Did you know that sports betting makes up between 30 to 40 percent of the global gaming market? A whopping $500 million+ is wagered globally across a wide range of sports – from soccer and horse racing, to tennis, golf, rugby, boxing and American football. In the US alone, it is estimated that the industry will generate as much as $7 billion by 2025, according to the experts at Morgan Stanley. This is a notable increase from the $833 million placed on sports bets in 2019, the investment firm reported.
Among new bettors, the most popular sport to bet on is North America’s professional basketball league, the National Basketball Association, or NBA, composed of 30 teams (29 in the US and one in Canada). While we’ll go into detail below on the reasons for the sport’s burgeoning popularity and ways to place a bet on your favored team, one of the most exciting ways to do so is to predict the margin by which one team will beat the other – particularly when a high-ranked team is playing an away game against an underdog team, i.e. on the latter’s home court.
In May, USAToday.com published a story on the new play-in games, implemented by the league to give a greater number of teams the opportunity to “make the playoffs” and “create late-season excitement”. The way the play-in games worked is as follows: the seventh and eighth placed teams in each conference played each other and the winner earned the No 7 seed. The loser of that game played the winner of the 9 – 10th game. The winner, however, became the No 8 seed. Teams 7 – 8 needed to win just one play-in game to advance, while teams 9 – 10 needed to win at least two games. Other than the above, the game of basketball remains as you’ve always known it.
Right on schedule
Remain up to speed as to who is playing whom, and when, by keeping a regular watch on the NBA Schedule. You may also like to know the title odds for each of the 30 teams this season, with the Brooklyn Nets currently top of the league at +225 and the Los Angeles Lakers second at +350. A little background on these two teams? Well, the Nets are best on paper, but whispers on the court are saying that whether they win or not depends on the fitness of their three top players – power/small forward Kevin Durant, 33; point/shooting guard James Harden, 32; and point/shooting guard Kyrie Irving, 29.
Nets’ terrible three
If your heart lies in the Brooklyn camp, reinforce passion with rationality by reading up on the power inherent in their top three players – 2x MVPs and 1x most clutch shots in history. All are elite scorers, have a place in the NBA Hall of Fame, and some are saying to have this triumvirate on one side unfairly weighs their team versus the remainder of the league. However, these guys had not played many games in tandem before the playoffs kicked off – just 20, according to those in the know. We’ll let you mull their record over.
Then there’s the Los Angeles Lakers, who were doomed in 2020 due to a groin strain to their power forward and center Anthony Davis, 28. Ball-aching ouch! But then they acquired point guard Russell Westbrook, 32, from the Washington Wizards, and other strong additions – power/small forward Carmelo Anthony, 37; point/shooting guard Kendrick Nunn, 26; shooting guard/small forward Trevor Ariza, 36; and shooting/point guard Malik Monk, 23. If this is the team tugging at your heart strings, intriguing purple and gold storylines to tug you one way or the other include: age (does it make for experience or easier injury?); key players (can Le Bron James and/or Anthony Davis rebound, as required?).
Bucks rise up
Sure, there’s a significant distance between the second-ranked Lakers and the team with the next best odds – the Milwaukee Bucks, at +800. But they’re the defending champs, so here’s why you shouldn’t overlook them when you next place a bet. They’ve lost power forward/centre PJ Tucker, 36 (now with Miami Heat) and shooting/point guard Bryn Forbes, 28 (now with San Antonio Spurs). Still, new additions shooting guard/small forward Grayson Allen, 25; point/shooting guard George Hill, 35; and shooting guard/small forward Rodney Hood, 28, have certainly allowed the Bucks to consolidate their offering; along with returning shooting/point guard Donte DiVincenzo, 24, should his previous ankle injury now be a thing of the past.
Fourth-best team? The Warriors are close behind at +1 000 odds, but they’ve added a mix of youth (Kuminga and Moody) and veteran skill (Iguodala, Porter Jr and Bjelica) this offseason. Plus Klay Thomson’s long-awaited return is in their favor. Anything could happen.
Any NBA betting pro you speak to will know the difference between the following six options: a Line/Spread, a Moneyline, a Parlay/Teaser, a 1st Quarter/1st Half, a Halftime and a Futures bet. Want to tackle any, or all, of the above with an intelligent level of knowledge? Read up online all you can, chat to the pros you know and consider their definitions below:
- Line/Spread: The number chosen by Las Vegas and/or overseas oddsmakers which is likely to get an equal number of people to wager on the underdog as on the favorite.
- Moneyline: Wagering on the contest based on a given price, rather than a point spread i.e. the team wagered to win the game outright, regardless of end score.
- Parlay/Teaser: An exchange of points for volume, where the bettor buys a certain number of points and, in return, must parlay (place two or more bets linked together to create one bet with a greater payout) in two or more sections.
- 1st Quarter/1st Half: The period of time in one section of a basketball game, usually 12 minutes each for NBA game quarters.
- Halftime: A type of bet in which sportsbooks offer a reset to 0 – 0 at halftime.
- Futures: A bet placed on something that is going to happen, or be determined, in the future i.e. the winner of the next NBA championship.
The excitement continues
Yeah, we’ve only just touched on what the game of NBA basketball can offer you. There’s plenty more, of course. Other reasons to get into this game include the de-stressing action of getting mesmerised by something, how electrifying the speed and skill can be for spectators, that the game is relatively accessible for sporting fans of all kinds, and that this championship offers a surprise a minute.
Never think a wager on one of the top two teams is going to cut it. You have been warned.