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Sports Betting News

Your Introduction to Basketball Betting: Types of Bets Explained
Published Feb 23, 2024
by Gil Larson

Basketball betting offers a dynamic and exciting way to engage with the game, providing fans with numerous options to test their knowledge and intuition. From predicting outright winners to speculating on player performances, the variety of bets available caters to both seasoned bettors and newcomers alike. This guide will explore the different types of bets one can place on basketball games, each with its unique appeal and strategic depth. Whether you’re looking to make your first wager or seeking to understand all the betting options at your disposal, this overview will equip you with the knowledge to navigate the basketball betting landscape confidently.

A basketball fan watching a game in a casino sportsbook

Moneyline Bets

Moneyline bets are the simplest form of basketball betting, asking bettors to pick the outright winner of a game. Odds are assigned to each team based on their likelihood of winning, with favorites offering lower payouts compared to underdogs. This straightforward approach makes moneyline bets an excellent starting point for beginners, focusing solely on the game’s outcome without the complexities of point spreads or totals. Whether backing a dominant team to continue their winning streak or believing in an underdog’s chance for an upset, moneyline bets boil down the excitement of basketball to its purest form: winning.

Point Spread Bets

Point spread bets level the playing field between unevenly matched teams by applying a handicap to the favored team. The favorite must win by more than the specified number of points (the spread) for bets on them to pay out, while the underdog can lose by less than the spread and still win the bet. This type of bet introduces a strategic element to basketball betting, as it’s not just about picking winners but accurately gauging the margin of victory. Point spreads can vary significantly based on the teams’ perceived strengths, making it a popular choice for bettors looking for a challenge beyond the moneyline.

Over/Under (Totals) Bets

Over/Under bets, also known as totals, challenge bettors to predict the combined score of both teams in a basketball game, wagering whether the total will be over or under a line set by the sportsbook. This type of bet focuses on the game’s overall pace and offensive and defensive strengths of each team, rather than the outcome of the game itself. It’s particularly appealing for those who have analyzed team trends and can forecast whether a game is likely to be a high-scoring shootout or a defensive battle, making it a favorite among bettors who enjoy analyzing team statistics and game flow.

Parlay Bets

Parlay bets combine multiple individual wagers into one bet, significantly increasing the potential payout. Each selection within a parlay must win for the bet to pay out, introducing a high-risk, high-reward element to basketball betting. Parlays can include a mix of bet types, such as moneylines, point spreads, and totals, offering flexibility and depth to betting strategies. Due to the compounded odds, even a small wager can lead to substantial rewards, attracting bettors looking for a big payoff from a modest stake.

Teaser Bets

Teaser bets are a variation of parlays that allow bettors to adjust point spreads or totals in their favor, reducing the risk but also the potential payout. In basketball, teasers typically let bettors add or subtract a set number of points from the spread or total of two or more games. This adjustment makes it easier to win each leg of the bet, though it requires all selections to be correct, similar to a standard parlay. Teasers offer a strategic middle ground for bettors who like the parlay format but seek more control over the betting lines.

Proposition (Prop) Bets

Proposition bets, or prop bets, focus on specific events within a basketball game that are not directly tied to the game’s final outcome. These can range from predicting which player will score the first basket to how many three-pointers a team will make. Prop bets add an entertaining layer to basketball betting, allowing fans to wager on individual player performances or unique game occurrences. They require a deep understanding of player abilities and team strategies.

Futures Bets

Futures bets involve wagering on basketball outcomes that will be decided in the future, such as which team will win the championship or who will be awarded MVP of the season. Unlike bets that focus on a single game, futures require a long-term perspective, often with odds changing as the season progresses. This type of bet appeals to those who follow the sport closely and have a good understanding of team and player potential. Futures bets offer the chance for significant payouts, especially if bets are placed early in the season when outcomes are less predictable.

Hard Rock No Regret First Bet offer

Live Betting

Live betting, also known as in-play betting, allows bettors to place wagers on basketball games as they are happening. Odds for various bets, including point spreads, totals, and props, are dynamically updated based on the game’s progress. This form of betting demands quick decision-making and the ability to adapt to the flow of the game, offering an immersive and interactive betting experience. Live betting is particularly appealing for those who can read the game well and react to shifts in momentum, injuries, and other in-game factors.

Quarter and Half Bets

Quarter and half bets break down the game into smaller segments, allowing bettors to wager on the outcomes or totals within specific periods of the game, such as the first quarter or first half. These bets can be advantageous for those who have analyzed teams’ tendencies to start strong or finish games well. They offer an alternative to betting on the full game outcome, providing opportunities to capitalize on specific insights into team performance and scoring patterns within different stages of the game.

Winning Margin Bets

Winning Margin bets require predicting the range within which a team will win the game. These ranges can be set as intervals, such as 1-5 points, 6-10 points, and so on. This type of bet adds a layer of precision to basketball betting, as it’s not enough to know which team will win; bettors must also gauge the game’s competitiveness. Winning Margin bets are ideal for those who enjoy dissecting team strengths, weaknesses, and historical performance to forecast the final score differential accurately.

Player Performance Bets

Player Performance bets focus on the statistical achievements of individual players in a game, such as points scored, rebounds grabbed, or assists made. Similar to prop bets but more quantitatively focused, these wagers require an in-depth understanding of a player’s role, playing style, and matchup for the game. Bettors must consider various factors, including defensive matchups and potential game scripts, making these bets particularly engaging for fans with a keen interest in player analytics.

PRA Bets (Points, Rebounds, Assists)

PRA bets take player performance wagering further by combining a player’s points, rebounds, and assists into a single bet. Bettors predict whether a player’s total PRA will be over or under a line set by the sportsbook. This comprehensive bet type rewards those with a holistic view of a player’s contribution to the game, requiring analysis of not just scoring ability but also involvement in the team’s overall play. PRA bets are perfect for those who appreciate the all-around talents of basketball’s most versatile players.


Basketball betting offers a wide array of options, each with its unique appeal and strategic depth. From simple Moneyline bets to complex PRA wagers, the variety ensures that there’s something for every type of bettor, whether novice or experienced. Good luck!