The sport of basketball is flourishing right now, with the NBA being seen as the top league of the future in the USA. But, it’s not just Stateside that people are enjoying basketball. In the UK, sports broadcaster Sky Sports demonstrated the NBA’s appeal in the UK by signing a four-year deal with the league.

One of the most popular activities that UK fans enjoy alongside watching sport is betting. So, with the rise in popularity and availability of basketball in the UK, it should come as no surprise that the base of basketball bettors in the UK has shot up as well.

In this guide, we’re here to help new and existing basketball bettors to understand some of the key markets for basketball betting as the terms used can be somewhat confusing.

Money Line Betting

Source: Zesty NBA Nuggets, via

Bettors in the UK often come up stuck when money line betting is brought up. A very popular market in America and with American sports leagues, money line betting is actually quite simple. As explained by bookmaker review and comparison site, the money line will present the two teams to win, allowing you to back the outright winner of the game at hand. It’s very much the same as betting on the result of a game in football, but without the option to back a draw.

As is the case across the major American sports leagues, and other basketball leagues around the world, the game cannot end in a tie, with overtime being used to find a winner. This allows for people to back a winner by using the odds presented in the money line for either the home team or the away team.

The odds present the likeliness of a team winning the game, with favoured teams offering shorter odds as they are more likely to win, thus returning less money from a same-sized bet that’s placed on the underdog at longer odds.

For example, at the time of writing, the Denver Nuggets were atop the Western Conference and the power rankings with a 21-9 record. So, if they were to face the Phoenix Suns and their 7-24 record, the Nuggets would be heavily favoured. Here, the money line would most likely give odds of 1/12 for the Nuggets to win and 5/1 for the Suns to win.

Handicap Betting

Source: Philadelphia 76ers, via

Handicap betting, or the Asian handicap markets as they can be noted, allows players to capitalise on the dominance of a favoured team by backing them to win by wider margins or to have cover when backing the underdog if you think that it’s going to be a close game.

When placing a handicap bet, you select an option which gives a team an imaginary points lead or points deduction at the start of the game. Then, when the final score occurs, your selected team needs to have won once the handicap has been applied.

This form of basketball betting is most often used to create even-money betting opportunities by giving an advantage to an underdog team and a disadvantage on a favoured team. So, if the heavily favoured Philadelphia 76ers were to come up against the underdog New York Knicks, in the handicap market, you’ll be able to find odds similar to 9/10 for Philadelphia to win -14 and the Knicks at 10/11 to win +14.

If the game finishes 120-110 to the 76ers, the handicapped Philadelphia to win bet would lose, but the handicapped Knicks to win bet would win as when the handicap is applied, the Knicks would have 124 points to Philadelphia’s 120.

Totals Betting

Source: NBA TV, via Twitter

The totals markets are basketball’s form of under/over markets, in which you don’t bet on the outcome of the game but instead bet on other occurrences within. The most common totals market in basketball betting is for the points scored total of a team.

At the 30-game mark of the 2018/19 season, showed the Milwaukee Bucks as being the highest scoring team in the NBA with 117.6 points per game. Much like the handicap markets, the totals betting odds often bring both sides to just under evens, so for the Bucks, you may get odds of 10/11 for them to score over 110 points in their next contest.

Totals betting also expands to cover the whole game, with under/over markets on the number of points in the whole game, as contributed by both teams, being a popular market. The odds for total points markets will tend to converge to close to evens at around 207 to 210 depending on the match-up.

If you’ve got a mind for basketball, you can make the most of these top basketball betting markets now that you know how they work.