Basketball Betting Sites & Offers

basketballBasketball is not like Netball and don’t believe anyone who tells you different. When was the last time you saw Beyoncé at a Netball match?

Whatever side of the globe you live on Basketball is now massive. Watch the Olympics and you will see it is the most competitive ‘American Sport’ around, loved all over the world. Euro basketball in fact is more popualr in many Scandinavian and Eastern European countries than football!

There are plenty of decent basketball betting sites around with good market coverage, odds and critically top offers. These are not limited to the NBA and you can now find many Euro Basketball promotions too. Below you will find the latest and best long term basketball offers and associated terms, further down see our recommended basketball betting sites.

Euro Basketball Bonus

Bet365’s Euro Basketball offer gives you the chance to earn a bonus of up to 50% on your Men’s European Basketball accumulators. This applies to Europe’s premier club competitions, the Euroleague and the Eurocup, in addition to Spain’s Liga ACB, Italy’s Lega 1 and the German Bundesliga. Place a pre-match accumulator with bet365 of 2 or more selections combining teams in any of the above competitions and, if successful, the relevant bonus will be added to your winnings.

The bonus will not apply where a stake has been fully Cashed Out. Where a stake has been partially Cashed Out, the bonus will be calculated based on the remaining active stake and the maximum bonus that you can receive is £100,000 or currency equivalent. If a qualifying bet is edited using the Edit Bet feature, the bonus will be calculated based on the new stake. Where a bet has been edited to include or amend a selection for an event that is In-Play, the bonus will no longer apply.

Bets placed with Bet Credits or combination bets with bonuses such as Lucky 15’s or Lucky 31’s do not apply for this offer. T&Cs apply. Only available to new and eligible customers.

Bet365 also offer a Parlay bonus for US basketball, read about this on our American Football page.

T&Cs Apply, 18+ Only
Basketball Live Bet Club
Unibet In Play Free Bet Club

The Unibet in play club allows you to earn a weekly free bet if you bet on basketball in play markets. For placing 5 or more £10 or greater bets with minimum odds of evens+ between Monday and Sunday you will receive a £10 in-play free bet with a 7 days expiry.

If you bet live on basketball any way this is a good way to add a little extra value to your wagers over time. You can also place football, tennis, darts and cricket bets in-play and these will also count to the weekly qualifying requirement

T&Cs Apply, 18+ Only
Free Bets & Money Back
betway basketball free bet

Betway don't have a fixed offer for Basketball but can be relied on for short term match/tournament specific free bets, bonuses and insurance offers.

Free bets tend to be things like 'bet £5 on a certain market/match/tournament get a £5 free bet', alternatively you may find offer such as money back 'if the last score is a three pointer', etc.

A must have betting site for anyone who bets regularly on Basketball, especially if you bet on big games.

T&Cs Apply, 18+ Only
American Dream Money Back
888 sport american dream offer

Pick 5 or more NBA selections with a minimum price of 3/10 (1.30) per pick and get a refund as a freebet (valid 7 days for any sports markets) if one doesn’t come in for you. Min bet £5 and Free bets are awarded in £5 increments.

Can be mixed with NFL, MLS, MLB and NHL picks too.

T&Cs Apply, 18+ Only
Any Basketball Bonuses

Best basketball accumulator bonus in existence, high limits (£10,000 extra) and pays in cash with as little as 5 winning selections. The acca works with any sports markets, therefore any basketball. You can mix up the acca with multiple sports too if you want to, each leg just has to have odd of at least 1/5 (1.20).

Get 10% for a five or six fold, 15% 7-fold, 20% 8-fold, etc., with 5% increments up to a whopping 60% for a 16+ fold accumulator (see table).

10bet basketball acca bonus

T&Cs Apply, 18+ Only
NBA Acca Club
winner us sports accumulator bonuses

Winner give all customers a bonus from 5% (doubles) to 50% (12-fold+) up to £5000 (cash) combined with acca insurance giving you a stake refund (as a free bet) if one NBA lets you down up to £25 on 5+ multiples. Min odds of 1/2+ each leg.

This is the only deal that covers both options giving you security if one prediction doesn’t come in along with extra winnings if all your predictions are correct.

