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How to Bet on Basketball

Basketball has become one of the most popular sports to bet on in Canada. To help you understand basketball betting odds, the various types of betting lines, and even share some basketball betting tips to help get you started.

Basketball betting lines

With so many games, there are several ways to bet on basketball games. Let’s look at some of the most popular ways of playing.


A moneyline bet is a bet placed on what team you think will win a game. The catch is that the betting odds and the potential payout aren’t the same for each team. For instance, the team that’s favoured might have a Moneyline of -175, which means you would need to bet $175 in order to profit by $100. Meanwhile, the underdog in that game would have a Moneyline of +150, which means a $100 bet with a profit of $150.

Point Spread

Betting with a Point Spread is a little more complicated than betting on the Moneyline, but is typically a more popular form of betting. In this instance, there is a predetermined Spread assigned to a game. The team that’s favoured must win by more than that number in order to be the winning team against the spread. Meanwhile, the underdog needs to either win the game or lose by fewer points than the Spread in order to be the winning team against the Spread.


For instance, if you bet on a team that’s favoured by 4.5 points, if that team doesn’t win by 5 points or more, you lose your bet. However, if you bet on a team that’s a 4.5-point underdog, even if they don’t win the game, if they lose by 4 points or less, your bet will win.

Over/Under (total points)

With an Over/Under bet, the winner of the game is ignored completely and all that matters is the total number of points scored in the game. If the Over/Under of a basketball game is 227.5 points, bets made in favour of the under win if the two teams combine for 227 points or less, while bets made in favour of the over win if they combine for 228 points or more.


Basketball futures are long-term bets rather than bets involving a single game. Most futures bets involve picking a team to win the Championship, win a Conference Championship, or win a Division Title. The odds for futures bets are typically more lucrative than those for a single game because there are several viable contenders for the Championship or a Division Title, making for longer odds.


It’s also possible to place bets on basketball player futures. For instance, bets can be placed on what player will win league MVP or Rookie of the Year honours, among other award winners. The basketball betting odds for both team and player futures change throughout the course of the season.

Prop bets

Short for proposition bets, prop bets refer to a specific outcome within a game rather than the game itself. In basketball, there are dozens of prop bets available for each game related to how many points, assists, rebounds, or blocks a specific player will have. Often, each player will have an Over/Under for each statistical category. For example, you can place a bet on whether a player will score more or less than 19.5 points in a game.


In addition to player props, there are also game-specific prop bets. These prop bets can cover a wide variety of areas, including the total points of a specific team, the spread in a specific quarter, the winning margin in a specific quarter, and what team will reach a specific point threshold the quickest. There are even prop bets available regarding whether or not the game will go to overtime. When it comes to basketball prop bets, the possibilities are nearly endless.

Parlay bets

A Parlay combines two or more bets into one. The appeal is that two bets combined in a Parlay will pay out more than two individual bets due to the increased odds. The caveat is that if just one bet in a Parlay fails, the entire parlay fails. In other words, the reward is greater but so is the risk.

In-game (live bets)

Just because you don’t place a bet before a game tips off doesn’t mean you can’t place a bet on it. The top sportsbooks offer live betting during basketball games. Just keep in mind that basketball betting lines will change throughout the game depending on how things play out. For instance, if a team began the game as a 3.5-point favourite but leads by 10 points after the first quarter, they will likely be favoured by more than 3.5 points in the live odds.

Basketball betting odds

Before placing a bet on a basketball game, it’s important to know how to read odds, specifically basketball betting odds. For any bet, whether it be a Moneyline, point Spread, Over/Under, Futures, or Prop bet, there will be odds attached that tell you the payout if that bet wins. With basketball odds, there will either be a positive or negative sign in front of the value.


A negative sign implies short odds because that bet will likely win, meaning a lower payout. For instance, odds of -200 mean that you need to bet $200 in order to make a profit of $100.


