Basketball Betting Tips

Basketball is a sport played by hundreds of people all over the world, particularly in the United States, where it’s arguably the most popular. Many people enjoy betting on basketball, but the rules of the game, the betting possibilities, and the number of websites offering sports betting can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve put together this basketball betting tips guide, where you can learn how basketball betting works, read up on some basketball betting tips, check up on the rules of basketball, and find the best websites for betting on the sport. It’s all here, just keep on reading.

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Basketball: What You Need To Know

Basketball is a team sport where two teams of five players compete on a basketball court to shoot balls through the opposing teams’ hoop. The sport dates back to 1891 when James Naismith, a professor and instructor at the Young Men’s Christian Association Training School in Springfield, Massachusetts, created a rudimentary version of the game after wanting to create an activity to keep his students fit throughout winter. The first official game of basketball was played on January 21, 1892, in Albany, New York. The game was played with nine players and ended with a score of 1-0.

Naismith’s version of basketball was played with a football, and the basket used had a closed bottom, so players had to manually retrieve the ball. The game wasn’t named until 1892 when a player from the first game asked Naismith about its name and suggested calling it “Naismith Ball”. Dribbling, a major part of basketball, wasn’t part of the original game and wasn’t common until 1896, and peach baskets without a bottom were used until the early 1900s, when they were replaced by metal hoops. The number of players was eventually reduced to five in the late 1990s, and the first specially made basketball wasn’t made until around the 1950s.

The game was spread across the United States and Canada by the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) but was eventually discouraged due to “rough play” and “rowdy crowds”. The sport was then picked up by sports clubs and colleges, and the first professional league, the National Basketball League, was formed. By the 1900s, basketball had become a popular sport, and the National Basketball Association (Founded in 1946) merged with various other organisations, including the National Basketball League and American Basketball League. Today, the NBA remains the top professional basketball league in the world.

Basketball continues to be popular in the USA today and its managed to spread overseas. The sport is governed by the International Basketball Federation (FIBA), the organisation responsible for defining the rules and specifying the equipment required for the game, and for organising competitions internationally.

The Basics Of Basketball

In basketball, the aim of the game is to score more than the opposing team to win. The game is played on a basketball court, and players can only score points by shooting the ball through an elevated hoop. The court is split into two sections by what’s called a mid-court line, and the game begins with a referee throwing the ball into the air at the centre circle with a player from each team attempting to bat the ball away.

Basketball players have 10 seconds to get the ball over the mid-court line after winning possession of the ball from the opposing team. As set out in the original rules by James Naismith, players cannot run with the basketball and must move by dribbling the ball or passing it to other players. Players are also required to either pass the ball or shoot for a goal after placing two hands on the ball after catching it. Depending on where a player is on the court when scoring will determine how many points are won, but more on that later.

As mentioned, the original game of basketball featured nine players, but the official rules of basketball state that only allow five players per team can be on the court, although a team can be comprised of 12 total players. If the team breaks this rule at any time, they lose possession of the ball. There are five main player positions in basketball – although some can be combined – and they include:

  • Point Guard: Point Guards are usually the shortest players on the team and the leaders. They’re usually the best at dribbling and passing the ball and are responsible for moving the ball down the court.
  • Shooting Guard: Like Point Guards, Shooting Guards are great at moving across the basketball court and are usually the best at making shots around the three-point line.
  • Small Forward: Small Forwards are some of the best players at making shots around the three-point line or near the wings and corners of the basketball court.
  • Power Forward: Power Forwards are players that are great at dribbling and usually make shots within the three-point line.
  • Centre: Centres are usually the tallest players on the team and are responsible for jumping at the centre circle to take possession of the ball.

Basketball games consist of four 10-minute quarters along with a 15-minute break at half-time and two-minute breaks between the first and second and third and fourth quarters. At the end of the match, the team that has scored the most points within the allocated time is declared the winner.

