Basketball Betting Strategies

With the 2019-20 NBA and NCAAB seasons already getting started and legal sports betting flourishing in the US, this winter could be a magical one for the punters out there. Although no strategy is perfect, there are a large variety of ways to make a profit wagering on basketball games.  

Finding the right one for you depends a great deal on understanding the different aspects of the game, as well as how the laws of sports betting bend around the popular American sport. 

Of course, as always there is no 100% certain strategy that will win you every game you choose to bet on. If such a thing existed, the days of betting on basketball would be over in an instant.

Instead, these are strategies that more than anything can help the player to understand the science behind betting on basketball as well as give you a better understand of what works for you. Which, if used properly can win you money as well, if for some reason that is important. 

Reading the Line Movement

For each bettor out there, the most important thing in all of sports betting is not to focus entirely on wins and losses, but rather to focus on finding value within the odds.

Reading the lines and watching their movement is done precisely to find value within the markets. Simply put, finding the value means finding odds that do not correctly correlate with the market’s actual probable outcome.

For example, let us say that you are looking at a game between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Sacramento Kings. In your mind, the Kings should be underdogs and therefore listed at odds of at least +200.

If when looking at the actual lines they are either at or below this number, you would not want to take this bet. The simple reason is because even if the odds are at +200 which would be the best possible non-working option, you will find no value.

This is due to the fact that the value here would be even with the actual possibility of the Kings to win. If the number is lower than +200 you are now looking at negative value.

However, if the days go by and people begin to realize the Laker’s chances to win are far greater than the Kings they will likely start to make bets on Los Angeles. This will push the odds on the Kings even higher than before.

Now you are looking at odds of +240 and now is the time you will take this bet. In this scenario, the lines moved appropriately with both team’s chances of winning and losing.

Now you are looking at odds of +240 and now is the time you will take this bet. In this scenario, the lines moved appropriately with both team’s chances of winning and losing. Many times with sports betting however, the lines will be moving for reasons unrelated to the game.

For instance it could be a massive amount of unwarranted hype for one team moving the lines. 

The main thing for the player here is to find what they think the value should be and then pounce on it. In the long run, this is what will make a punter profitable or broke, not the record of wins and losses they carry.

The best way to help with finding value is to thoroughly research the upcoming game. The more information you have the better. When finding value in the lines, the player needs to understand why the value is set at a specific number.

Missing out on key information is a good way to think you found good value but instead end up making a ridiculous bet. 

Playing the Quarters Game 

Let us get down to the real basics of Basketball 101. In every single basketball game there are four quarters. Scores in basketball games are very volatile and often the winner of a single quarter or two does not result in the winner of the game.

Due to this reality, basketball games have a much higher rate of score changes than other sports with a higher possibility of comebacks as well. 

This is what you will focus on using this strategy. What the player needs to do here is to understand within the first two quarters which team is better.

You should be able to understand this more or less before the game begins just by the odds placed on the teams. You can usually find odds of about -270 on a clear favorite in any basketball game. 

After the first two quarters is when you will want to make your move if the situation and odds lines up correctly. That is, if the clear favorite of the game somehow finds itself down after the first half. You want to find the odds on the favorite that by now have been inevitably raised and play them.  

Now, this can work in all sports, but the chances of this strategy winding up successful are raised in basketball and even more so when talking about the better team overall. 

In hockey the team losing after the first period wins less than 33 percent of the games. In baseball, it is even worse, as a team losing after the first three innings comes back to win less than twenty percent of the time.

However, in basketball, a team losing by at least four at halftime come back to win more than 40 percent of the time. As the score gap increases the chances of the team winning go down. However, we are talking about teams that are favorites and more than 40 percent is a pretty decent chance.

When teams are trailing by only one at halftime, they will come back and win more often than not. Out of 6000 NCAAB games, trailing by one at halftime actually increased a team’s chances to win by five to seven percent.

At this moment after the half you can normally find odds on the favorite in the range of -121.95 to -105. For a team that was favored in the beginning and still has half the game left to play in an extremely volatile game with many score changes, this is when you will want to make your move.

As with any bet, you will want to analyze the first half of the game and figure out if the team who is supposed to win has any real chance at all. If the scores are still tight at the half, then the player will likely have the chance to combine good chances with good odds and hopefully finish with good long-term profitability.

You can even change these odds more to your preference by playing a handicap one way or the other on the team. 

Resisting the Hype

As with any sport, the hype from analysts or fans can be overwhelming. Maybe there is a certain player who is a frontrunner for MVP that the team playing against them can win. Or maybe the team is stacked with four different All-Stars who even though their form is off, are the much better team on paper.

This causes people to make bets only based on star-power and big names without taking into consideration any different factors. Yes, favorite teams will win slightly more often with correlating odds that are lower. It is here that knowing where to find value also comes in handy. 

Betting against the hype or against the favorites is an area of basketball betting that can be exploited by a bettor when he knows where to look. Basketball fans especially have a tendency to overestimate the hype and bet on the favored teams without question.

After studying up on different statistics attached to the game or knowing that a team happens to be in a good run of form, you can make a pick on a team that will be undervalued in the lines. There will normally be an abundance of these teams available in most of the lines. 


While using any of these strategies, the player must always remain sharp. Losing your head in sports betting will quickly translate into losing your bank roll. The most important thing to look for is the value in the lines. If the player can find this, then the teams or players involved make no difference.

Knowing how to find value in the lines is how professional sports bettors stay successful. In basketball in particular, remember that the comeback rate is higher, the amount of hype and blind bets are more frequent and the lines will change more rapidly so you need to be faster when searching for value.

Remember these things along with keeping a cool head will help you to make better basketball bets in no time.