Guide to Basketball Betting

Introduction to Basketball

James Naismith was a physical training instructor at the International Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and invented basketball in 1891. During the first game, Naismith used two half-bushel peach baskets for the goals, and that’s where the sport’s name originated.

Naismith’s students were excited to play this new game. After continuously running and shooting, a student named William R. Chase landed a midcourt shot, the only shot in that first historical game.

News of the game spread like wildfire, and many associations requested Naismith to send them a copy of the rules. It was eventually published in the January 15th, 1892 issue of the YMCA Training School’s paper, the Triangle. Today, basketball remains the only major sport strictly of US origin.

While basketball is a winter sport, people from all over participate in the sport all year round. Typically in municipal, industrial, summer playgrounds, schoolyards, church halls, summer camps, and other private properties, often informally with two or more contestants.

Most recreation and rehabilitation centres like grammar schools and other organizations offer basketball programs to kids before attending high school.

Years after its establishment, player numbers changed according to the class size and the court. Teams played five per side in 1894 when the playing area was less than 1,800 square feet. The number rose to seven when the court space measured from 1,800 to 3,600 square feet and up to nine players when it outstripped that.


Main Rules

Basketball rules can be slightly different when you look at various forms of play; for example, professional rules will differ from college rules. USA rules will vary from international ones. These changes, however, are just in the basic gameplay and the majority of these guidelines are the same.

The team with the most points at the end of the game is the winner, and they get points by throwing the ball into the challenger’s basket or hoop. In the traditional play, scoring from within the three-point line is worth two points and shooting from outside the three-point line is worth three points. Shooting a free throw is worth one point each time.


Offensive Rules

The team with the basketball is the team on offence, and players with the ball should follow a specific set of rules:

The ball must be dribbled or bounced with one hand while the player moves both feet. If the player stops the dribble or both hands touch the ball, only one foot can move. The stationary foot is known as the pivot foot.

A player only gets one round at dribbling; once the dribbling stops, they can’t start again. If a player begins to dribble again, they’ll receive a double-dribbling violation, and the other team gets the ball.

The ball always stays in bounds; when the offensive team causes the ball to go out of bounds, the other team gets it.

A player’s hand has to stay on top of the ball while dribbling. If they touch the bottom of the ball, it’s called carrying the ball, and the other team gets possession.

The team on offence can’t return to the backcourt if they’ve crossed the half-court; rules describe this action as a backcourt violation. The offensive team can only get the ball back legally if the defensive team hits the ball into the backcourt.

Defensive Rules

The team without the basketball is the one on defence. The primary rule is for the defensive team not to foul.

A foul occurs when the defensive team gains an unfair advantage through physical contact. The referee has to make the final interpretation, but ordinarily, a player on defence should not touch a player on offence in a way that obstructs his ability to take the shot or causes him to lose the ball.

General Rules

Basketball regulation describes the foul rule as a defensive rule, but it applies to both teams when the game is in play. Players are not allowed to hit the ball with their fists or kick the ball. No player may touch the ball while the ball moves downwards into the hoop or when it’s already on the rim. These actions are known as goaltending. Each player on the court is prone to the same rules despite being on different teams. All players’ positions are for basketball team strategy, and there are no positions in the rules.

Player Positions

Although there can only be five players on the court, basketball teams usually consist of many members. The five players have assigned positions such as shooting guard, point guard, centre, power forward, and small forward.

Shooting guard

Typically the team’s ace shooter, this player is an excellent dribbler and can shoot long-distance shots.

Point guard

The player that takes care of the offence, generally the team’s best dribbler and passer. Defends the team’s point guard and tries to steal the ball from opponents.


The tallest player on each team that stays near the hoop. The centre must try to score on close shots and rebounds when on the offence. On defence, the player blocks competitor shots and rebounds their misses.

Power forward

Similar to the centre, the power forward stays near the hoop, defends the taller players and rebounds. Power forwards also take longer shots.

