Basketball Betting Bankroll Management

Basketball is an exciting sport to bet on both the college and NBA levels, and a smart bettor can have the edge over the casino. The betting is usually done on the point spread, similar to wagering on football, which serves to balance out the betting. Point spread betting means that you select a team taking into the count the “spread,” a number of points that theoretically makes the teams even. Say the favored Los Angeles Lakers are playing the underdog Miami Heat and the point spread is 7 points (this is most often represented with a -7 next to the Lakers and a +7 next to the Heat.) If you bet the Lakers, they must win by more than 7 points for your bet to be a winner. If you pick the Heat, then they can either win outright or lose by less than 7 points. If the Lakers win by a score of 101-96, they have failed to “cover” the 7 point spread. Bets on the Lakers would lose while bets on the Heat would win, even though the team lost the game.

With point spread bets, the casino usually pays off at 10 to 11; that is, you must put up $11 in order to win $10 (total return of $21.) In addition to the point spread, there are other basketball bets you can make. You will almost always have the option to make a bet on the point total, also known as the “over or under.” You bet that the two teams’ combined scores will be higher or lower than the number given, and if you win you are also paid off at 10 to 11. There is also often an option to bet basketball on the money line, in which you pick a team without any point spread, but you must take different odds depending on how likely your team is to win.

In point spread basketball betting, the casino has the edge because of the payout structure: all winning bets only get paid off at 10 to 11. The difference between the payouts and the actual odds is known as the vig. Because of this, the house doesn’t care which particular team wins, but instead must make sure that the point spread will encourage even betting on both sides. Casinos will constantly be readjusting the line before the game in order to achieve equal action on both teams.

Bankroll Suggestions for Basketball

All sports betting, including basketball, is unique in that a bettor can enjoy multiple hours of action and excitement on just one small bet, something you won’t find in any other casino games. If you want to casually bet on basketball games and enjoy yourself, you can do so with a very small bankroll. If, on the other hand, you want to bet on many games over the course of the season and give yourself a chance to earn big profits, you need to practice very strict bankroll management.

The casino edge on standard point spread bets turns out to be 4.5%, and this means that you need to win more than 52.4% of your bets in order to come out ahead in the long run. If you frequently change the size of your bets, you actually need to win a higher percentage of the time in order to break even. Professional basketball bettors never wager more than 2% of their total bankroll on one contest, since you can encounter a very high short term variance and you need a significant cushion for when times become tough.

Basketball Betting Tips to Grow Your Bankroll

In basketball betting, it pays to specialize. If you know more about a particular team, NBA division or college conference than 99% of the betting public, you will be able to find betting lines where you have a clear advantage. Since the casino is only concerned with getting equal action on both sides in point spread betting, they change the line based on previous action. If your expertise is greater than general public opinion, you can identify lines that have been inflated and will be profitable bets.

In order to reach this level of knowledge, you really need to do your homework. Serious basketball bettors are constantly studying team and player news, rumors, injuries, suspensions and many other factors. You should not focus on just your favorite teams, because any loyalties are very detrimental to your long term expectation. The favorable line will often not be the most popular game, so you need to objectively consider all the bets before deciding on your wager. If you specialize in the ACC conference for example, you may find that you have an edge in the NC State-Virginia game, not the Duke-UNC one that is attracting all the attention. Finally, when betting basketball be sure to find a live or online casino that offers VIP programs and other bonuses, because these additional factors can greatly increase your potential profits.