Fouls And Violations

Like with most other sports, basketball has fouls and violations which players can commit throughout a match. Committing a foul results in free throws or loss of ball possession, while committing a violation will result in a change of possession. There are personal fouls that include illegal physical contact such as hitting and pushing or when a player attempts to block another by sticking a limb out. Other fouls include:

  • Flagrant: A flagrant foul is given when a player makes violent physical contact with an opposing player, including hitting or kicking.
  • Technical: A technical foul is given to a player or coach for using foul or obscene language, making offensive gestures, and arguing.
  • Shooting: A shooting foul is given when a defensive player makes physical contact with the shooter while they’re trying to shoot the ball.
  • Charging: A charging foul is given when a player pushes or runs over a defensive player.
  • Holding: A holding foul is given when a player grabs or holds an opponent and stops them from moving on the court.
  • Blocking: A blocking foul is given when a defensive player fails to properly position themselves and makes physical contact with an offensive player.

In addition to fouls, basketball players can also make violations, which can include:

  • Walking: Walking with the ball without dribbling.
  • Carrying: Dribbling the ball with a hand too far to the side or under the ball.
  • Double Dribble: Using two hands to dribble the ball or stopping with the ball and then dribbling again.
  • Held Ball: When two players gain possession of the ball and fight for it.
  • Backcourt: When an offensive player takes the ball over the half-court line and then retreats back over it.

There are also numerous time violations that require basketball players to complete certain tasks within a specific set of time. Committing a violation leads to a loss in the ball’s possession. For example, the three-second violation is given when offensive players stand in the key for more than three seconds, the five-second inbound violation is given when a player fails to inbound the basketball within five seconds after being handed it by a referee, and the five-second offensive violation is given when an offensive player fails to pass, shoot or dribble the ball within five seconds.

The fouls committed by a player or coach throughout a game is recorded, and once a team, player or coach have exceeded a maximum amount, usually between five and seven, committing fouls immediately result in free throws for the opposing team. These free throws are awarded as either one and one throws, where the player must make the first attempt before trying the second, or two shot throws where the player can make both throws.

The Court

We’ve already explained that the basketball court is split into sections by the centre circle and mid-court line. However, there’s much more to basketball courts than just that, and it’s important to understand the terminology for the main areas of basketball courts if you’re looking to place bets.

  • Sidelines: The two boundaries running the entire length of the court.
  • Baseline/Endline: The boundaries that run the entire width of the court.
  • Mid-Court Line: The line that divides the court into two sections.
  • Centre Circle: A circle located at the centre of the court on the Mid-Court Line that is used to start a game of basketball.
  • Three-Point Line: Lines that curve across the court at each end to mark the basketball hoop.
  • Free Throw Circle: A circle located at the tip of the three-point line where players make free throws.
  • Free Throw Line: A line within the Free Throw Circle that acts as the boundary for shooting free throws.
  • Lane Line: Lines that extend from the Free Throw Line to the Baseline/Endline.

In addition to the main sections of a basketball court explained above, there are additional areas within a court that you should try to learn, and they include:

  • Perimeter: The areas located outside of the Free Throw Lane and inside the Three-Point Line.
  • Low Post/Block: The areas closest to the basketball hoop but located outside of the Free Throw Lane.
  • High Post/Elbow: The area where the Free Throw Line meets the Lane Line.
  • Key: The painted area surrounding the basketball hoop on either side of the court.
  • Corner: Each of the four corners of the basketball court where players can shoot from.
  • Short Corner: The area beside the Corners but within the Three-Point Line.
  • Wing: The area located above or below the Corner and outside the Three-Point Line.
  • Restricted Area: A semicircle in front of the basketball hoop where players are protected from defenders.

It’s a lot to memorise, but learning the different areas and terminology for said areas of a basketball court may help you when it comes to placing basketball bets.


In basketball, points are only scored when a player manages to throw the ball into the basketball net. There are different ways a player can make a shot, with the most common being slam drunks, three-pointers, layups, and jump shots. What’s more, the type of shot made and the player’s distance from the basket will influence how many points are awarded. There are two main types of points that can be won, and they include:

  • Two-Point: Players can score a two-point basket by making a shot from within the Three-Point Line.
  • Three-Point: Players can score a three-point basket by making a shot from outside the Three-Point Line.

In addition to the above, free throws can be used to score points too. As we’ve discussed earlier, these points are scored when a player is given a foul while shooting the ball.

