Synonymous with major leagues such as the NBA and the EuroLeague, basketball is a high-scoring and often unpredictable sport — practically made for basketball spread betting. But how does it work and is it worth trying out? We'll answer these questions and more questions in this article!

Basketball spread betting, and spread betting more broadly, is a fantastic and innovative way to place bets on a sport you love. Spread betting differs from fixed odds betting because you bet against the spread by buying high and selling low at the optimum time, thus this isn't for novice bettors and can be quite intimidating at first – but once you understand the basics, it'll come easily.

Spreadex Basketball Spread Betting Screenshot
(Source: Spreadex)

The first thing that came to mind when we first saw spread betting was: what are all those numbers? It's a fair question, because it looks nothing like fixed odds betting – but it's not as different as it looks.

Firstly, what do the numbers mean? They're the ‘predicted amounts' set by the bookmakers, and basically imply what the bookie believes is the likely outcome of an event.

The total score is a perfect example – in the image above, Spreadex assumes that the total score at the end of the game will be between 169.5 and 172.5. You just have to decide whether it'll actually be less or more. If it's less, you have to sell, and if you think the score will be higher, you have to buy.

This is the principle of most spread-betting markets when it comes to deciphering the odds, but the biggest difference is how your stake, winnings and losses are calculated.

The more correct your prediction is, the more you win!

The first thing to note is that when you place your stake, you're placing it on a per-point basis. This means that your stake will change depending on the number of points scored. Below is a perfect example of how a bet works at Spreadex – this is the same for every spread operator.

Spreadex Basketball Spread Bet Example Screenshot
(Source: Spreadex)

To add to this example: If the final score is 200 and you bought £2 per point at 255, your bet will look like this: 200 – 225 = -25 → -25 x £2 = -£50.

This really is a high risk, high reward betting market, especially as points can be very unpredictable.

Selling is the opposite of buying, and you should opt to use it if you think an outcome will be lower than the predicted amount – the calculations are exactly the same, except you have to use the selling price.

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    If 200 points are scored: 222 – 200 = 22 → 22 x £2 = £44

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    If 250 points are scored: 222 – 250 = -28 → -28 x £2 = -£56

Spread betting can be characterised by its unbelievably vast amount of markets available for many events, basketball is no exception. Although it is less popular than sports markets such as football and horse racing, it still boasts a comparatively large number of betting options. Below are some of the main ones you should know about.

Game Markets

The first and most obvious market relates to the general outcome of the game. In spread betting, this can mean several things. We’ll use this image below to explain them.

Sporting Index Basketball Game Markets Screenshot
(Source: Sporting Index)

Boston Celtics/Miami Heat – This market is known as a supremacy bet and is a typical spread bet. It covers the point difference that the bookmaker predicts – in this case, the Celtics should beat Miami by 8-11 points.

If you buy, you bet that they'll win by a greater margin. If you sell, you assume that the Celtics will win by a smaller score or lose the game. The more you're right, the higher your winnings will be.

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Cashing out could be a great strategy here – if you can find a time that will get you a bigger payout.

Boston Celtics-Miami Heat: Total Points – This is exactly the same as the example we mentioned earlier. If you think there will be more total points scored, you can buy at 217, and if you think there will be less, you can sell at 213. It's relatively simple and similar to fixed odds betting – with the difference that you can win or lose much more. Here’s an example of a buy bet:

Buy Bet – £10 per point (at 217)

200200 – 217 = -17-£170
210210 – 217 = -7-£70
220220 – 217 = 3£30
230230 – 217 = 13£130
240240 – 217 = 23£230
250250 – 217 = 33£330

Boston Celtics (-8.5) Handicap – This is another supremacy bet, similar to the first market, but with an added handicap to make things more interesting: Celtic must win by more points for this bet to count – ideal for selling.

Boston Celtics-Miami Heat: 1st quarter points – This is the same bet as on total points, but divided by quarters. Punters can bet on any quarter they wish, and you can also bet on halves. This is perfect for in-play betting as the course of a game can greatly influence a quarter.

