How to Bet NBA & College Basketball — Basketball Betting Explained
Single Bet (or Side)
The single bet option is done with a point spread. Sports books determine a favorite and an underdog, then assigns each one with a point total. The bettor then wagers on which team he or she thinks will cover the spread.
In the above example, Boston is a -7.5 point favorite, while Detroit is considered a +7.5 point underdog. The number (the point spread) signifies how much is to be added or subtracted from that teams’ point total at the conclusion of the game.
If Kaitlyn bets on Boston, they would have to defeat Detroit by a total of 8 points in order for her to win the bet. If she bets on Detroit, they would have to win outright or lose by no less than 7 points.
Total (or Over/Under Bet)
In a total bet, the sports books decide on how many combined points two teams will score in a given game. The bettor then wagers on whether or not he or she thinks the combined number of points by each team will go over or under the total that the sports books gave.
Miami -9 Over/Under 215
In the above example, Ian believes neither team will score many points, so he places a wager on the under. If the combined score of both Miami and Orlando doesn’t total over 215, Ian wins the bet.
In a money line wager, the better is only concerned with who he or she thinks will win the game. There is no point spread, but a favorite and underdog is still determined by the sports books and indicated by two separate odds.
San Antonio +135
In the above example, Dallas is favored to win over San Antonio. The numbers provided are odds that the sports books determine before the game.
If Samantha wagers on Dallas, she must risk $150 to win $100 (or $75 to win $50; $37.50 to win $25, etc). If she wants to wager on San Antonio, she only has to risk $74.07 to win $100 (or $37.04 to win $50; $18.52 to win $25, etc). For Samantha to win all the team has to do is win – it doesn’t matter by how much – and she be paid according to those odds.
A teaser gives the bettor an opportunity to add or subtract 4 points from the point spread or total. The catch is that two separate spreads or totals have to be wagered in the same bet in order to use the 4 points. The spreads or totals can either be two teams, two over/under totals, or a combination of the two. On top of that, both must win in order to collect a profit.
Tommy wants to wager on Seattle and New York. In a teaser, he’s awarded 4 points to use on each team, making Seattle a -1 point spread favorite and New York a +16.5 point spread underdog. In order to win the bet, however, Tommy needs both Seattle and New York to cover their respective spreads.
Unlike a teaser which awards a bettor 4 points, the reverse teaser subtracts 7 points from the spread in exchange for a bigger payoff.
Mississippi State –2.5
Rebecca thinks Clemson is going to cruise against Mississippi State, so she sacrifices giving up 5.5 points for a bigger payoff.
A parlay wager is similar to a teaser in that a bettor has to bet on at least two separate odds, but is not awarded six points to either add or subtract from the point spread or total. As with a teaser, the two separate odds can either be two teams, two totals, or a combination of the two. Both bets must be won in order for the bettor to make a profit.
North Carolina State –23 O/U 115
Georgetown –3 O/U 100
Rob likes North Carolina State and Maryland, so he parlays NC State –23 and Maryland +3. If either team is defeated or doesn’t cover the point spread, he loses the parlay.
In another example, Rob likes Georgetown and the over 100 in its game with Maryland. In order for him to win the parlay, Georgetown must cover and the combined points in its game with Maryland can’t total over 100.
Why a Parlay Over a Teaser?
While a teaser bet is more attractive to a bettor because he or she gets to add or subtract 6 points from the point spread, a winning parlay pays more. A parlay is a riskier bet, but the same $25 wager on a parlay will pay more than on a $25 teaser.
A future bet is made before the end of the regular season or playoffs, and consists of a bettor wagering on the odds of a team winning their conference or the March Madness tournament. The more likely the chance of a team winning the March Madness or its conference, the worse the payout is for the bettor. Conversely, if the team is a long shot to win March Madness or its conference, then the bigger the payout is for the bettor.
Odds to win March Madness:
In the above example, North Carolina is considered as the most likely to win the March Madness tournament at 1/1 odds. Michigan is considered the least likely to win the March Madness tournament and therefore its odds are set at 1000/1.
Ann wants to bet on North Carolina to win the March Madness tournament. For every $1 she bets, she’ll win $1. So if he bets $100 on North Carolina at 1/1 odds and they win, she’ll win $100. If she bets $100 on Michigan at 1000/1 odds and they win the March Madness tournament, she’ll win $ 100,000.
Proposition Bets (or Props)
Prop bets are similar to future bets, but instead of wagering on the future of a team, the wager is made on individual players or game scenarios. Sports books will describe a scenario and place odds on that scenario actually happening.
Will Kobe Bryant Score 70 points in any game this season?
Karen believes Bryant will score 70 points in a game this season. For every $350 she bets, she’ll win $100. Conversely, if Mike doesn’t believe Bryant will score 70 points in a game this season, for every $100 he bets, he’ll win $500.
An If Bet allows a bettor to link two or more individual wagers together, but the second bet isn’t wagered if the first isn’t won. In other words, if the bettor loses the first wager, then the sports book doesn’t place the second bet.
Lisa likes Notre Dame -3 and Army +7, so she places a $10 If Bet. If Notre Dame covers the 3 points, then the sports book places $20 on Army. If Notre Dame loses or doesn’t cover, the sports book doesn’t proceed with the next bet and Lisa only loses her original $10.
A Round Robin wager is a way to make multiple parlay bets. A three-team Round Robin consists of one three-team parlay and two, two-team parlays.
Frank likes Kentucky, USC and Washington and wants to wager on a three-team Round Robin. So Frank bets on Kentucky, USC and Washington in the three-team parlay, as well as Kentucky and USC in one of the two-team parlays, and the Kentucky and Washington in the other parlay.