Small forward

Challenges small and tall competitors, moving across the whole court to throw long and close shots.

Main Basketball Competitions

Basketball bets

Basketball originated in the United States; however, today, we have a few international basketball competitions that countries worldwide can participate in.

  • FIBA World Cup
    FIBA is the international governing body for basketball, and every four years, different countries can compete for the World Champions title. All teams except for the host are required to qualify. Both men and women can compete, but FIBA holds the events at two different locations.
  • National Basket Association
    Also known as the NBA, you don’t have to be American to know about this famous competition. It’s the premier basketball competition in the world due to the nature of the contest. Playoffs occur at the end of an 82 game season, where all players compete in the best-of-sevens elimination tournament, held between 16 games. Young athletes train with determination and aspire to reach the NBA. The association pays its players the most money, with an average salary of $7 million.
  • Olympic Basketball Tournament
    Due to its wide variety of sport selections, the Olympics is globally famous and revered. There are men and women basketball competitions at the Olympics, and for Americans, it’s bigger than the FIBA World Cup.
  • The EuroLeague
    This tournament is the basketball equivalent of the UEFA Champions League, a prestigious soccer event between European countries. Teams have to win their national championships to qualify for the EuroLeague, meaning that only the top teams compete against each other. This competition is for teams to hone their skills and practice for the FIBA World Cup or the Olympics.

Where to Bet on Basketball

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For punters interested in these types of bets, there are various international bookmakers for basketball betting you can use. All bookies should have basketball betting lines explained and betting odds listed. Take a look at leading sportsbooks that offer the best opportunities for bettors and who may provide a generous welcome bonus.

How NBA Betting Works

Millions of people enjoy watching basketball, and it’s currently the most popular sport to bet on. Sportsbooks offer players a vast range of betting types and markets with incredible basketball betting odds that they can use to bet on NBA games.

The National Basketball Association is the most distinguished basketball league, which began in 1946 with 11 teams. Today, it has grown to epic proportions, with 30 teams across North America playing 82 games per season: 41 home games and 41 away games.

The games played over seven months give us many opportunities to enjoy betting. If the NBA is not enough, there’s always NCAA basketball betting for bettors interested in college ball.

NBA Conferences and Divisions

The NBA has two conferences; the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference. Both sides consist of 15 teams arranged into three divisions.

Jazz (Northwest)42-1576ers (Atlantic)39-17
Suns (Pacific)40-16Nets (Atlantic)38-19
Clippers (Pacific)40-19Bucks (Central)35-21
Nuggets (Northwest)36-20Hawks (Southeast)31-26
Lakers (Pacific)35-22Celtics (Atlantic)31-26
Trail Blazers (Northwest)32-24Knicks (Atlantic)31-27
Mavericks (Southwest)30-26Heat (Southeast)29-28
Grizzlies (Southwest)29-26Hornets (Southeast)28-28
Warriors (Pacific)28-29Pacers (Central)26-30
Spurs (Southwest)27-28Raptors (Atlantic)24-34
Pelicans (Southwest)25-32Bulls (Central)23-33
Kings (Pacific)23-34Wizards (Southeast)23-33
Thunder (Northwest)20-37Cavaliers (Central)20-36

The best sports betting sites provide different ways you can wager on basketball. These markets for basketball betting usually come in the form of:

  • Spread betting in basketball
  • Betting on basketball underdogs
  • Betting on popular basketball teams
  • Betting on basketball totals

Schedule of Play

To keep updated with the latest NBA news and schedules, you can check out various NBA official sites and sports channels such as ESPN, CBS, TNT, ABC, and NBA TV. This way, you can keep track of all relevant data and NBA basketball betting tips.


NBA Play-offs

NBA playoffs officially start on May 22nd, with play-in tournaments starting on the 18th, and bettors can prepare themselves for lots of possible wins. The following NBA basketball betting tips will make you a veteran bettor and help you develop the most proficient betting strategy.

