Handicap Basketball Betting Levels the Playing Field for the Punter

September 6, 2015
WArriors the bet on the Handicap

Handicap basketball betting betting typically adds points to one team before the start of the game. This is done to try and level the playing field between a favourite team and an underdog team.

Handicap Basketball Betting Explained

Handicap betting is a valuable tool for punters when one team is highly favored over the other team. To balance the alleged bias in strength, bookmakers offer a handicap to even the playing field.


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The Handicap basketball betting number often displayed as either – or + a figure, such as -6.5 or +6.5 points is factored into the final results to determine the match’s results for the purpose of the wager. This means that the handicap outcome is at times different from the true result.

For instance, look at these two handicap wagers:

Warriors: (+6.5) 2.0

Indiana: (-6.5) 1.8

If Indiana won the match (100-96), wagers on their handicap would lose. This is because for the purpose of this wager they started the match with -6.5 points, and therefore the bookmakers would have to subtract 6.5 from the final results.

This makes the event outcome 93.5-96 in the Warrior’s favour.

If Indiana won 105-95, the adjusted handicap outcome will be 98.5- 95, which means the Indiana still win.

Basketball Betting Rules

  • For bets to stand at least 35 minutes of play must have elapsed.
  • Betting on the game handicap, money line or total points (under or over) include any overtime scoring unless otherwise stated.
  • Overtime only counts to determine the game handicap, money line, and total points (under or over) and not a two game series outcome.
  • Overtime will not count to fourth quarter betting.
  • Half Time/Full Time- Overtime does not count towards the half time/full time result.
  • Unless stated before a competition, all matches must be played on the stipulated date and at the planned location to have action.
  • Matches/events must be played on the stipulated dates for the wagers to be valid. For re-scheduled matches played on the same day at a different time, the wagers will be valid.

However, if a match is re-scheduled for a different date, all wagers will be void.

Basketball Betting Systems

Few sports are better suited to bet on than Handicap basketball betting. It is a simple sport for even the most casual sports fan to grasp.

There’re a variety of ways to gamble on basketball, all of which are very easy to understand.

Possibly the most common basketball wager involves betting a point spread.

You don’t necessarily have to predict the winner, you are just wagering on how many points your favourite team will win or lose by.

Another well-known basketball wager is under/over, or total.

Here the bookmaker sets a total number of points that both teams are believed to score in a match. The punter either bets the teams will score under or over the predicted total.

Money Line wager

The money line is probably the simplest wager. Here the punter is required to predict the winning team.

Favourite teams usually pay less than the underdogs in Handicap basketball betting.

As long as basketball wagering has been around, punters have been developing systems to improve on the odds.

A good basketball betting system allows punters to place a good number of bets without investing a lot of time researching on the games. It also enables punters to exploit current trends for immediate proceeds.

There’re almost limitless numbers of basketball betting systems. Some involve fairly complex math.

For instance, a punter might create a formula from statistics variables such as the winning probabilities of both teams.

A punter might also choose to bet against a team at the end of a road trip, when psychological or physical weariness could have serious effect on players.

This strategy could also be used for a smart under/over wager.

Another strategy involves finding a match where bookmakers have set the total evenly.

If the teams play each other less frequently, or are from rival leagues, betting the over can be a winning strategy.

Basketball Spread Betting

When you play the spread, you are not wagering whether your favourite team will lose or win the game, you are wagering how many points they may lose or win by.

Spread betting can make the most uneven event interesting.

You can gamble on the expansion team to rise to the occasion and not lose by 20, or bet that your favourite team will win in a blowout.

You can also wager that the underdog team will keep it close against the defending champion playing on home court.

How to calculate the probability of betting odds & payout

Basketball spread betting lines are recognizable by the use of the – or + symbols.

When a team has a spread line with a + sign, it indicates that the team should lose the match by fewer number of points that what is stipulated in the line or win the match outright.

The – sign indicates that the team must win the match by a greater number of points than what is stipulated in the line.

We have touched on many aspects of basketball betting including the rules, systems and strategies along with using the spread to place wagers on basketball.

Hopefully you will now have a better understanding of handicap betting on basketball and can utilise these insights to become a profitable player when pitted against the bookmakers.

Author Andy

I have been placing bets online for over 25 years and specialise in horse racing bets and the different types available. If there's anything you need to know about betting I can advise using my expertise gained over this time.

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