Basketball Betting in the US

Basketball is the second-most popular sport in the US behind football and so, naturally, people want to bet on it. To save you time and effort, we have gathered all the information you need to bet on basketball.

You can learn more about everything you need to know before placing a basketball bet. We cover everything from best basketball bonuses and top basketball betting apps to the different types of bets available and some helpful wagering tips.

Best Basketball Betting Sites in December 2022

Top Results for Virginia, US
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# Sportsbook Bonus
1.
FanDuel Sportsbook

Up to $1,000 risk-free bet

Free bet

FanDuel Sportsbook
PayPal
VISA
Mastercard
PayNearMe
Discover
Use bonus code: No bonus code required; Register to claim
Qualifying bet: No minimum bet amount
Wagering requirement: 1x bonus
2.
Caesars Sportsbook

Up to $1250 free bet

Cashback

Caesars Sportsbook
Mastercard
PayNearMe
PayPal
Play+
VISA
Discover
Use bonus code: CZR15
Qualifying bet: No minimum bet amount and no odds restrictions
Wagering requirement: 1x bonus
3.
BetMGM

Up to 1000$ free bet

Free bet

BetMGM
PayNearMe
PayPal
Play+
Discover
Use bonus code: No bonus code required. Register to claim offer
Qualifying bet: No minimum bet amount and no odds restrictions
Wagering requirement: 1x bonus
4.
BetRivers

100% up to $250

Match deposit bonus

BetRivers
VISA
Mastercard
VIP Preferred
PayPal
Play+
PayNearMe
Use bonus code: 250MATCH
Qualifying bet: No minimum bet amount and no odds restrictions
Wagering requirement: 1x bonus
5.
DraftKings Sportsbook

Bet $5 get $200 in free bets

Free bet

DraftKings Sportsbook
VISA
VIP Preferred
Play+
PayPal
Discover
Trustly
Use bonus code: No bonus code required; Register to claim
Qualifying bet: $5
Wagering requirement: 1x bonus
6.
PointsBet

2 risk free bets up to 2000$

Cashback

PointsBet
VISA
Mastercard
PayPal
Use bonus code: WELCOME
Qualifying bet: No minimum bet amount and no odds restrictions
Wagering requirement: 1x bonus
7.
Unibet

Up to $500 free bet

Free bet

Unibet
Mastercard
VISA
PayPal
Play+
Use bonus code: No bonus code required; Register to claim
Qualifying bet: $10 or more
Wagering requirement: 1x bonus
8.
WynnBET

Bet $100 get $100 in free bets

Cashback

WynnBET
PayPal
Mastercard
Play+
VISA
VIP Preferred
Use bonus code: XUSBETTOP; Register to claim offer
Qualifying bet: Bet $100 or more at minimum odds of -120
Wagering requirement: 1x bonus
Restricted
It seems you are in Virginia, US, where US online sportsbooks are not legal. You can change your location or browse the recommended fantasy sports betting sites below.

Our team of basketball betting experts researched and reviewed every legal US betting site to pick out the best ones for you.

Each site has been rated on a range of criteria, such as best bonuses and quality of odds, which ensures only the top sportsbooks are recommended.

It’s also important that we only list licensed sportsbooks as this means that sites have to abide by federal and state regulations that protect bettors.

Basketball Betting Bonuses

There are many specific basketball bonuses available at US betting sites that reward you for placing bets with bonuses such as free bets, odds boosts, and money back offers.

The amount available from these bonuses varies by basketball betting site, with some only a few dollars whilst others are upwards of $100, so you can be sure there is something for you.

Almost all sign-up offers at legal online betting sites can be used on NBA or NCAA basketball. The most popular sportsbook welcome bonuses are free bets and bet credits, and wagers you place with these bonuses are not included in returns.

Free bet stakes not included in returns

A $10 cash wager on Golden State Warriors at +100 would normally net you a total of $20 – $10 winnings plus your initial $10 risk if they win. If that wager is a free bet, you only get back the $10 winnings.

This table shows the main types of basketball bonus available and which betting site is best for each.

Top basketball betting promotions
Best basketball betting free bets

BetMGM

Best basketball welcome bonuses

Caesars Sportsbook

Best basketball boosted odds

bet365

Top Basketball Apps

Any betting site worth their salt has apps for both iOS and Android to make it as easy as possible for you to bet.

These sports betting apps allow you to view odds and place wagers from your phone or tablet, meaning you don’t need to be directly in front of a computer to bet on basketball.

Our team of experts have tested all the available mobile apps from US sportsbooks and picked out the best ones for betting on basketball.

