Basketball Betting Guide

From the NBA to the EuroLeague, basketball provides some thrilling, intense action with dramatic buzzer-beaters and physical showdowns. Basketball betting is popular in New Zealand as the points stack up rapidly in matches, keeping punters on the edge of their seats.

In this Betkiwi guide to basketball betting, we have compiled some of the best bookmakers, best basketball betting tips, along with how to avoid some common pitfalls. If you are looking at how to bet on basketball matchups and what the best markets are, read on!

Did you know? Of the first 20 Men’s Basketball Olympic Games tournaments, the USA won the gold medal 16 times.

Sportsbooks For Basketball Betting

Best Sportsbooks For Basketball Betting

The following is a list of our most highly-recommended basketball bookmakers. These are safe betting platforms that give customers fantastic market coverage and competitive basketball odds. Also taken into consideration is the quality of customer support, deposit bonuses, payment options, and site security. Have a look at these top picks for basketball betting in NZ.

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How Basketball Betting Works

The simplest and most popular form of basketball betting is picking the winner of a match, also known as the moneyline. At any of the recommended basketball betting sites above, you can browse the listings of basketball competitions and matches to find a place to start.

Among the most popular franchise-based basketball competitions in the world are the NBA and the EuroLeague. On the international stage where New Zealand’s elite can be seen competing, there is the quadrennial action from the FIBA Basketball World Cup.

Just select a game and then pick a market to browse. Choose the bet type and odds that fit your strategy and add it to your slip. Enter the stake to place the bet and then sit back, watch and wait!

Did You Know? New Zealand’s best-ever performance at the FIBA Basketball World Cup was a fourth-place finish in the 2002 edition. It was the first time they had finished inside the top four in the competition.

Basketball Odds Explained

The odds in basketball are essentially what chance the bookmaker thinks a certain outcome has of happening. That’s why understanding sports betting odds for basketball is important, because you want to know how to win basketball betting, but also how to get value for your payout!

Looking at the basketball odds in listings can help you figure out where to start. When selecting basketball odds, you will also know the exact return that you are in line for. There will be times when picks on underdogs look too appealing to pass on, even if those longer odds come with a little more risk. On the flip side, a few match favourites could be compiled together into multi-bets and parlays.

Expert Tip: Learn how to convert your prediction of an outcome happening to odds (an online betting calculator will do the trick!), as that will help you spot value bets. Perhaps you think the New York Knicks have a solid 40% chance of winning, but the bookmaker’s odds of 2.8 suggest only a 35% chance. The odds on them are longer than you would expect to see which means value for you.

Types Of Basketball Bets

Types of Basketball Bets

Once you start exploring basketball betting, you will quickly be able to see the vast number of markets and bet types available that oddsmakers set. That wide coverage gives players plenty of options to explore strategies for parlay bets, a point spread wager or simple money line selections.
Here are some of the most popular basketball betting markets that Kiwis use at our recommended basketball betting sites.

Winner/Outright Bets

The most basic approach of how to bet on basketball is picking a team like the Boston Celtics to be a match winner. It’s a popular entry point for newcomers, plus challenging enough for experienced punters because of the odds value.

You will commonly see the bulk of basketball betting tips focusing on the match outright. A very similar type of wager is an outright winner bet for a tournament, like selecting the Toronto Raptors to be the NBA Championship winner before the season has even started.


The big alternative to the winner market in basketball match betting is the handicap line. You indeed get plenty of situations where a strong team takes on a much weaker one. Instead of unfavourably short match outright odds, backing the favourites with a -7.5 handicap instead, means they would have to win the match by 8 clear points for the handicap bet to win.

An underdog handicap like Los Angeles Lakers +5.5 means that as long as the team didn’t lose by more than 5 points, the bet would win. There are different handicap lines for a match, giving punters the chance to tease the odds based on the difference in strength between the teams.


Basketball bettors commonly turn to the totals market where the match winner is unimportant, as it’s just about how many points are tallied. This is an over/under bet like the common over/under 2.5 option in soccer betting. Based on whether you think a match will be a high or low scoring one, you pick your spot on the totals line. Alternative ways to approach this is to back an individual team’s total or the points tallied in a certain quarter or half.


