Looking to get into a little bit of sports betting? Based on the numbers, odds are pretty good that basketball is going to be the sport you bet on. Bookmakers have the numbers to back up the claim that basketball is second only to football in the United States when it comes to the amount of money wagered each year. In fact, the major amateur March Madness tournament each year is the second highest grossing sports event for bookmakers in all of sports (Super Bowl is the first).
There is a lot of money to be made wagering on basketball, whether or college or pro, but in order to stand a chance of breaking even you have to know what you are doing first. This article is a guide for those just starting out in the basketball betting world.
Like football, basketball scores are typically very high because of the scoring system. This means that betting the spread in basketball is the most popular way to wager.
On a spread bet, the person placing the wager wins if their team “covers” the spread. This means that the team either wins by the number of points specified, or loses by less than the number of points specified. Here’s a look.
San Antonio Spurs -8
New York Knicks +8
Betting on the Spurs to cover the spread means that they have to win by more than eight points to collect. If they win by exactly 8 points, it is a “push”. Your bet will be returned, but you will not win any extra money. If the Spurs win by only 7 points, they win the game but fail to cover the spread. In that case, you lose the money you wagered and those who bet on the Knicks collect.
Betting on point spreads can be a little bit tricky, so those new to sports betting might favor the money line instead. This is a bet on a team to win the game outright, and it does not matter how many points they win by.
In a money line bet, more money must be placed on the favorite team. As an example, in order to win $100 on a favorite, you would have to bet $120. On the other hand, if you wanted to bet on the underdog, you stand to win more money. For every $100 you bet on an underdog, you could win $130. Let’s take a look at how this would appear on “the books”:
San Antonio Spurs -120
New York Knicks +130
The favorite is always indicated by a minus sign, whether betting the spread or the line.
Finding good value
As we mentioned at the beginning, both pro and college hoops are popular with those who like sports betting. In order to come out of the season, or the tournament, as a winner, it’s important to find bets that are good value.
Good value bets are those that require you to wager the least amount of money for the highest returns. Therefore, many people prefer betting on college hoops over pros. Professional leagues usually have teams that are widely different in terms of skill level, and that’s reflected in the odds.
On the other hand, college teams are generally closer in terms of skill. That means bookmakers will set lines and spreads closer, and that is to the advantage of the person betting on the game.
Also, keep in mind that the more knowledge you have, the higher your chances of winning are. Before you place a bet, see what is going on in the game as far as lineups and even referees by checking the Internet and various sports channels.