BetMGM offers some of the best basketball promos and their mobile app is easy to navigate so it’s perfect for live basketball betting and bonuses.

Caesars Sportsbook boast one of the leading mobile apps out there and have a large range of basketball markets for both in-play and pre-game bets. For the best odds, FanDuel Sportsbook is the way to go.

betmgm app screenshot
Google Play rating: 4.4/5 App Store rating: 4.8/5 Top features: Early cashout, live streaming, same game parlay, easy p View more
Caesars betting app
Google Play rating: 4.4/5 App Store rating: 4.6/5 Top features: Early cashout, same game parlay Download app now Read C View more
fanduel sportsbook app screenshot
Google Play rating: 4.7/5 App Store rating: 4.8/5 Top features: Early cashout, live streaming, same game parlay Downloa View more

How to Bet on Basketball

The number of basketball games played every day in both the NBA and college can make it overwhelming for new bettors.

It will all become much clearer once you understand basketball betting basics, such as the spread and how to bet on player props. Everything you need to know can be found by using the links below or just reading on.

How to Place a Basketball Bet

The great thing about basketball betting is that there are so many games played almost every day when the sport is in season. This is in stark contrast to the likes of NFL, where most games are only played on Sundays from September to February.

Such frequency of games gives you plenty of options for betting and if nothing takes your fancy on a particular day, you can just wait until the next day.

1
find legal US betting site
Find legal US betting site

It is vital that you bet with a legal sportsbook as this ensures your money is safe.

2
register account
Register for a betting account

After choosing a sportsbook, sign up to them and utilize their welcome bonus.

3
find game to bet on
Find the game you want to bet on

Betting sites tend to only list the upcoming games for the day you are browsing on.

4
analysis
Do an analysis of the game

NBA statistics are freely available and you should definitely check them out before placing a bet.

5
find market
Find the market

Sportsbooks offer upwards of 100 basketball markets to bet on, and the analysis you have done should make it easy to decide which market you want.

6
compare odds
Compare odds

You wouldn’t buy something from one place if you could get it at another for cheaper, and that basic principle applies here.

7
Place your bet and wait for it to settle

Decide on your wager amount, place the bet, and then wait for the game to be played.

How to Read Basketball Odds

If there is a plus in front of the number, then that is how much you would win from a theoretical $100 wager. For instance, if you put $100 on a market priced at +250, you would win a total of $350 including your initial stake.

If it is a minus in front, then that shows the amount you would have to theoretically wager to win $100. If the selection is priced at -110 and you bet $110, you would win a total return of $210 including stake.

You do not have to wager exactly $100 – each sportsbook has minimum and maximum wagers – so you are free to decide how much you want to bet.

Basketball odds explained
-110

Wager $110 to win $100 profit

-200

Wager $200 to win $100 profit

+100

Wager $100 to win $100 profit

+500

Wager $100 to win $500 profit

The American Odds format is not exactly user-friendly, certainly compared to decimal odds or even fractional odds, but it certainly becomes easier to understand as you bet more.

Basketball Odds Comparison

Basketball odds are fairly similar at most sportsbooks because they mostly start on the same prices, but as bets come in then sportsbooks will change their odds to compensate.

This table shows the odds from a range of sites for a game between Golden State Warriors and LA Lakers.

Most odds are close but there’s a clear disparity between DraftKings and the other sportsbooks for moneyline bets on either team. They offer better odds than other sites on the Lakers to win but worse than the others on a Warriors win.

 CaesarsFanDuelbet365DraftKings
Home – Golden State Warriors-260-270-250-290
Away – Los Angeles Lakers+210+220+210+230
Home spread-6
-110
-6
-108
-6
-110
-6.5
-110
Away spread+6
-110
-6
-112
+6
-110
+6.5
-110
Spread margin4.8%4.7%4.8%4.8%

Bet Types

Basketball betting shares many bet types with the other major American sports and the core concepts of these can applied to most other wagers we haven’t covered here.

Use the table to jump to the bet type you want to more about or just keep reading to find out about each one.

Spread

Spread betting is wagering on a team to win with either a positive or a negative handicap added to the final result. The number is determined by how comfortable the sportsbook expects the victory to be.

The team that the betting site favors to win will have a negative handicap which means you take points away from them after the final buzzer, whilst the underdog gets points added to their final total.

You only add or remove points from one side to determine who covers the spread. The spread number usually ends with half a point, which removes any doubt over who covered. In instances where it is a full point and the spread ends in a tie, that is called a push and results in your stake being returned.