There are a variety of great prop bets that punters can take on basketball betting. These are usually based on individual players, like an over/under bet on how many points Stephen Curry will drain in his next match, or the number of rebounds a player will earn. Blocks, steals, and 3-pointers are other popular prop bet markets for basketball. But further choice comes from the likes of which team will score the first points of a match, and who will be the most valuable player (MVP).

Most Common Basketball Betting Mistakes

Anyone who has ever placed a bet has at some point, looked back in a state of regret for having made a mistake. It’s common, especially among novice punters. But mistakes in basketball betting can be a crucial learning tool. Here are some common basketball betting mistakes punters make, as pointed out by our basketball betting expert Lucius:

Not Reading Stats

Get up to speed with the sport. If you have never watched basketball before, spend some time getting to know a particular league, the teams, and the star players. Start doing some basic research like form, trends, and head-to-head records. Many of our recommended basketball sportsbooks have helpful stats on their pages. Whether it’s the MLB, NHL, NFL, or NBA, read sports news and absorb as much info as you can about the league and sport you are betting on.

Spreading Yourself Too Thin

New punters can be too eager to bet. Call up the basketball section at any of our top basketball betting sites and you will see match after match listed. Just because there are numerous matches doesn’t mean you have to bet on all of them. Our expert, Lucius, recommends picking one or two teams to start with, so you can really focus on their matches and not spread yourself too thinly.

Only Backing Favourites

Another common mistake is only picking favourites. This isn’t a particularly enjoyable approach to basketball betting, according to Lucius. Favourites don’t win all the time and seldom come at odds that give the punter value. Look beyond the rote practice of just picking favourites and search instead for real basketball betting value odds.

Ignoring the Handicap

The handicap basketball betting market is one of the best, according to expert Lucius. It gives players the ability to really test their handicapping skills while usually giving the advantage of much better value than the match outright.

🔥Lucius’ Hot Take on Basketball BetsLucius Boehm

“One big thing people get wrong about sports betting (not just basketball!) is taking it too seriously. Remember that it should be a fun hobby first and foremost! Keep emotions out of all sports betting as it can lead to rash bets and mistakes. I always say it’s a good idea to never bet on the team you support to avoid getting too emotionally invested. A great way to avoid that is by betting on a random college team or international basketball. NBA is overrated as a betting market anyway, and you’ll have better chances for making killer predictions in less popular leagues.”

How to Place a Bet on Basketball

Whatever the basketball league, tournament, or market you prefer, here is a user’s guide to placing a bet on basketball for the first time.

  1. Pick one of the recommended online betting sites from our list above.
  2. Register an account to join one (or more) of them.
  3. Choose a preferred payment method and enter the details.
  4. Use the payment method to deposit funds.
  5. Look for any welcome offers like a deposit bonus and what you need to do to fulfil it and if a promo code is required.
  6. Enter the sportsbook and search for the basketball section to look at the schedule.
  7. Find a match and open the page.
  8. Look at the markets like moneyline odds, spreads, totals, and pick your odds.
  9. Add further selections if required.
  10. Enter a stake on the bet slip to place the wager.

Did You Know? One of basketball’s most popular movies, the ‘Slam Dunk’ was banned for almost a decade from 1967 to 1976.

Money Management for Basketball Betting

Basketball betting should be a safe and pleasurable pastime. But as it involves real money from your deposits, it can sometimes get a bit stressful. It is always worth having a bankroll budgeted out for your bets to help avoid running into a gambling problem.

Because we encourage responsible gambling, it’s advisable to never bet more than you can afford to lose. Don’t borrow money to bet and don’t chase losses. The latter is a tough one because, at some point, you will likely hit a losing streak as every punter does.

That’s a valuable time to instead take a break, reassess your strategy and make some tweaks to it. When you have an overall budget to bet with, start getting your money management plan in order.

The key is to break the budget into chunks to balance your betting. Sound basketball betting advice is to stick to around 1-3% of your total budget for a stake. That way, you know how much is going towards each bet and it helps to avoid the temptation of suddenly blowing three-quarters of your budget on a spur-of-the-moment wager.

Popular Basketball Teams & Players

You can find plenty of basketball action from close to home in New Zealand, and from across the globe. Here are some of the most well-known men’s and women’s tournaments.