Basketball Competitions

Basketball as a sport has become so popular that there are now numerous professional basketball competitions, which see professional players and teams compete amongst each other. The most famous is the NBA, but there are dozens of other important leagues which feature dozens of talented players. If you’d like to know more about some of the biggest basketball leagues, most of which you can bet on, keep on reading.


As mentioned, the NBA (National Basketball Association) is arguably the most famous basketball league around. Based in North America, the league features 29 US teams and one Canadian team that compete across 82 games, and then 16 of the 30 teams play against each other in the NBA Playoffs, and the two top teams compete in the NBA Finals to win the Larry O’Brien NBA Championship Trophy. The NBA is the biggest basketball league, and it’s entirely possible to wager on the event and its games, even if you’re in the UK. Find out more by checking our NBA betting guide here.


The WNBA (Women’s National Basketball Association) is a women’s professional basketball league that takes place in the United States. The league, which currently consists of 12 teams, generally starts in May, with the WNBA Finals usually taking place in September or October. The WNBA follows a similar format to the NBAs, with the winning team claiming the WNBA championship trophy.

NBA G League

The NBA G League or G League, formerly NBA D League, is the NBA’s official minor league, which originally consisted of eight teams but was boosted to 15 teams in 2005, and now consists of 29 teams, 28 of which are affiliated or owned by an NBA team.

FIBA Basketball World Cup

The FIBA Basketball World Cup or the FIBA World Cup is an international basketball competition that takes every four years. The competition, which is similar to the FIFA World Cup, sees 32 senior FIBA men’s national teams compete against each other for the title championship at venues within the host’s country. The FIBA Basketball World Cup is considered to be the flagship event of FIBA (International Basketball Federation).

FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup

FIBA Women’s Basketball World Cup or FIBA Women’s World Cup is the female equivalent of the FIBA World Cup. The event takes place every four years and usually involves 16 different teams, although the upcoming 2022 event in Australia will only include 12 teams.

European Basketball Championship (EuroBasket)

The European Basketball Championship or EuroBasket is an international basketball competition that takes place every four years. Like the FIBA World Cup, 24 senior men’s national teams initially took part in the competition and competed to win the title championship, but this was changed to 16 teams. Eight of the 16 teams are determined by the country hosting the competition, and the remaining seven are the top seven teams from the previous competition. There is a women’s variation of the competition that is known as EuroBasket Women.

There are numerous other basketball competitions that take place worldwide, but the six we’ve mentioned above are the most popular around and likely the best for you to wager on.

College Basketball Betting & NCAA Basketball Betting: What Are They?

College basketball is pretty self-explanatory. It’s essentially basketball games played between college or university teams, with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) being the most popular league. When compared to the NBA, the NCAA is different as it’s comprised of two conferences and usually has more teams. The games are split into two halves rather than quarters, and the Three-Point Line is set further back on the basketball court.

Similarly to betting on other basketball competitions, you can enjoy college basketball betting and NCAA basketball betting, which both work in the same as traditional basketball betting; you have to register with a sportsbook offering college basketball betting, verify your account, make a deposit, and then place your wager. All of the bets available with traditional basketball games are available with college basketball betting. Like with traditional basketball betting, we suggest you take a look at our suggested betting sites for bookmakers that may allow college basketball betting and NCAA basketball betting.

The Basics Of Basketball Betting

Betting on basketball works just like betting on other sports. To place a bet, you’ll first have to find a sports betting website that offers basketball and provides you with the best possible odds. Once you’ve done that, you simply need to find an event you want to wager on, select the outcome you want to bet on, enter how much you want to bet, and then confirm the wager. It’s that simple!

However, before registering with a sports betting website, you’re going to need to check whether the website is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission or not. If you’re in the United Kingdom, you should only play at a site licensed by the UKGC as it will ensure you’re kept protected and are offered safe and fair games. If you’re not based in the UK, you’ll need to check whether the website is licensed by your national regulator, just to ensure your safety and security.

