Basketball is one of the most popular sports to follow, and it has quite straightforward rules. You can find thousands of games played worldwide each year, enjoying betting opportunities while you’re at it. Our experts are on hand to give you all you need to know about how to bet on basketball. First, we’re going to introduce you to all the general basketball betting rules, in order to understand when your wager is a winner, loser or void. Do you want to learn how bookmakers settle bets for all markets and which T&Cs you should notice? Study our article and get all the information regarding max winning limits, when your bet wins and when you can qualify for an early payout. We consider those critical factors and rank the top basketball bookmakers, as you can see in the list below.
General Basketball Betting Rules
Understanding the game is imperative when building basketball betting strategies. Sharp players know the rules inside out, finding and reviewing their best bets. They also comprehend how bookmakers settle wagers and how this process actually affects betting. We introduce the general basketball betting rules that are applicable to all markets, analysing critical factors like games’ schedule, minimum length of play and the probability of a push.
Length of play: At least 43 of a total of 48 minutes must be played for NBA games’ bets to be valid. For other North American or European tournaments, it is 35 minutes.
Dates/Venues: Any basketball game you bet on must start on its scheduled date and venue to be valid.
Cancelled bets: Wagers for postponed/abandoned games (before commencement day) stand up to 24 hours from the initially scheduled time. Once this period has expired, they all get cancelled. Stakes on singles are returned, while in ACCAs, the selection becomes a non-runner. For incomplete games, bets on markets whose outcomes have already been settled, remain active.
Push bets: A push is common in basketball, especially in the handicap market when the outcome ends in a tie between bettors and bookmakers. In the case of a push, your stake is returned, whereas the pick becomes a non-runner for combos.
Max winning limits: The minimum winning limit which applies to basketball is around £/€5,000 in most sites, while some bookmakers offer huge max limits up to £/€500,000.
Early payout: This is a promo some bookies offer, where a bet is instantly won if the team you back takes a specific point lead during the game. It applies to the moneyline market and is offered in top tournaments such as the NBA, the Euroleague and the EuroCup.
Basketball Betting Rules for the main markets
When you sign up, the first odds and lines you see are moneylines, handicaps and totals. These main basketball betting markets apply to general settlement rules, unless bookies state otherwise. Suppose you want to bet on the moneyline market, including overtime; undoubtedly, it’s worth knowing all the details of how a game plays out.
Here, the team you back must win in order to make profit. For settlement reasons, a possible overtime also counts. For example, if you bet on the Boston Celtics to beat the Los Angeles Lakers at 1.90 odds, your wager will be successful even if the Celtics win with at least one point in the regular 48 minutes or after a 5-minute overtime.
A handicap refers to a team covering or defending a line. Depending on each bookie, the relevant handicap is subtracted from/added to the final score at the end of the regulation time/overtime. This is how the point line result is determined, according to basketball handicap betting rules. Suppose you back the Celtics -5,5 to win against the Lakers. They must win by at least six points for the bet to be deemed a winner. Unless otherwise stated, a possible overtime counts towards the final score too.
In this market, you must predict the final number of points, either Over or Under a specific line. The result is made up of both teams’ combined points after normal time and a possible overtime, unless only regulation time counts for that specific market. If the line for the Celtics vs. Lakers game is 212,5 points and you back the Under, you’ll need a cumulative score of less than 212 points to win (e.g., 110-100).
The settlement of all futures markets is determined by official statistics and rankings provided by governing bodies. For a leagues’ regular season classification excluding playoffs, where settlement rules are clear for the winners, teams must complete a specific number of games for bets to be valid (e.g. NBA franchises must play at least 72 games).
Betting Rules for secondary markets
You can find more options from the standard moneyline, handicap and total markets when betting on elite basketball leagues such as the NBA and the Euroleague or on unique contests like the Olympics. Making it evident that bettors must know when they win or not regarding quarter/half-time betting, or their props. Bookmakers follow similar basketball betting rules to settle wagers as in secondary markets. To help you out, we introduce them to you to get to know whether your basketball bet is a winner.