  • NBA – From the United States, it is one of the world’s leading professional basketball leagues featuring teams like the Golden State Warriors, which concludes with the dramatic NBA playoffs.
  • NCAA – College basketball in North America features a lot of future NBA stars and concludes with the much-hyped March Madness.
  • WNBA – The leading women’s professional basketball league.
  • FIBA Basketball World Cup – The largest international competition in the sport, with both a men’s and women’s version.
  • EuroLeague – Bringing different gameplay to the table is the EuroLeague which features the likes of Real Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Maccabi Tel Aviv.
  • Olympic Basketball Tournament – Both men’s and women’s Olympic tournaments exist and they bring together the world’s elite for fantastic contests with a coveted gold medal as the prize for victory.

Tips & Strategies for Basketball

Punters will find their own way in basketball betting and that’s a good thing, but here are some basketball betting tips and strategies to help out.

  • Odds comparison – Don’t just settle for the odds that you see in one particular sportsbook. Shop around to see if you can get better odds for your selection by doing an odds comparison.
  • Do your homework – Never skip on analysis of reading statistics, form and tips for basketball betting outcomes. Those are important factors for strengthening knowledge and betting picks.
  • Keep your winnings aside – No matter how small the profit, don’t include it back in your bet budget. You earned it, keep it.
  • Read betting tips – There are plenty of free basketball betting tips online. Use them as a source of information to perhaps confirm a bet you are considering.
  • Keep it simple – Don’t go crazy about looking at obscure markets that have long odds. Keep it simple and stick to the common markets, where public support can be insightful.
  • Cash out – Don’t skip cashout opportunities for live in-play betting. Using the tool to mitigate or lock in a profit before the final buzzer can be a game changer.
  • Hedging bets – Live markets give punters chances to hedge pre-match wagers. Budget and plan for this, like snapping up an in-play opportunity for underdogs if they have come firing out of the gates.

Did You Know: The NBA’s longest match-winning streak was 33 matches set by the LA Lakers in 1972.

Summary About Basketball Betting

Whatever your favourite league or competition is, explore the best odds at our list of basketball betting sites. Basketball is one of the most-watched and most well-supported sports in the world and this Betkiwi guide has given you all the info you need to get the most out of your experience.

Now, with basketball betting explained, the most important part of basketball betting is to learn the ropes. Start from the ground up by focusing on select teams and a select range of popular markets. Keep things simple and take your time – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Accumulating a large amount of small profit over the long term instead of targeting one big payday, is a strategy that our basketball betting expert Lucius supports. Find your teams, find your favourite markets, and keep an eye out for those basketball bonus bets that can add a sprinkle of further value!

FAQs About Basketball Betting

We have covered in depth the fantastic sport of basketball and how to bet on it. Below are some of the answers to the most commonly asked questions about basketball betting that we hear at Betkiwi.

How do you bet on basketball?

Select from our list of recommended online sportsbooks for NZ players, register an account, and then find the market selection that you want. Place a stake on the bet slip and strike the wager.

What does +2.5 mean in basketball betting?

If you back the team at a +2.5 handicap, you would need them to not lose by more than 2 points. Handicap lines vary. A negative number signifies the favourite who has to win by more than the selected handicap.

Can you make money from basketball betting?

It is possible to make money from basketball betting, but it comes with risks and no guarantees. Use betting strategies, basketball betting tips and get a good working knowledge of the sport.

How many minutes is an NBA quarter?

A quarter of an NBA match lasts for 12 minutes. With stoppages though, in reality it will last a lot longer.

Can I bet on basketball quarters?

Betting on options like the winner of the 1st quarter or total points 3rd quarter are popular approaches for basketball quarters betting.

What are the most common basketball bets?

The most common basketball bets are match winners, handicaps, and totals. These are staples and attract a lot of public support, which in turn, can influence the odds.

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Lucius Boehm

Sports Expert

Lucius Boehm, our sports expert at Betkiwi, is a University of Auckland graduate with a degree in Sport, Health and Physical Education. He's honed his expertise over 10 years in the gambling industry, earning a reputation as one of New Zealand's top sports gambling specialists. Lucius enjoys analyzing sports trends and playing rugby in his spare time. You can reach Lucius at [email protected].

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