Basketball Betting Tips
  • Only bet if there is value
    Successful NBA basketball betting depends on whether you can identify betting value. Wagering with no concern for value or value betting is just going to cost you money.
  • Be open to learning
    Knowing the leagues and terms won’t make you an expert in betting. Understanding betting markets can mean a win or loss.
  • Gain a deeper understanding of NBA betting markets
    Take your league and basketball knowledge and adjust it for related NBA markets. This action takes time and practice, so don’t rush. In the end, you’ll equip yourself with newfound betting knowledge and how to identify betting values.
  • Bet on NBA teams you’re familiar with
    If it’s your first time, start by betting on the teams or divisions you know. The best way to steadily test yourself and learn is to bet on what you’re familiar with and not the whole league.
  • Bet on markets you know
    The most famous basketball betting markets include: Point spreads – these include the handicaps, betting lines bets | Moneylines – consists of the match-winner, head to head markets | Point totals – these are termed over, under bets. Although the markets mentioned above are the most well-known and easily understood, there are many other markets from the NBA season to choose from.
  • Employ healthy money management
    Applying consistent money responsibility and staking strategy is as crucial as finding betting value. It’s essential that you monitor your balance and how much you spend on each bet.
  • Record your NBA betting
    Keep a record of the dates, bet type, bet details, sportsbook sites, your stakes, odds, profits or losses, and any other important information. Accurately assess NBA team performance. You need to keep track of your team’s performance and potential. If you become adept at this, your betting may become lucrative in the long term.
  • Keep track of the NBA schedule
    Situational analysis is when people bet on how NBA players might perform in different conditions. These may fall under how they perform after a long trip or how they fare with back-to-back games.
  • Follow NBA tips
    Following tipsters is an excellent way to keep yourself in the loop with lucrative information with little effort. Having access to sites that offer NBA basketball betting tips is a favourable way to possibly increase your bankroll.

Basketball Facts and History

Basketball bets

Before all the fuss of the NBA and Olympics tournaments, basketball was a humble yet competitive sport created by James Naismith in 1891. Now, it’s filled with grit, endurance, impressive skills, and team spirit.

People used to play the game with a soccer ball, and the hoops were peach baskets. They only introduced string baskets in the 1900s, and they later attached backboards.

Players could never advance the ball as dribbling wasn’t allowed, so they took shots from where they stood. The first dribble recorded happened at Yale in 1897.

The early referees used to wear watches because one of their official duties was timekeeping. The game was also much shorter as creator James Naismith introduced two 15 minute halves with a five-minute break in between.


As one of the United States’ favourite sports, basketball has been around for a very long time and has garnered quite the fan club. People worldwide celebrate the hoop shooting sport and follow their favourite teams.

On the other hand, basketball wagering is notorious, and most bettors participate in the lucrative activity. From college basketball betting to the NBA, there are various markets and leagues people can bet on.

Bettors can familiarize themselves with the best odds, betting values, strategies, leading tipsters, and top basketball betting sites to ensure they have the most profitable experience.


How to bet on basketball?

Visit a trustworthy sportsbook to bet on several basketball betting markets with fantastic odds.

What’s Spread betting?

Known as Line Betting, Spread betting is when there’s a margin of 50/50 per side, and you have to bet on which side of the margin the game will end.

What does moneyline mean in basketball betting?

Moneyline betting is a simple head-to-head bet on which side you think will win the game.

What bets are the most successful in basketball?

The most successful bets are value bets, and your ability to find them may be highly profitable in the long term.

In basketball betting, what does 2.5 mean?

2.5 describes an over-under bet, also known as point totals. The bookie sets a margin for the total number of points in the game, and you have to decide whether it’ll be more or less than the margin set.

Elica Martinova
Betting expert
Certified Betting Expert
Elica Martinova
Ellie is in charge of writing, editing, and publishing reviews in Bulgarian, English, and German. She has a long track record as a journalist and is passionate about writing. Also, she is quite experienced when it comes to bookmakers as well.