Basketball Betting

Basketball is fast-paced full of end-to-end action with closed-matched teams swapping the lead every minute, and this not only brings with it thrilling entertainment, but also some excellent opportunities when working out your basketball betting strategy. Don’t worry if you are new to the game or new to betting in general, as this guide aims to introduce you to all the common basketball bets and the best events to bet on.

Basketball was first introduced back in the late 19th century and it has not changed much ever since those first matches were played. You have two teams and each with five players playing at any one time. Both teams look to outscore each other on a rectangular court within the set game time. Teams can score points in various ways with the famous three-pointers from outside the three-point line, a normal basket within that three-point line is worth two points, and one point is awarded for players who succeed in getting a basket from the free-throw line.

It’s a simple game but it has captured the imagination of the public for years and with courtside celebrities frequently cheering on the celebrity athletes on the court, there is a lot of attention drawn to the NBA especially. So, read on to find out more on this amazing sport and find out how you can start to build a basketball betting strategy that will hopefully, return you bigger profits more often.

Why is the game of basketball such a popular pastime in Canada?

Basketball has been loved for generations, but no one can really deny the universal boost it was given by one man in particular, and that man is Michael Jordan. Back in the 90s Jordan pushed the NBA and basketball right across the world, and now with recent legends of the game like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, basketball is still right up there as one of the most watched sports in the world. The Toronto Raptors are the one and only basketball team in the NBA representing Canada. Established in 1995, they were proudly crowned the Championship winners in 2019.

Popular Betting Markets in Basketball

The game of basketball opens up many different betting avenues with multiple basic and advanced bets available to you at the leading online bookmakers, but more on where to bet later on in the guide. The betting industry is well in tune with the big leagues such as the NBA and so while it all began with basic match betting markets, and which team will beat which team, you now have a lot more bets to analyse and pick from. 

You will come across many betting markets based around players and so you can find constant opportunities from the first tip-off until the last buzzer. It may seem a little confusing to begin with, but that is normal, so let us start at the start and give you some pointers on the basics of basketball betting:

The Moneyline

Choosing the Moneyline winner will likely be the first betting market for basketball that you will come across, and this goes for nearly every sport that you can bet on. An example of this type of bet would be as follows:

Toronto Raptors -175

Miami Heat +80

This would mean you need to stake $175 to win $100 on Toronto Raptors winning. Therefore, a $80 stake on Miami Heat to win would be needed to earn $100 in winnings. This Moneyline bet is a beneficial way for punters to clearly bet on either of the basketball teams.

Individual Bets

The individual point scores for players during a game is a popular market for both casual punters and the more experienced basketball betting fans out there. Basically, you choose whether a player will score over or under the number of points displayed. This type of bet proves to be a top choice for when you have players on form or players who you think are just coming into form, or out of form for that matter, if you think they will struggle to score in the upcoming match. For example, you could back a player to score over or under 15.5 points in a match, and as soon as that player scores 16 then that bet is a winner.

Handicap Betting

The handicap bet is one of those bets that may look far too advanced for your beginner strategy but let us just remove that thought for you right now. Handicap betting is not only easy to understand, but it is an excellent choice for beginner betting strategies. To put simply, a handicap bet is when you give you one of the two teams a head start with a number of points before they even start, and so on the flipside of that you can bet on a favourite to start with minus points. All you need to do is add or minus those handicap scores on to the end result and then your bet will be determined as a winner or loser.


Specials are becoming more popular each season with all the top bookmakers offering their own specials betting board, so to speak. These special bets will often come with multiple events and you will need all of them to come true to win the bet. Obviously, these types of bets are harder to predict but the odds are often enticing, with odds boosts being offered on top to make them even more profitable. A good example of a special basketball bet would be that one team will have at least three players scoring 3+ 3-pointers in a game. Or perhaps at least two players get 3+ 3-pointers, as well as at least 2+ steals. They are basically a bet with a multi-combination of events within a game and you need all of them to come in to win.

Popular basketball tournaments being followed in Canada

There is no mistaking the global popularity of basketball nowadays and you can even see the club logos adorned across merchandise in most countries across the world. All the top online bookies are following the top leagues and up-and-coming leagues as well, and so below we have decided to list all the top tournaments and leagues at the moment. It would be wise to follow these first and get used to the different bets being offered before you decide to head off and try betting on other basketball leagues and competitions.


The NBA is the big one and the one that fans follow from every corner of the globe. It is the ultimate accolade to play in the NBA and with 30 teams all based in the USA apart from the one exception of our own home nation, the 2019 champions, the Toronto Raptors. Played between the months of October and April each year, the NBA is the most watched basketball league in the world and therefore attracts all the biggest stars in the game.

Throughout the season, each one of the teams will play a total of 82 games as they get split into two separate conferences and then split again between regions. After the season ends, the top eight teams from each of the two conferences will end up being seeded against each other in the playoffs. The overall playoff winner will then be declared the champions of the NBA. Due to this league being such a big hit in Canada and the rest of the world, you will find mountains of data online to help you study and analyse the form of players and teams.

World Cup

The international basketball tournament called the FIBA Basketball World Cup is where the top men’s national teams come together to compete. Every four years a total of 32 national teams meet up to battle it out across eight different groups. The tournament allows only the top two teams from each of the groups to advance into the knockout stages. Much like many of the top World Cup formats, at first you have 16 teams and then that becomes eight, which then becomes four in the semi-finals, and eventually you have the last two teams playing on court attempting to be crowned World Cup champions. 

