play, most sports betting sites will just count that as a return on your money, or a push.

Basketball offers some of the most wide spread types of bets out there. The best thing that we can recommend is to be sure that you do research on the sports betting site that you are using, so that you have a good understanding as to the rules of each type of bet.


NBA Team Props are a great way to diversify, it’s fun to play the money lines, the spreads and totals, however, there is a much bigger world out there and you don’t want to miss out on a money-making opportunity.
You may be the type of sports bettor that looks for easy and no-hassle ways to win, who isn’t? Follow these simple guidelines for NBA player props and you will see just how easy it can be to win.
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