How to Bet on Basketball

College and pro games feature straight bets, parlays, teasers, round robins, over/unders, first-half and halftime wagers on nearly every game. You'll also find prop wagers on selected games, including many individual player statistical props. You can also find futures bets for college and pro hoops. Game already under way? No worries – in-game wagering is available on many games within the app.

Bet on the Spread

The margin assigned by oddsmakers that is factored into the final score of a wager, either added to the score of the underdog team, or subtracted from the favored team's score.


Minnesota is a 4.5-point favorite over Miami. This means if you place a straight bet on Minnesota, they will need to win by five points or more for your wager to be a winner. If you chose Miami, they would need to lose by four points or fewer — or for Miami to outright win — for your wager to win.

Making a Moneyline Bet

A dollar-value wager placed on a sporting event where a point spread is usually not assessed. Values are represented by a plus or minus sign and based on betting units of 100. 


Minnesota is -210 to beat Miami, and Miami is +180 to win. In that scenario, you would have to risk $210 to profit $100, but Minnesota simply would need to win the game, with no additional point spread assessed. If you were to bet on Miami, you would risk $100 to profit $180, but Miami would also have to win the game outright and would not benefit from any point-spread boost.

Place a Wager on the Total

A wager based on the number of COMBINED points scored in a game. A bettor must choose "over" (whether more points will be scored) or "under" (fewer total points scored) than the assigned number for that game. 


Denver and New York have a total of 230 points scored in a basketball game. If you select the over, the combined score must equal 231 points or greater for a winning wager. If you select the under, the final score, including overtime, must be 229 points or fewer. Over/under wagers are also generally made at 11/10 odds (risking $11 to profit $10).

Leagues You Can Bet On

  • NBA

  • College basketball

  • International basketball leagues

Tips for Betting on Basketball

Follow the lines

NBA and college basketball odds are constantly adjusting from the second the oddsmakers set them. A team could open as a 1-point favorite, but move to -3.5 by tipoff. Getting the best of the number as much as possible is the key to becoming a profitable bettor.

Monitor betting splits

Here at WynnBET, we share our betting splits for marquee matchups. Make sure you are following us on social media to get that information! Having a good idea of what the public is betting on can be a useful part of your handicapping in basketball.

Monitor betting trends

Betting trends are situational patterns repeating the same betting result, usually against the spread (ATS) or the Over/Under (the total). For example, one team could be 10-0 against the spread in the last 10 games as a favorite or how the under is 16-0 since 2005 in meetings between Army and Navy.

Follow injury reports

Especially in the NBA when a star player can sit out just moments before tipoff, it is important to keep a close on all injury news. Make sure you stay on top of injury reports and rumors as much as possible. You won’t be able to catch all of them, especially if you bet early, but you can do your best!

Common Mistakes

Overreacting to certain scheduling quirks

When it comes to NBA betting, you will often see bettors fading a team on the second game of a back-to-back stretch. It is important to remember that sometimes that information is factored into the line, and a back-to-back stretch might hurt some teams more than others. While this can be a piece of your handicapping process, it shouldn’t be the deciding factor.

Betting on your favorite team

Bettors can get blinded by their own bias or favoritism, especially when it comes to their favorite team. The oddsmakers are more impartial because they trust their numbers, so it is important to think twice when betting on your favorite team.

Mismanaging your bankroll

The fastest way to lose your bankroll is by mismanaging it. Don’t chase losses by betting more than you normally would to make up for one loss. Don’t get greedy when you go on a winning streak. Try to keep all straight bets within the same unit sizes, as there is no such thing as free money or an easy winner.

Basketball Betting Compared to Other Sports

Basketball is a long season at both the collegiate and NBA level, so it can be a process for those betting on the sport. You will go through runs (both good and bad), but it is important to always stay within your bankroll. Do your research on injuries and try to get the best of the number as much as possible. If you do that, you can become a profitable basketball bettor.

Check out our sports betting guides for more helpful information and tips.

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