Binary Markets

Binary markets are another addition to the already diverse set of spread-betting markets. Unlike regular spread betting, where you're rewarded depending on how correct you are, binary betting can only have two outcomes – right or wrong.

There are only two scores which you can get. If you're right, you get a score of 100, and if you're wrong, you get a score of zero. So if you bet on Denver to win at 36.4 and the bet wins, the total score is 100 – 36.4 = 63.6, if you bet £1 per point you win £63.6. However, if you lose, your score is automatically zero: 0 – 36.4 = -36.4, i.e. you lose £36.4.

Betting £1 on Denver to Win at 30.7 – 36.4

Bet typeOutcomePoints wonCalculationsWinnings/ losses
BuyWin bet100100 – 36.4 = 63.6£63.6
BuyLose bet00 – 36.4 = -36.4-£36.4
SellWin bet100100 – 30.7 = 69.3£69.3
SellLose bet00 – 30.7 = -30.7-£30.7
Spreadex Binary Markets Screenshot
(Source: Spreadex)

Each form of binary bet works in the same way, with a final outcome of either zero or 100. This offers some great advantages, but also some risks that are vital to remember.

  • Advantages – If your prediction is correct, a score of 100 can be much higher than the actual amount you'd get in a normal spread, and you don't really have to be right by many points to win a good amount. A zero can also prevent you from getting a minus score which would be pretty bad

  • Risks – Every bet has risks associated with it. In this case, the biggest risk is that if you bet on something probable that then doesn't happen, you end up losing a lot more because your outcome score is automatically zero.

Bet Builders

The final significant set of markets for spread betting is bet builders. These aren't always offered and are usually found on NBA games. However, when they're offered, it's worth taking a look, as the markets can get really specific and there is a chance of placing some very good value bets.

Below are a number of bet builder options available for Game 2 of the Conference Finals between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat. If you follow the arrow on each market, you can see the odds for specific players or situations.

Spreadex Bet Builder Screenshot
(Source: Spreadex)

There are a ton of interesting markets to choose from; player steals, and blocks by players are uncommon in fixed betting and can be a great niche market to bet on, and the same goes for three-pointers, rebounds and assists.

In general, player betting is pretty exciting and an excellent option for live betting. Bet builders are also handy for making more reliable bets at higher odds, although the risk is of course greater due to the betting format.

For the high rollers among us, any market with a plus (+) increases the odds dramatically as it multiplies the predicted amount of each market together. In the above case, the results are binary as they're part of a bet builder.

We have established that basketball spread betting is brilliant, but what's the best way to make well-informed bets? Below we have put together some of the best strategies and tips to help you make better bets – especially for those who are new.

Take Your Time

This is crucial for any type of betting you may try. The main idea is to stop and really think about whether the bet you're about to make is worth it or not. Sometimes, you may see a statistic or get a gut feeling and rush to place a bet, only to realise that, in hindsight, it didn't make any sense at all. It's happened to the best of us, so it definitely makes sense to take your time when basketball spread betting.

Understand the Market

When it comes to spread betting, you need to be 100% sure that you know exactly what you're betting on. Firstly, if you know what you're betting on well, you're more likely to make better bets, but more importantly with spread betting, as you can end up losing much more than your original stake. This extra risk needs to be taken into account before jumping headfirst into a bet.

Research is Key

Research is the cornerstone of any good bet, and if you do a lot of research, you definitely have a better chance of finding value and making more accurate predictions. Looking up statistics and figures is a great of going about it, with scientific data being quite useful when placing bets – especially in basketball. General guides are also useful. Our dedicated guide to NBA betting is excellent if you're looking to bet on the biggest basketball league in the world.

Cash-Out Strategy

A quick cash out can, in some cases, be the difference between winning a bet or losing your entire stake, but with spread betting, this reaches a whole new dimension. Since your potential winnings can change drastically over the course of a game, a good cash out strategy can actually give you the biggest win in a match. On the flip side, it can save you from losing a stake if things don't go according to plan.

Keep an Eye on Your Stake

This is another tip that only applies to spread betting. One of the aspects that make spread betting so exciting is the fact that you can win or lose much more than with traditional betting. The main risk is that you can lose more than you bargained for – so keep an eye on your stake to make sure you don't lose more than you are prepared to.


