Best Basketball Betting Strategies – 2022 Guide

Basketball is a sport that attracts millions of viewers each week and the betting market for it is growing pretty rapidly too but whilst sports like football and soccer are well documented for how you can make money from them the same cannot be said for baseball.

Well, we’re aiming to change that with an overview of different betting strategies that will help you make money from basketball betting.

So, how do you make money by betting on basketball?

Matched betting


That’s right, the art of matched betting is something that is fairly well known amongst punters nowadays. That said, very few of those who are aware of it actually use the strategy to make money. You can and you should.

Matched betting is a method of betting that guarantees a profitable outcome by utilising the countless free bets offered by bookmakers. In order to capitalise on these offers you generally have to follow two steps.

First, you place a bet on one outcome with a traditional bookie and then you follow that up by ‘laying’ off the same bet at a betting exchange.

Your ‘back’ bet is essentially saying ‘I bet that team A will beat team B’. Your ‘lay’ bet says the opposite – ‘I bet that team A will not beat team B’.

An example of a traditional matched bet


The world of NBA betting is perhaps the obvious one that springs to mind but, for now, we’ll look to the Euro League.

Fenerbahçe and Valencia lock horns on Friday with Valencia available to ‘back’ at odds of 2.05.

A $10 free bet on Valencia at 2.05 returns $10.50 profit (you’d likely lose your free bet stake under terms and conditions).

Now, you can also ‘lay’ against Valencia at 2.04. You could lay with $5.41 liability (this is the amount you’d “lose” if Valencia win). If, however, Valencia fail to win then you’d win $5.10 – your ‘lay’ stake minus a small commission.

So, when game day rolls around, if Valencia win, you lose on the betting exchange but walk away with your bookmaker winnings and if Valencia fail to win you’d lose zero at the bookies (it’s a free bet) and win at the betting exchange. Either way, you’d walk away with around $5.10 profit.

There are countless opportunities like this from week to week. You can also find NBA daily free picks if you click here:

The Kelly Criterion method

This strategy is markedly different from the guaranteed winning machine that is matched betting. This is because one utilises free bets and the other is a mathematical calculation that determines value between the bookmaker odds and the actual probability.

It’s a method that has long been used by stockbrokers and has more recently transitioned into the world of sports.

An example of the Kelly method


Job number one is finding an event that peaks your interest. Let’s say you spot Chicago Bulls at 2.20 to beat the Memphis Grizzlies. You then apply your own research and expert knowledge to ascertain that the Bulls have a 55% chance of winning.

Now you’re at this point in the process you have to calculate the ‘overlay’, which is best explained as the available value. To do this, you follow the below calculation:

(0.55 * 2.20) – 1 = 0.21

This can be simplified as (probability * odds) – 1 = true value

In the scenario above, you would see the Bulls as offering 21% value. This is good. Anything that drops below zero I.e. into a negative would be considered as a bet to avoid.

You’re not done yet though, you still need to establish a stake to wager. The Kelly Criterion strategy starts off with a defined bankroll – call is $100 for the purposes of our walkthrough. You can then use the calculated value of your bet to determine an appropriate stake; the better the value, the bigger the stake. The maths works as follows:

0.21 / (2.20 – 1) = 0.175 or 17.5%

The explanation of the above is:

Calculated value / (odds – 1) = a percentage of your bankroll to stake

So, with the above all considered and a bankroll of $100 the method suggest you should be wagering $17.50 on a Chicago Bulls win. The principles behind the Kelly Criterion method are that whilst you won’t win every bet, a consistent approach to finding value will make you profitable in the long run.

The over or under points market


Okay, so this is a method that is very specific to basketball, the over or under points market. The great thing with these bets is that it’s a market that is always finely poised in terms of odds, which means you can pull in some handsome winnings if you know how to bet on the market effectively. So, how is it done?

Well, it all boils down to research. Every game of basketball sees two teams take each other on. Job number one is to establish their point scoring patterns and, thankfully, this is easily done.

Head over to any decent standings table – we like to use the standings on ESPN – and you should find columns that indicate their points per game and an opponent’s points per game.

These two numbers added together and divided by the total games played gives you an idea of their average.

Next up is to tailor that points average into a more meaningful period; to do that we would suggest looking at their more recent fixtures – perhaps their last six matches. How has the points per game looked? If both sets of statistics are helping to guide you to an ‘over’ or ‘under’ decision then it’s time to scratch a little deeper.

The final checks cover two things. Look at recent history where the two sides have played each other and answer the question whether or not they share high scoring games or not and, finally, there is the last minute detail – are there any glaring roster omissions that may hamper the scoring of a particular team, for example, if finals MVP LeBron James is missing from the Lakers team for a game then they’re going to carry less of a threat; it isn’t something you should ignore.

There you have it, three strategies that will help you to make money when betting on basketball.