Quarter Betting: All four quarters must be completed for bets to be valid; the 4th quarter doesn’t include a probable overtime period.
Half-Time Betting: The 1st half of a basketball game must be completed for wagers to be valid, while the same applies to the 2nd half too. In most bookies, all 2nd half markets include a possible overtime.
Games Props: Basketball games props integrate a variety of basketball markets involving stats’ totals, where official sources must deem the settlement. Most bets include overtime, besides some specific markets like the Highest Scoring Quarter.
Teams Props: Length-play rules apply to the teams’ props market as well as for games and players. An NBA game, for example, must have at least 43 minutes played for these markets to be valid. In most bookies, overtime is included besides some exceptions, like the Team With The Highest Scoring Quarter.
Players Props: Firstly, any chosen players must compete for bets to have validity. The players' props markets involve statistics, and that’s why governing bodies’ own stats coverage must stamp on their settlement.
Basketball Overtime Betting Rules
Μost pre-game wagers include overtime periods unless otherwise stated by the bookies. Basketball overtime betting rules can vary among bookmakers, so you should carefully read all T&Cs before placing a wager. Let’s see which pre-game and in-play markets include overtime and which don’t.
- Games & Teams Totals (read the T&Cs for any possible differentiation).
- Winning margin.
- 2nd half betting markets.
- Players’ props (e.g., points, rebounds, assists, etc.).
- Double Result (predict Half-Time & Full-Time result).
- 3-way moneyline market.
- 4th quarter bets and Highest Scoring Quarter market.
- In-play quarter markets.
- In-play 2-way and 3-way totals for teams and games.
- Race To X points market (for 4th quarter and 2nd half betting).
In the following complete list of basketball bookies, you can find the highest bonuses, the most competitive odds and all the leagues/markets to bet on.
The general betting rules that apply to all basketball bet types are based on when a bet is valid, examining factors like the length of play and schedule (dates and venues). Moreover, following these rules, you can check when your wager becomes cancelled or void.
Besides some research on news and odds regarding the bet you intend to place, you should also carefully read the T&Cs of each bookie. This is a sufficient way to know when you start betting when your wager will become a winner or loser by analysing all the basketball rules for markets.
By introducing overtime’s basketball betting rules, we can see that anything that happens during overtime generally counts towards a bet on the full game and the 2nd half. This applies to points handicaps, moneylines and totals, and to most leagues and bookmakers.
In basketball betting, the favourite team is indicated by a minus point handicap, while the underdog has a plus one. That handicap is added to a game’s final score, including overtime, and the bookies settle the bets. For the in-running mode, the point handicap taken in-play is applied similarly at the end of games. Tie options may be available.
When a basketball game is postponed or suspended before it begins, all bets are deemed invalid and stakes get refunded. Regardless of a possible interruption or suspension, all bets on basketball markets whose outcomes have already been settled will be active. All others can stand up for 24 hours from the scheduled time before becoming void.
Push rules, where stakes are returned and selections in ACCAs are treated as non-runners, apply to numerous basketball markets, like players props (points, rebounds, assists); or on secondary markets such as the Team With the Highest Scoring Quarter. There are push results where scores are equal after the integer handicaps’ cumulation in the final score and when both teams’ combined score equals the exact integer total line.
For some basketball bets, like H2H ones, the dead heat rule applies when you bet on Player A, but there’s a tie with Player B. In that case, you will get paid on full odds, but your starting stake will be split between the two who drew in half. For instance, the dead heat rule applies to the Team or Game Highest Scoring Player markets.
The First Scoring Play market is a quick option to make money in betting; however, basketball betting rules differ among bookies. You can bet on which team will score first in a game, also predicting the play (2-pointer, 3-pointer, dunk, etc.). Always read the T&Cs before you bet and keep in mind that some sites don’t count free throws for this specific market.
Most bookmakers keep in-play basketball bets active only when a game is postponed or cancelled after it has started and the remaining scheduled game time is five minutes or less. In the main in-play basketball markets (moneyline, point handicap, teams and games totals), overtime is included; on the flip side, the extra 5 minutes are excluded from in-play quarter and half bets.