Spreadex is our first choice for basketball spread betting, and when looking at the site, it's clear to see why. The UK bookmaker simply has an overwhelming number of leagues and events to bet on – with a huge number of betting options for each event.

The operator offers detailed pre-match statistics as well as in-play information, perfect for bettors who want to keep themselves informed while betting. Information on bet types is easily accessible on the website, and Spreadex also has an impressive ‘Basketball Spread Betting Explained' section.

Overall, the site is perfect for basketball spread betting, especially for beginners, as you can also bet on fixed odds if you prefer. The only minor downside is the lack of a spread-specific welcome bonus. Follow the link for a more detailed review of Spreadex!

Sporting Index

Sporting Index focuses exclusively on spread betting and, in general, is considered the market leader. The basketball section is hyper-focused on the NBA – the biggest basketball league in the world.

Sporting Index is an excellent site for spread betting. If you want to bet mainly on the NBA, this is the site for you, but if you are looking for other leagues, most aren't available.

The markets are detailed, and explanations are also readily available as well. Finally, they have a great help centre including an FAQ section, a 24/7 call centre and live chat service from 8 am to 11 pm. Follow the link for a more detailed guide to Sporting Index!

This is it. The big question. Which is better, spread betting or fixed odds? There are heaps of benefits betting have many advantages, and of course each carries with it its own set of risks that may affect your choice between spread and fixed odds betting.

The Difference Between Fixed Odds and Spread Betting

There is a whole range of differences that give spread betting a unique look and style; here are some of the most important of these.

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    Odds – Odds are displayed completely differently.

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    Stake – In spread betting, your initial stake is not the potential amount you can lose – the ceiling can be higher or lower. The stake is the amount you decide to wager per point.

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    Winnings – With spread betting, the winnings can fluctuate dramatically during a match, unlike fixed odds which cannot be changed once the bet is placed.

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    Markets – The markets can vary wildly between these 2 types of betting, especially in spreads.

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    Cash out – Cash outs are a crucial part of basketball spread betting, as you can win the highest possible amount or avoid the biggest losses by cashing out early.

Below we've listed the best advantages and disadvantages of each type of bet to help you decide what is right for you.

Pros & Cons of Basketball Spread Betting

  • An exciting way to bet on basketball
  • A high-scoring sport making it perfect for spread betting
  • A wide selection of markets to choose from
  • Potential winnings can be much higher
  • The more you are right, the more you win
  • Once understood, spread betting can be quite simple and fun
  • Most bets can last the entire four quarters making a game more interesting
  • Understanding spread betting may be tricky at first
  • Your potential losses could be high making it very risky
  • Your winnings could fluctuate rapidly, leaving you with smaller winnings or even losses.

Pro & Cons of Basketball Fixed Odds Betting

  • It’s a classic, and you already know how it works
  • More leagues and competitions available for basketball betting
  • More markets available to bet on
  • You can only lose what you stake
  • Your potential winnings are known when placing the bet
  • Fixed winnings mean no chance of winning more
  • Markets aren’t as in depth for most events

If you're looking for a way to spice up your betting on the sport, then basketball spread betting could be the best option. This exciting type of bet is brilliant, but it's not for beginners, so make sure you understand what you're getting yourself into. This article and our top bookmakers are the best way to get started with spread betting. Good luck!

There are many different markets, but primarily it is about betting on an over or under spread of the total points scored in a game or quarter.

In our opinion, SpreadEX and Sporting Index are two of the best sites for basketball spread betting.

Yes, it's a great way to bet on a spread. You can even use it to your advantage, as knowing how a team is playing could be a great indicator of what the spread will end up looking like.

Cashing out is a major part of basketball spread betting and can give you bigger wins or smaller losses if you make them at the right time.

WRITTEN BY Jeremy Sant Fournier View all posts by Jeremy Sant Fournier

If there’s one thing Jeremy loves, it’s sports. A football fanatic at heart, Jeremy can always been found watching, playing or talking about sports. It’s in his blood, and with a keen interest in sports betting, sports writing is a match made in heaven.

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