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Spread Betting in Basketball: A Full Guide (Basketball Spread Betting Explained)

Publish Date: 03/23/2023
Fact checked by: Allan Howe

We at Ballislife want to take our basketball knowledge and infuse that with creating guides for more profitable betting. Here, we’re focusing on basketball spread betting and how you can utilize this betting market to add more money to your bankroll.

If you’re ready to start point spread betting on basketball, you’re in the right place. Let’s dive in.

Basketball Spread Betting Explained

Betting the spread in basketball is one of the most common wagers, regardless of the league you prefer. Whether it’s professional or college, there are hundreds of games you can make money off of, and you’ll pick who you think will win with the spread betting on basketball in mind.

As you know, there are teams that are better and worse than one another, and the point spread acknowledges that and aims to make the games as fair as possible through the lens of betting.

When you look at a game, you’ll see teams with a “-” or “+” number next to them, and you’ll have to account for that number when determining if a team will “cover the spread.”

In the next section, we’ll explain how it works in more detail and elaborate more on spread betting and how it’s explained through basketball.

How does Basketball Betting Against the Spread Work?

If you’ve never bet on this, it’s fair to ask this question: What is a spread in basketball betting?

As mentioned, the spread is a number determined by the online sportsbook to account for the strengths and weaknesses of each team.

The team with the “-” number is considered the favored team, and the team with the “+” is the underdog.

Your job is to determine not only who wins the basketball game but by how much. So, how does spread betting work in basketball? That’s how—you decide who will win or lose the game and by how much.

The spread meaning and how it pertains to betting on basketball is derived from multiple factors, including the team’s performance, injuries, schedule, and many other factors that have to do with the complexity of a game.Outside of that, it could be influenced by the betting action.

Suppose one side is receiving an overwhelmingly large number of bets. In that case, the online sportsbook could tinker with the point spread of the other team to make them more desirable and try to get the money wagered as close to 50/50 as possible.

How To Read A Basketball Betting Spread

While we’ve answered the question of “what does the spread mean in betting on basketball,” we must explore how to read the odds. On top of picking which team will win and keeping the spread in mind, betting odds are associated with every wager.

We discussed what the “-” and “+” mean for the point spread, and now we’ll discuss the odds.

  • If a team has “-” odds, that’s the money you’ll need to wager to win $100. For example, if a team is -123, you’ll need to wager $123 to get $100.
  • As for teams with “+” odds, the number associated with it is what you’ll win if you wager $100. For example, if you have +110 odds, you’ll win $110 if you bet $100.

On top of this, it’s important to discuss decimal point spreads. A team with half of a point is quite common for a point spread in basketball betting.

If a team is -4.5, that extra 0.5 points is called the “hook.” With this half of a point, it’s impossible for a point spread to “push” or tie.

If a team is -4 and wins 120-116, the spread betting you’ve done for this basketball game ties in, and you get your wager back. However, if you have that 0.5 points, this won’t happen, and you’re guaranteed a win or a loss.

Basketball Betting Spread: Important Terms to Know

Term Description
Juice/Vig Think of this as a commission on your wagers. At -110, this is the standard for betting odds in many circumstances. In this example, the -10 is the “vig.” You’ll need to wager $11 to win $10. So, any number beyond -100, such as -110 or -190, if the juice/vig on the wager.
Push This is another term for a tie-in basketball point spread betting. If a point spread when you’re betting on basketball is a whole number like -1, +3, -10, or +4, there’s a chance there could be a tie. For example, if a team is -10 and wins 110-100, they won the game, sure, but they didn’t win by enough to cover the spread—more on that term next. Thus, the wager pushes, and when this happens, you get your wager back. Nothing more, nothing less.
Cover When spread betting in basketball or any other sport, you’ll often hear the term “cover.” This means that a team satisfies the handicap set forth by the sportsbook. If a team is +4, they can either win or lose by no more than four points.
ATS ATS is an acronym for “against the spread.” This is a statistic that you can utilize to determine a team’s success when the spread is involved. They could be a 20-10 team but could be 11-19 against the spread meaning that games are a lot closer than you’d like for betting the spread.

Basketball Betting Against the Spread Strategies

Lines/Odds Shopping

If you have multiple online sportsbooks at your disposal, you can compare the NBA point spread odds from site to site to see which provides you more value.

Monitor the Vig/Juice

We defined this term above and you can use this knowledge to see where a point spread is headed. Since -110 are the most common odds on these wagers, if it’s not this, it could indicate something. If a team is -4.5 and -120, we could see the sportsbook adjust this by changing the point spread to -5 and back to -110. You can monitor this up until tip off to find value.

Live Betting Hedging

If you make a pregame wager that is not going well, you can bet the other team during live betting in an attempt to offset your losses or perhaps even turn a small profit. For example, if you bet $110 on a team -3.5 with -110 odds and they’re losing, you can check out the other team for live betting. Then, for live betting, you see that team is -1 at +105. If you bet $102.44 on that and either bet you make wins, you’ll only lose $2.44 instead of the $110.

Monitor Injury Reports

Basketball is a sport that has five players on the court at all times. If any of those starting five players is injured and has a chance to miss time, this will impact betting odds and point spreads. You cannot make informed wagers without knowing the daily injury reports.

Getting Started On Spread Betting In Basketball

  • Find what sportsbook you want to play after checking out our online sportsbook reviews, which focus on the site, betting markets, promos/bonuses, and more.
  • Download the mobile app for the sportsbook you want to play at or head to the desktop site.
  • Create an account. This process takes just a few minutes regardless of where you want to play because each registration process calls for the same information—name, date of birth, address, last four digits of your social security number, and more.
  • Make a deposit that aligns with the welcome bonus, if applicable.
  • Head to the basketball betting section of the online sportsbook.
  • Find what point spread bet you want to make.
  • Add it to the betslip, make the wager, and wait for the outcome.

Conclusion on Basketball Spread Betting

We created this page to answer these questions:

  • What is spread betting in basketball?
  • What does the spread mean in betting on basketball?
  • What are the best strategies for spread betting on basketball?

We believe we accomplished that by examining what a point spread is, how to read it, providing real examples, and offering strategies for a more profitable point spread betting trajectory.Regardless of the type of basketball you want to bet on, be it the NBA, WNBA, or NCAAB, this page will benefit you.

As you prepare to bet on the playoffs and tournaments in the basketball world, be sure to return to this page each time to improve your spread betting prowess.

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