Example: Milwaukee Bucks are -4.5 favorites against Detroit Pistons. The Bucks need to win by five points or more to cover, such as a 120-108 victory. The Pistons can either win the game or lose by fewer than five points to cover. A 120-118 Bucks win would see Detroit cover.

Totals (Over/Under)

Totals betting is wagering on how many points will be scored in a basketball game. The betting site sets a line and you can bet on whether the game will see more or fewer points.

Over bets are common when there’s two high-scoring teams playing each other, whilst under are popular when there’s two low-scoring teams or if star players are absent through injury or rest.

Example: The points line for Detroit Pistons vs Milwaukee Bucks is 213.5 points. If the teams combine for 214 points or more (including overtime) then it has gone over, whilst if they combine for 213 or fewer then it is under.

Moneyline

Moneyline betting is just which team will win. The win can be by one point or by 30, so provided you wager on the winning team then your bet will be successful.

Lots of bettors like to wager on moneyline when the spread is only a couple of points, as it increases winnings. Extreme underdog moneyline bets, such as if a team is +400 or greater, are popular due to the potential returns.

Example: Milwaukee Bucks are -200 favorites against Detroit Pistons. A $10 wager on the Bucks returns $15 including your initial stake if they win.

Conversely, the Pistons are +165 to win so a $10 stake will see you scoop a total of $26.50 if they claim the W.

Player Props

A player prop is betting on how well an individual performs in a game. Like totals betting, the sportsbook presents you with a number for a specific stat, and you can wager on whether the player goes over or under that.

Player props can be influenced by injury or by game flow and if your bet loses because chosen player doesn’t get as much time on the court as usual, it’s unlikely the sportsbook will take much pity on you.

Example: The points total for Giannis Antetokounmpo is set at 31.5 points. If he scores 32 or more points during the game, this bet will be a winner.

Parlays

Parlay betting is a bet that consists of selections from multiple games, and you win if all your picks are successful. The total return is higher than if you place the bets individually, but the chance of winning is lower because you need more things to happen.

Recreational bettors use parlays a lot because they only require small stakes to potentially win big, making them more appealing than straight bets despite having worse odds.

Example: Bucks -4.5, Mavericks +2.5 and Jazz -9 are all priced at -110. Put all these selections into a parlay and that pays out at +595.

Teasers

A teaser is like a parlay except that all selections have to be either spreads or totals or a combination of both. A fixed number of points is then added to all selections and the total return is reduced.

Teasing is not that common because it requires finding teams you’re extremely confident in and the returns are not always great.

Example: Bucks -4.5, Mavericks +2.5 and Jazz -9 are all priced at -110. If you wanted to add five points to each of these then the bet would become Bucks +1, Mavericks +7.5 and Jazz -4.5, with the odds cut from +595 to +130.

Half/Quarter Betting

Half/quarter betting much like regular game betting except the bets only apply to either a selected quarter or half.

Usually you can only bet on the first quarter and first half before a game starts, with the other quarters and half becoming available in-play.

Some teams start slowly and make a habit of picking up the pace later in the game, whilst others can start strong so are worth considering for a bet to win the first quarter.

Example: Milwaukee Bucks are -145 moneyline favorites to win the first quarter. You only need the Bucks to be ahead after 12 minutes for this bet to win – the rest of the game does not matter.

Basketball Futures

These bets are ones that get settled towards the end of the season rather than after a specific game. Futures are also known as outrights and usually take the entire year to become a winner or loser.

It is common to place bets on basketball futures before the season begins but betting sites almost always offer them throughout.

  • Champion – The team that wins the NBA Championship or the College Basketball National Championship in NCAA Basketball. Teams that are expected to be contenders have shorter odds.
  • Player awards – A handful of awards are handed out by the NBA each season with Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year the two key prizes. All betting sites should offer these whilst some may also have odds for Most Improved Player and Sixth man of the Year.
  • Win total O/U – Sportsbooks set a win total for every NBA team and you can bet on whether they will win more or fewer games.
  • To make/miss playoffs – The NBA playoffs consists of 16 teams and betting sites give odds on whether a team will make it into the postseason or not.
  • To win division/conference – There are Eastern and Western conferences in the NBA and those are split into three divisions each.

Basketball Betting Tips and Advice

Knowing how to bet is just the tip of the iceberg – now you need to understand what to bet on. Staying disciplined and not just punting randomly are both important factors, along with the tips below.

It must be stressed that this is only general advice as there is no guaranteed way to win all basketball bets you place, but these can still help you out.