The US and Yugoslavia are the two teams who have been most successful over the years, as well as Spain, the then Soviet Union, and Brazil all winning their share of winner medals too.


The top level of basketball in Europe is played under the EuroLeague and ultimately, this is Europe’s own version of the NBA. No, it doesn’t pull in the viewing figures, the franchises, or the betting revenue like the NBA does, but the EuroLeague is a growing league and it is known to hold the biggest attendances for indoor sports tournaments outside of the USA. You can trace the league back to 1957, although the current layout of the league has been in place since the year 2000.

Only 18 teams make up the EuroLeague and 11 of those are a permanent fixture as they are all fully licensed clubs who have already signed deals with the league that span over several years. Two of the places left will go to wild cards and the last five gain entry by winning lower tiered competitions across Europe. The league sees each team playing 34 times with home and away matches, and the top eight teams all qualify for the end of season playoffs. The Final Four is then determined, who then become just two teams and they decide the overall EuroLeague winner. Teams like CSKA Moscow and Real Madrid are high-profile with multiple wins and runners-up medals to their names.

Olympic Games

The Olympics first saw the game of basketball in 1904 but it didn’t get the full approval until 1936, and from then on in it has been a mainstay for the global sports event. Both women’s and men’s tournaments are played and as you can imagine, winning an Olympic Gold medal in any sport is right up there for athletes, and basketball is no different. A total of 12 teams get to compete in each of the women’s and men’s tournaments and these 12 places are determined by basic qualifying, being the current world champion, and various regional championships as well. It has been the US team who have managed to come out on top the most over the years, and that goes for both the women’s and the men’s teams.

Expert tips for betting on basketball

You can find all sorts of betting tips nowadays, but you often have to look at the sport in mention to find the exact tips that really matter. Understanding the game inside out really does help you a lot. Knowing what you are betting on, the deciding factors leading up to a game, and during a game, are all going to help you realise more profits in the long run.

Read on as we gather up some of the top basketball betting tips from our very own experts.

Betting value is the key to long term success

To be honest, you can quite easily pick a lot of winners but look at the odds and the profits that you make, and you will end up asking yourself if it was all really worth it. Picking the favourites is often a great way of getting nowhere with your betting. Looking for betting value, on the other hand, is how the experienced punters pick up more profits. Look for the upsets in games and where there may just be a good enough chance for an underdog to come out on top. Don’t always go for the obvious bets because after all, anything can happen, and anything will happen in sports.

Line ups make all the difference

It might sound like a simple thing to say but try to hold out on placing your bets until you know who is playing. Getting a feel for the line ups will allow you to see if any star players are missing, or if any key players are back in the team. It’s these little nuggets of information that can lead you to the best bets. If you have a feeling that a team might churn out a victory against another team in form, then make sure that they have all the right players playing to make that victory possible. Knowledge is key and knowing who is going to be playing on the court each game is going to help you 100%.

The importance of confidence and current form

Like most sports, basketball is very much a form game and those teams who are playing with confidence can often feel as though they are unstoppable. The same thinking goes the other way for that team who can’t seem to pick up a win, or perhaps they just struggle every time they hit the road. Team confidence is the same as player confidence and so do your homework on at least the key players in both teams, see how they are playing and their current form coming into the game. This might just be the piece of the jigsaw that you need to make an informed judgement on whether you should back a team, or a player, to do well on the night.

The three top Canadian bookmakers for basketball betting

Uncovering the best online bookmaker for your basketball bets is something that you really need to think about. Guaranteeing good value for your own hard-earned money and ensuring an entertaining betting experience on a secure site is of the utmost importance. We cannot stress this enough because the last thing you want is to lose money from the one or two rogue sites out there, and so what we suggest is that you stick to our top picks down below. 

All of these three sites offer quality basketball betting markets for you to enjoy:


Betway delivers useful betting news, tips, and some insightful expert opinions on both the College Basketball and elite NBA levels of the sports, which is perfect for your own research. It is one of the biggest online bookmakers available right now and they also score highly when it comes to trust, too. Enticing promotions, welcome bonuses, and refund deals can all be found at Betway, and one thing is for sure that is you get good value for money.

William Hill

As one of the world’s leading online bookmakers, you are sure to get a positive experience from William Hill. They use their vast experience to offer a flawless betting journey throughout their site with a truly huge range of basketball markets for you to bet on. The offers and promotions are being updated regularly and these can repeatedly help you to boost your profits, while they also offer top-rated customer support and a good mix of banking options to help you fund your Canadian betting account. A top choice!


Betsafe offers a wide range of basketball markets across the NBA and other large international tournaments, too. With a user-friendly site that is easy to navigate, you can browse through their available markets before choosing the right basketball bets for you. They also offer a range of high-value promotional offers to keep your Canadian account topped up with sports betting funds.

Basketball Betting FAQ

Can I bet on the NBA online?

Yes, you will never be short of NBA and basketball betting markets across any of the top online sportsbooks. Furthermore, you can access all of this on your mobile devices so you can even put your bets while you are sitting and watching the game.

What is the best strategy for winning when betting on basketball?

Knowledge is a huge part of successful betting along with many other factors. Keeping a calm head and not trying to find quick wins all the time is going to keep your bankroll from running dry too early. Basketball is a global powerhouse sport and so there are tons of websites dedicated to statistics and data. Use them wisely to improve your strategy.

Can I place bets in-play?

Betting in-play is one of the biggest features of any bookmaker nowadays, and so you will find in-play basketball markets and live NBA odds at all the top online betting sites mentioned on this site, and those mentioned above in this basketball betting guide.