Popular Bets On Basketball

Depending on the betting website and the event, you will usually have a similar selection of basketball bets available to wager on. The most common types of basketball bets include the following:

  • Moneyline: Betting on which team you believe will win a game or a competition.
  • Basketball Spread Betting: Basketball spread betting on either the bookmaker’s underdog or favourite listed by ‘-‘ or ‘+’ symbols.
  • Over/Under: Betting on whether the total number of points scored by a team or both teams will be over or under the bookmaker’s prediction.
  • Parlays: Placing two or more individual bets and then combining them into one single bet for potentially larger wins. You can win and lose any of the bets made with a Parlay.
  • Teasers: Placing multiple bets as a single bet like Parlays. However, to win Teaser bets, you’ll need to win each individual bet. If you lose any of the bets, you lose the entire bet.
  • Propositions: These bets are anything that you can’t bet on in the above categories. They include betting on whether any fouls will be given, how many points will be scored, and plenty more.

Some betting websites may offer additional betting opportunities, but the above wagering options are the most commonly available. If you go to place any of these bets, make sure you’ve researched the teams and their abilities enough to be confident in your betting.

Best Basketball Betting Sites

There are dozens of unique betting websites that all offer you the opportunity to place bets on basketball games. As we’ve already mentioned, it’s important that you only register with a website that is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission as it will ensure your safety. Since there are so many basketball betting sites, it’s time-consuming to filter through each and find out which are licensed and safe to play at. That’s why we’ve compiled a list of our top recommended best basketball betting sites, which you can check out below:


Bet365 Basketball Betting

Bet365 is an online casino licensed by the UK Gambling Commission and one of the best basketball betting sites. It offers basketball betting, as well as opportunities to bet on numerous other sports, including horse racing, golf, tennis, American football, traditional football, and more. It also offers a range of promotions for new and long-term players, which is great for anyone who likes to stay loyal to their betting websites. If you’d like to discover more, read our Bet365 review.

Betway Sports

Betway Basketball Betting

Betway Sports is another sports betting website that allows you to wager on basketball and other sports like F1. Alongside that, the website allows you to enjoy other gambling content, including live casino titles as well as traditional online casino games like video slots, table games, and plenty more. All of this content will help keep you busy for a long period of time, preventing you from getting bored easily. More details on all of this can be found in our Betway Sports review.

Mansion Bet

MansionBet Basketball Betting

Mansion Bet is one of the most popular online betting websites available in the United Kingdom and arguably one of the best basketball betting sites. The website has a famous casino site, and it provides you with opportunities to bet on numerous sports, including basketball, boxing, and more. If that isn’t enough, the website accepts a variety of payment options, including PayPal, that allows you to freely select your preferred methods. Our Mansion Bet review has more details.

Virgin Bet

Virgin Bet Basketball Betting

Virgin Bet is an online sports betting website that is based on the Virgin Media brand and one of our best basketball betting sites. The website offers a generous welcome promotion alongside numerous other promotions for both its sports betting and traditional online gambling activities. You can enjoy everything from wagering on basketball and other sports like golf to playing some of the most popular online slots and table games. There’s plenty to choose from at Virgin Bet, and you can read all about it in our Virgin Bet review.

William Hill

William Hill Basketball Betting

Our final best basketball betting sites recommendation is William Hill, the UK’s biggest brick-and-mortar and online bookmaker. You can wager on basketball, greyhound racing, television shows, cricket, boxing, darts, eSports, baseball, snooker, as well as traditional online casino games. There are also numerous promotions available, and the website accepts most major payment methods, giving you complete freedom over all of your gambling entertainment. Check out our William Hill review for more information on everything the website offers.

The above best basketball betting sites aren’t the only ones offering basketball betting opportunities, but we believe that they’re some of the best around. All of the websites are licensed by the UK Gambling Commission, which means they’re completely safe for you to play at, and provides you with plenty of gambling opportunities to keep you busy for a long time. If you aren’t interested in any of the websites we’ve mentioned above, it may be a good idea to take a look at our expanded sports betting guide for more recommendations.

What Should I Look For In A Basketball Betting Site?