  1. Research matchups – You’ve got to know at least a bit about both teams that are playing the game you want to bet on. Statistics are freely available and are open to interpretation, allowing you to draw your own conclusions to justify your bets.
  2. Injuries/rest/absences – Load management in the NBA is prevalent these days, with only a handful of players playing the full schedule in a season. Finding out whether a player is going to play or be rested, especially during busy periods, can be the difference between a winning and losing bet.
  3. Current form/upcoming schedule – The schedule of a team can give you clues as to whether they will share the minutes around the team. If they have a couple of days rest following a game, it’s likely they’ll look to rotate less but if they are on a back-to-back then they may rest up a little.
  4. Line shop – Always try to find the best price for your bet. If your chosen betting site offers a selection at +300 and another one has the exact same line at +325, it makes far more sense to get the best value possible.
  5. Manage bankroll – Only wager money you are comfortable losing. Employ limits for set periods and don’t go beyond them, otherwise you will lose money quickly. As well, don’t be distracted by amounts that other people bet.
  6. Look for value – Value is the concept of you believing that an event is more likely than the odds suggest. Not all value bets will win but theoretically, you will win money in the long run by betting on selections that are more likely than the odds.

Basketball Live Betting

The introduction of in-play betting has created a mass of potential for online sports wagering and basketball betting is no different.

Live betting means you are able to wager as a game is going on, which gives you freedom to watch the fixture and place bets and means you can rely on more than just statistics to influence you.

For instance, say you’re watching LA Lakers vs Utah Jazz and see the Lakers giving up plenty of easy buckets inside – this could lead you to bet the over on Rudy Gobert’s points total as the center thrives on points in the paint.

There are lots of basketball live betting markets to wager on with every NBA and NCAA game available, and in-play betting opens new opportunities compared to pre-game. Major markets for live basketball betting include:

  • Moneyline
  • Run line
  • Total
  • Over/under points
  • Over/under rebounds
  • Over/under assists
  • Over/under steals
  • Over/under blocks
  • Live player matchups (such as most points between Steph Curry and LeBron James)
  • Team to win next quarter

The best sportsbooks for live basketball betting are below and they have all been specifically chosen because they are good at both in-play and basketball wagering, not one or the other.

DraftKings Sportsbook offers an excellent range of markets, usually upwards of 100, although they do lack when it comes to stats which makes it difficult to decide if a bet is worth placing.

Caesars and BetMGM both boast some of the best live basketball odds so you get more money on successful wagers than you would at other sportsbooks. However, they both only offer around 60 live basketball markets so there’s less choice.

How We Rate Basketball Betting Sites

Picking the right betting site for you is not easy given the volume out there, and especially with how enticing the welcome bonuses are.

To save you the time of deciding what factors are important, our expert sports betting team have rated every sportsbook based on a series of strict factors.

  • security
    Security

    This is a key criterion as it is vital that the betting site you choose is licensed. Every sportsbook we recommend has strong security features and is licensed to operate in the US, so you can be sure that your data is safe.

  • promo
    Promotions

    Promotions are always a good bonus for basketball bettors as you can get rewarded for placing bets that you may have done anyway. Basketball promos come in the form of odds boosts, enhanced returns, and money back offers, and can be worth as much as $100.

  • mobile-app
    Mobile apps

    A good phone and tablet app available on both iOS and Android is crucial. Many people prefer to bet on their phones so the sportsbooks we recommend have apps that are easy to navigate and place wagers on.

  • odds quality
    Quality of odds

    The best betting sites have extremely competitive basketball odds and also offer them consistently. Better odds means better returns for your successful bets.

  • NBA
    Markets

    Having a strong range of betting markets for basketball games is important as that gives bettors the most choice for wagers. Being stuck picking from only a handful of markets means you’re missing out on what other sites have to offer.

  • live betting
    Live betting

    Live basketball betting is a must-have for all sportsbooks and the best ones provide both good odds and plenty of markets for in-play. As well, it should be easy to place bets on mobile and only a short delay between placing the bet and it being confirmed.

  • payment-methods
    Payment methods

    Having a variety of deposit and withdrawal methods makes the site appeal to the most potential bettors, with the likes of PayPal, VISA and Play+ particularly common.

Basketball Betting Sites to Avoid

All the US betting sites we recommend are fully licensed and legally allowed to accept bets, but there are some out there you should avoid using.

These sportsbooks are usually based in other countries and although they can take wagers from US bettors, they tend not to have good odds and there is very little that can be done if something goes wrong.

On top of that, unlicensed sportsbooks offer poor bonuses with extremely vague and unfavorable terms, with wagering requirements as high as 50x fairly common.