On the other side, a positive sign implies longer odds, meaning a larger payout if that bet wins. For example, odds of +300 mean that a $100 bet will come with a profit of $300 if that bet wins.

Basketball betting tips & factors to consider

Even if placing basketball bets sounds straightforward, placing winning bets can be a little more complicated. There are several factors to consider before betting on an NBA game.


  • For starters, look at the team form, meaning each team’s record, including their recent record, how they have performed at home and on the road, and how they have performed against strong and weak teams. Also, what is the recent head-to-head record between the two teams playing?
  • It’s also important to consider the strengths and weaknesses of both teams involved. Is one team a good shooting team while the other is a strong rebounding team? Is one team more prone to turnovers than the other? In other words, consider how the strengths and weaknesses of both teams might match up against one another. Along those same lines, coaching can play an important role in the outcome of games. Does one team have a superior coach? Does one team play a certain style that gives it an advantage?
  • With basketball bets, player availability can play a huge role because it’s such a star-driven sport. If a key player is injured, suspended, or being rested, that can swing the outcome of a game. For basketball bets, it’s crucial to check if star players will be playing in a game before placing a bet.
  • Finally, betting on basketball can become easier when you monitor line movements and public betting trends. If the point Spread of a game has moved significantly, it means that a majority of the money on that game is heavily favouring one team. On the one hand, it can be tempting to jump on the bandwagon and bet on that team. However, if the point Spread has changed by several points, it could add value to the team that the public is betting against.

Basketball betting mistakes to avoid

There are several mistakes you want to avoid when making basketball bets. Obviously, ignoring any of the factors listed above can hurt your chances of making smart picks.


At the same time, novice bettors can sometimes get frustrated by a lack of success and start chasing losses, which is making bets after a loss with the idea of making your money back. This type of behaviour can be avoided by setting limits on how much money you bet and how frequently you place bets.


Basketball bettors also make the mistake of not tracking their bets to see if their current strategy is working or if they should change their approach. Finally, the worst mistake you can make is betting with your heart rather than your head. Just because you want a game to go a certain way doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to bet on that result.

How to place basketball bets with theScore Bet

Follow these steps to place basketball bets using theScore Bet Sportsbook and Casino:


  1. Click the “Signup” button on theScore Bet homepage.
  2. Enter basic information about yourself to create an account with theScore Bet.
  3. Once you have signed up and deposited money in your account, navigate to the basketball league or event on which you want to place a bet.
  4. Select the bet you want to place and input how much money you want to bet.

Reasons To Bet With theScore® Bet

There are many reasons to bet with theScore Bet Sportsbook and Casino. These include a reliable support team that’s available 24/7 for any and all mobile betting concerns, a responsibility to maintain player safety and security, as well as a responsibility to uphold regulated betting standards. 


New and existing players can use the promotions page to explore all our Bonus Bet sign-up offers, and other generous bonus opportunities. You can receive Bonus Bets for signing up and many other benefits by choosing the best sports betting app on the Canadian market for you and all of your favourite sports. Download the app today and see what you've been missing in mobile betting with theScore Bet Sportsbook and Casino.

Basketball betting FAQs

Is it legal to bet on basketball in Canada?

Yes, single-game bets became legal in Canada in 2021.

Can I place live bets on basketball games?

Yes, you can place live bets on basketball games after the game has started.

How do I read the odds in basketball betting?

For basketball games, a negative sign in front of a team’s odds generically indicates they are the favourite, while a positive sign can indicate they are the underdog.

Can I bet on college basketball games?

Yes, theScore Bet Sportsbook and Casino accepts bets on college basketball games.

What is the difference between professional and college basketball betting?

The process of betting on professional and college basketball games is similar. However, there are far more college basketball games than professional games each year. Also, college games are shorter, which can impact the betting odds.

Can I bet on basketball games on my mobile device?

Yes, theScore Bet Sportsbook and Casino allows you to track your bets on a smartphone, tablet, and other mobile devices.

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