If you’re determined to look for your own betting site, there are several factors you’ll need to look into before signing up with a website. It’s important you read through each of these factors and look into them when researching different gambling websites. They include:

  • Licensing: We’ll reiterate that one of the first things you do when researching a gambling website is to check its licensing. Ensure that the website is licensed by the UK Gambling Commission or your local gambling regulator to ensure your safety and security.
  • Gambling: Check what gambling activities are available. What sports can you wager on, and are there any traditional online casino games or live casino content? If so, what games are available, and how often are they updated? Checking this will help you work out the longevity of the website.
  • Promotions: Check what promotions are available on the website. Are there any welcome bonuses for sports and casino gaming? And does the website offer long-term promotions too?  It’s also worth checking out whether the site runs a loyalty scheme, giving you rewards for long-term play.
  • Payments: Since you’ll be depositing and withdrawing money on a regular basis, it’s important to take a look at which payment methods are accepted, whether any fees are charged, and how long withdrawals take.
  • Customer Support: Finally, it’s important to research the customer support services available with a website just in case you encounter an issue. Check whether the site operates a live chat service and offers email or phone contact. The more options the better, and you should check when the customer support services are open and available.

Researching each of the above factors will help you find the best basketball betting website of your own personal choice. However, doing so will be a time-consuming task, which is why we suggest you take on our recommendations of the best basketball betting sites.

Our Basketball Betting Tips

If you’re determined to bet on basketball, we’ve put together a list of basketball betting tips that we believe may help make the process of placing bets easier and help you have more fun. These basketball betting tips won’t guarantee you a win, but they’re some best practices that can make basketball betting overall more enjoyable.

#1: Research Teams And Players

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to placing a bet on basketball is to research the teams and players that are competing as part of a competition or game. We recommend you try to find out how the players of a team play, what their skills and best abilities are, and compare that to the competing team to work out which has a better chance at making wins.

#2: Know The Rules

We already mentioned this on our page, but we’re going to reiterate that it’s highly important that you read up on the rules of basketball and know them inside-out before placing a bet. This will help you determine whether a team may or may not win a game, and it will help you when it comes to placing proposition bets too.

#3: Search For The Best Odds

When it comes to placing basketball bets, it’s important to search for a website that provides you with the best possible betting odds, boosting your chances of making bigger wins and giving you a better chance at making a win. Odds will vary between websites, so it’s a good idea to check multiple basketball betting sites and work out which is giving the best basketball odds.

#4: Check Out Basketball Promotions

It may also be a good idea to check if the website offers any basketball promotions, either as regular promos or during big events. These promotions may provide you with additional funds to use for betting or they may provide you with cashback promotions on losses. It’s also a good idea to regularly check for promotions on a gambling website, just make sure to read through the terms and conditions before accepting anything so you know exactly what’s required of you.

#5: Enjoy Yourself

The most important basketball betting tip we can share with you is to enjoy yourself. Gambling is all about having fun alongside the chance of making a win. It can be addictive, so don’t stress about your gambling, don’t chase wins, and just try to have some fun. If you feel yourself losing control of your gambling behaviour, make sure you use safer gambling tools to limit your time and spending, take a break or seek out professional assistance.

Again, we’ll reiterate that following the above tips won’t guarantee you a win since the outcome of games will depend on the teams’ abilities. However, we’re confident that these tips above will help you when it comes to placing your basketball bets and can improve your chances of making a win.

Questions & Answers (FAQ)

How does basketball betting work?

Basketball betting works just like betting on other sports and is incredibly simple. You have to register with an online sportsbook, verify your account, make a deposit, and then place a bet. Once you’ve done that, you’ll need to wait for the game or competition you’ve wagered on to finish to either win or lose the bet. That’s it!

How many basketball betting sites are there?

A lot. In fact, there are dozens of basketball betting sites, so much that it can be somewhat difficult for you to narrow down which websites are actually worth joining. That’s why we suggest you take a look at our basketball betting site recommendations and join any of them, all of which are completely safe to play at.

Is basketball betting legal?

Yep, as long as you’re in the United Kingdom! Although basketball is primarily an American sport, betting on the sport is incredibly popular in the UK and falls within gambling laws, which means it’s completely fine to do. Just make sure you’re placing bets with a website registered in the United Kingdom.

Are there any basketball betting apps?

There are! Most online sportsbooks that offer basketball betting also offer registered users online betting apps that can be downloaded to your phone. These apps will essentially allow you to place bets while on-the-go through your phone, meaning you can bet whenever and wherever you are!

What are the different types of basketball bets available?

In our guide on basketball betting, you’ll find a detailed list of some of the most common types of basketball bets and what they mean, helping make the entire process of placing bets easier for you.