Most Popular Basketball Leagues and Events

Basketball is the second most-watched sport in the USA behind football, with both NBA and NCAA being incredibly popular all across the nation.

NBA

The NBA is the best basketball league in the world and is constantly on TV due to the sheer number of games, giving you lots of variety to bet on.

Games are played almost every day throughout the season, even on Christmas Day where there are usually five nationally televised fixtures.

Each NBA team plays 82 games during the regular season, with potential for another 28 during the playoffs. That means there are a total of 1,230 regular NBA games available to bet on plus at least 60 in the postseason.

Every sportsbook offers NBA betting, both pre-game and live, with hundreds of markets available. The best part is that sites are always trying to have the best odds because NBA is so popular, which means you can often find value if you search around.

NBA info
nba-info
Year established1946
Number of teams30
Number of games played per team82
Start of regular seasonOctober
End of regular seasonApril
Team with most titlesBoston Celtics, LA Lakers (17 each)
NBA is by far the most popular basketball league so check out our dedicated page about NBA betting. NBA betting sites

NCAA College Basketball

College basketball offers even more games to bet on, with hundreds of colleges having basketball teams that compete in the NCAA. Colleges like Kentucky, University of North Carolina, Duke, and Kansas are amongst the top teams.

March Madness, the informal name for the NCAA Division I Tournament, is one fo the biggest sporting events on the US calendar and sees the best 68 teams face off in a single elimination knockout to become champion.

There are some restrictions on college sports that are imposed by states and you can find out more about those limitations on our NCAA basketball page.

NCAA basketball info
ncaa-basketball-info
Year established1939
Number of teams358
Number of games played per teamUp to 31
Start of regular seasonNovember
End of regular seasonMarch
Team with most titlesUCLA Bruins (11)
Take a look at our dedicated page about the college basketball betting. Click the button to learn more! NCAA betting sites

EuroLeague

EuroLeague is the top European basketball league, with 18 teams from across the continent playing in it each year. Each team plays everyone else twice, once at home and once away, with the top-eight qualifying for the playoffs.

Although not as popular as the NBA or NCAA Basketball the EuroLeague can still provide plenty of betting opportunities and there are plenty of former NBA stars who have played in the league.

Sportsbooks don’t make Euroleague games available for live betting and the market selection is limited to around 20, with no player props to bet on. Many sites also have identical odds on Euroleague action.

Euroleague info
euroleague-info
Year established1957
Number of teams18
Number of games played per team28
Start of regular seasonSeptember
End of regular seasonApril
Team with most titlesReal Madrid (10)

NBL

The National Basketball League (NBL) is the top Oceanic basketball league and comprises of nine teams from Australia and one from New Zealand.

Each team plays 28 regular season games and the top-four qualify for the playoffs, which sees two best-of-three series in the semifinals followed by a best-of-five in the Grand Final.

NBL info
nbl-info
Year established1979
Number of teams10
Number of games played per team28
Start of regular seasonOctober
End of regular seasonMarch
Team with most titlesPerth Wildcats (10)

Conclusion

Basketball is incredibly popular in the US with both NBA and NCAA teams well-supported all over the country. The number of games in both professional and college ball presents bettors with thousands of opportunities for wagering.

Most sportsbooks have good and frequent bonuses for NBA betting with boosted odds and money back promos particularly common, whilst welcome bonuses can be worth up to $2,000 and are eligible for NBA and NCAA basketball.

FAQs

You can bet on points spread, total points, moneyline, or player props. These are the most popular markets but others are available, with some basketball betting sites having hundreds for you to choose from including which player will make the first field goal of the game.

College basketball betting is legal in all states where online sports wagering is allowed, but some states impose restrictions which means you may not be able to bet on player props. You can read more about those restrictions here on our dedicated NCAA page.

Basketball betting is legal in the US. Every state which allows online sports wagering has sportsbooks that accept bets on NBA, NCAA basketball, EuroLeague and other major basketball leagues around the world, giving you a range of choices for wagering.

Moneyline betting is simply wagering on which team will win the game. There are no other conditions or handicaps to be aware of, unlike spread betting which requires the winning team to be victorious by a set number. Many recreational bettors like to bet moneyline on an underdog as it gives better returns than the spread.

Sign up for a legal US betting site and deposit using your chosen payment method, then find the basketball game and market you want to bet on. Decide how much you want to risk on a bet and finally wait for the game to be played to see if you are a winner or not.

+1.5 is the handicap you are giving to a team. This is added to their final total and your bet wins if that total is higher than the opponents’ after the +1.5 handicap has been added. Handicap betting is also known as spread betting.

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