Point Spread Betting in Basketball

Point Spread Betting in Basketball

Published Date · Oct. 18, 2022 · Last Updated · Oct. 20, 2022 ·Read Time · 4 mins

Basketball betting is one of the most popular sports to make a wager on at both brick and mortar and online sportsbooks. For betting on the NBA in particular, there are three main betting types for the top basketball league; the Moneyline, the Over/Under, and the Spread.

In this article, we’ll discuss Point Spread Betting in Basketball and why it is usually the most popular of the three betting types. In short, the basketball point spread is a way to even the field for both sides of the matchup, no matter how lopsided the game may appear to bettors. 

What Is A Point Spread Bet In Basketball?

The basketball point spread is currently the most popular betting option when it comes to wagering on both the NBA and college basketball. But before we dive into what makes the wager so popular, first, we need to explain what a point spread bet is in basketball.

Simply put, betting on the point spread allows bettors to wager on a game that may be lopsided. This is done by handicapping the favorite in the matchup to make it possible for bettors to pick either side of the bet where there should be value on both sides of the wager. 

Why Use a Point Spread Bet?

The great thing about a point-spread basketball bet is that no team is off-limits for making a wager. It can sometimes be difficult to find value in making a bet on certain favorites and underdogs in a Moneyline wager.

A Moneyline wager only allows you to pick the winner of the matchup. Selecting a favorite is safer but will result in a low payout. Wagering on an underdog will be a lot riskier but comes with a better payout if your bet hits. The Point Spread bet is the best of both worlds for both sides. 

For each game in the NBA, there is a favorite and an underdog. The favorite is the team that is predicted to win the game while the underdog is the team that is expected to lose the game.

In a Point Spread bet, if you are wagering on the favorite’s side, you’re betting that they will win by a certain amount of points. If you are betting on the underdog’s side, then you’re wagering on that team to only lose by a certain amount of points. Also, a wager on the underdog will win in a Point Spread bet if the underdog wins the game outright. 

Point Spread Basketball Example

For example, let’s say that the Boston Celtics are playing the Golden State Warriors. At the sportsbook you are making your wager on, the Warriors are 5.5-point favorites over the Celtics. This would look like Warriors (-5.5). This means that the oddsmakers are giving the Celtics a 5.5-point lead to start the game with.

Now of course, there is no such thing as half a point in basketball, meaning that the number of points has to go on either side of the 5.5. 

If you wager on the Warriors for a basketball point spread bet, you need them to beat the Celtics by 6 or more points. If they only win by 5 points, your wager would lose. On the other side, if you wager on the Celtics for a point-spread basketball bet, your bet could pay out in one of two ways.

You would win the wager if the Celtics lose by less than 6 points or if they win the game outright. So if the final score is Warriors- 105, Celtics- 103, your point spread wager would pay out. 

How Do You Make A Basketball Points Spread Bet & Are They Profitable?

You may be asking yourself why the point spread wager in a basketball game is one of the most, if not the most, popular betting options for basketball games. It’s actually quite simple; it all has to do with the odds.

This is because, at most online and brick-and-mortar sportsbooks, both sides have the odds close, if not exactly, at -110.  This sets both of the lines at an equal and un-juiced level for both the underdog and the favorite.

This enables a potential long-term profit for either side of the wager as a favorable line by the sportsbook is usually -110. That is, if you know what factors to look for. 

With that being said, the point spread wager is more suited for those who have either a strong knowledge of the game of basketball overall or who know the two teams playing inside and out. The main factors to evaluate when looking into a basketball point spread bet are the injuries on either side, the coaches for both teams, how much the teams have traveled, among several other factors to evaluate. 

One main factor to focus on is the transaction report that the NBA puts out. It has all the information you need to know regarding the 101 available teams to make a wager on. This report has all the latest news, including what players are out from injury and which players are coming back from injury.

The report also lists what trades have been made recently which can impact overall team performance. You wouldn’t want to make a wager on a team that just traded away their top player!

Start Point Spread Betting Today

Once you learn the ins and outs of the basketball league you want to bet on (we would recommend the NBA as there is more information readily available out there), you can start making your own basketball point spread bet today.

Don’t forget to take into consideration any injuries or recent trades that may affect a team’s performance, whether they are the favorite or the underdog. Remember that the point spread wager for basketball makes both sides of the bet even, so don’t be afraid to make a bet on the underdog like you would for a Moneyline bet. 


Phoebe Greenwood

Content Writer