Pointspreads are used by sportsbooks to draw in an equivalent amount of action on two basketball teams. Point spreads and moneyline bets are the most common ways to bet on basketball. When you make a pointspread bet in basketball you are essentially either giving up points or gaining them, depending on which team you bet on. The lines will usually be close to even money since the added points tend to even the match. The main thing you need to know about pointspreads in basketball is that the actual number of points added to the underdog's score in no way reflects the predicted outcome. The people that decide what the points spread will be are not using team statistics to come up with a number. They are using sports betting statistics. In short, they are basing the lines on what they think you and other sports bettors will do. They want to create a balance in the wagers, not come up with a perfect spread based on the strengths and weaknesses of the two basketball teams in question. This presents an opportunity for the average basketball bettor. If you think Team A will beat Team B by 9 points, based on everything you know about the two teams, and a sportsbook is offering a +5 for Team B, you can win a lot of money if you are correct. Each week there will be pointspreads on NBA, NCAA, FIBA and other basketball games that give the knowledgeable sports bettor an edge. Finding this edge is your objective. I have provided some links to our other guides about betting on basketball below.
Basketball pointspread bets - nBA, FIBA & NCAA basketball point spread bets explained
Best Sportsbooks For Basketball Betting
Basketball spread betting Explained
The spread on a basketball game consists of two things; the number of points the underdog receives and the odds. Online sportsbooks display this information differently so it can be a little confusing. This guide on pointspread wagering in basketball will teach you how to interpret spreads. Bodog's pointspreads will look like this; +4½ (20/23) for the underdog and -4½ (20/21) for the favorite, as shown to the right. This tells you how many points the underdog receives and how much a winning wager will pay. To figure out the odds for a bet on Dallas you simply do this; 20÷23=X, 100÷.869. Divide 100 by .869 and you get 115. Since the first number (20) is lower than the last number (23), you will put a - sign before the 115, making it -115. This means that you need to wager $115 to win $100. I'll spare you the math, a bet on Miami comes out to -105. Other sportsbook will make it easier on you and just list of odds like this: Dallas Mavericks +4 (-110), Miami Heat -4 (-105). It doesn't matter how they do it.
The -105 is just a reference point though. You can wager $10.50 to win $10 or $26.25 to win $25 or $1,050 to win $1,000. Internet sports book have betting interfaces that do the math for you. You click on the team you want to wager on and input the amount you wish to bet. The software will automatically tell you how much your wager will win. It works in reverse as well, you can input the amount that you want to win and it will tell you how much you have to risk. This takes the complication out of the equation.
Here are some answers to common pointspread related questions:
Q. What happens if there is a tie on a point spread bet?
A. Many sportsbooks use half-points in the pointspreads to avoid ties, also know as a push. Bodog and BetOnline use half-points (4½) to avoid this situation. Bet365 does not always use them and in the event of a push all bets will be refunded.
Q. What happens if the game goes into overtime on a pointspread bet?
A. All bets on the spread (the team that received the points, e.g. the underdog), are winners regardless of what happens in overtime.
point spread bets - how to find the value
The hard part isn't figuring out what you will win, it is figuring out which bet is better. Out of 10 basketball games there might be 9 that look pretty close and one that sticks out as a really good bet. If you search around you may be able to find a solid pointspread at three different sportsbooks, on three different basketball games. Ignore the spreads that don't stick out and focus on the ones that look good to you. If you feel that a certain basketball team is going to win by more points than the spread you should put your money there. If you feel that a team is going to lose by fewer points than indicated by the spread put your money there. How much money you bet should be determined by the difference in your predicted score and the pointspread. The best basketball sportsbooks are featured at the top of this page.
pointspread bet Variance - which sportsbook offers the best basketball spreads?
If a gas station was offering a gallon of unleaded for $2.49 and the one across the street was offering the same for $2.19, which one would you choose? The same situation can be found at online sportsbooks. The lines at the top three sports books; Bodog, Bet365 and BetOnline, can differ significantly. Moneyline payouts can be 25% higher at one book compared to the others. It is the same story with spread betting. The spread can differ by a point or even two points and the lines will also be different. It is an absolute must for a basketball bettor to look at 2-3 different books and pick the one that offers the most value. The average final score difference for an NBA basketball game is around 6 points. Gaining an extra half point by choosing BetOnline's +5 over Bet365's +4 will mean the different between winning your bet and a losing your bet around 16% of the time. Even Bodog's half-point different on Bet365 will mean the difference between a payday for you and a push. This applies to betting against the spread as well. Here are some comparisons on an upcoming game:
Game: Dallas Mavericks Vs Miami Heat
- Bodog's pointspread - Dallas +4½ (-115), Miami -4½ (-105)
- Bet365's pointspread - Dallas +4 (-110), Miami -4 (-110)
- BetOnline.com's pointspread - Dallas +5 (+105), Miami -5 (-105)
At Bodog and Bet Online you are going to win on a Dallas bet with a final score that looks like Dallas 94, Miami 98. That same bet would be a push at Bet365. How many basketball games end with a 4-point score difference? Quite a few. In sports betting you want every edge you can find and if that means holding active accounts at a few different sports book then so be it. You'll get to take advantage of more bonuses and promotions anyway. The only trade-off is when a sportsbook has a VIP program but you can always have one primary book and a couple "on the side' books for special circumstances when there is a major discrepancy in the spread.
Let's take a look at the lines now. If you bet on $500 on Dallas here are the payouts at each of these three books:
- BetOnline: $525 (plus 5 points)
- Bet365: 454.55 (plus 4 points)
- Bodog: 434.78 (plus 4½ points)
That is a fairly large difference which could decide if you had a winning week or a losing week. You want to get the most value for every dollar you wager and the only way to do that is to go out shopping for the best NBA spreads and college basketball spreads online.