T&Cs Apply, 18+ Only

Best Basketball Bookmakers & Betting Sites

One of the only sites to provide bonuses for both US basketball and European. Probably the biggest depth of market you will find + live streaming of Euro matches.
More basketball offers than anybody else. During the major season if you bet on basketball you will lose out by not having an account with Betway.
888 Sport take their US sports seriously and basketball, particularly NBA, is no different. Reliable offers, good features and stats and fair odds prices.
Best place to go for acca insurance for US sports, Betfred have a lot of temporary promotions too around the bigger matches too. Must have for regular bettors.
One of the better sites for higher stakes punters with bonuses, insurance and free bet loyalty offers that covers all major basketball, as well as other sports.
Good for the odd deal but the real benefit of BetVictor is their very good reliable prices for all major basketball, very professional operation.
Big continental bookie, not so good for the US game but certainly a place to visit for market depth, offers and streaming of the Euro equivalent.

Basketball History, How To Play, Rules & Events

basketball with the american flagAmerica is a country that has a fierce sense of identity. Whether it be something as serious as the right to bear arms or something as frivolous as bowling alleys and butter on popcorn, it’s a nation that knows what it’s about even if the two sides of the political divide can often seem extraordinarily divided. It’s no surprise, therefore, that the country has several sports that are appreciated there in a manner that they rarely are outside of North America. You can read about the obsession with American football elsewhere on this site. This one is all about the game that has arguably been America’s best sporting export – basketball.

Fast, frenetic and thrilling to watch, basketball is a game that plays perfectly into the American psyche. It’s no surprise that a country that can’t stand still would fall so in love with a game that feels as though it will never stop. To an outside observer it can seem manic; a sport that defines the notion of being end-to-end and action packed. Yet when you dig deep it’s actually a remarkably tactical sport and one that depends as much on the mental aptitude of its players as their physical attributes. How much do you actually know about basketball? Here we’ll explore the history of the sport as well as the basics of how it’s played, plus we’ll have a look at the big winners in the major competitions over the years.

History Of Basketball

basketball player shooting a hoop

What many people might not know about basketball is that it was invented as an alternative to football that would cause its players fewer injuries. It’s also somewhat ironic that the person who created one of America’s most loved games was actually a Canadian – a physical education instructor by the name of James Naismith. He came up with the idea when he was living in Springfield in the state of Massachusetts, needing a game that athletes could play indoors during the winter months in order to maintain their physical conditioning for when the football season started back up again. Peach baskets were used as the goals for the players to aim for, whilst soccer balls were the thing that the players were asked to throw.

One of the most interesting things around the sport’s more formative years was how much of the game was dictated by what Naismith had available to him. His class contained eighteen students, so he split them into two teams of nine. Numerous differences existed between that game and the one that we know today. For starters, the baskets were closed over originally and so players had to manually retrieve the ball if they scored. Naismith wrote down the rules to his new sport on the 21st of December 1891, but it was fifteen years later that the game truly started to take shape. That was when metal hoops were added to backboards and a proper net were all introduced. That was also when the soccer ball was replaced with a Spalding ball, which was used as the inspiration for the ones played with in the modern era.

ball going through a basketball netThe new game quickly caught the imagination, with a man named Mel Rideout organising a game in Montmartre, Paris in 1893 at about the same time that Bob Gailey was playing the sport in China, Duncan Patton was doing so in India and Genzabaro Ishikawa was introducing it to Japan.

All of them were doing so as part of the YMCA’s outreach program. Yet it was America’s involvement in the First World War that saw the sport spread further afield, with the American Expeditionary Force playing basketball throughout Europe. That’s not to say that the game wasn’t being taken seriously at home, of course. A professional league had been founded in 1898, though it was abandoned six years later in favour of a number of smaller championships on a localised scale.

Though that first league didn’t last long, the desire to have a division that monitored the relative success of teams was evident. In 1909 the Eastern Basket Ball League was formed, with the Metropolitan Basketball League coming about in 1921 and the American Basketball League coming six years later. They were all considered to be the most important leagues of the 1920s and 1930s. It was colleges that truly helped basketball to be spread around America, with the ever-popular National Collegiate Athletic Association founded in 1909. Even so, it wasn’t until after the Second World War that basketball as a professional and respected sport began to take off. That came about with the formation of the Basketball Association Of America in 1946, the organisation later merging with the National Basketball League to become the National Basketball Association.

Rules of Basketball And How To Play

basketball court outline

As mentioned in the introduction, novices would be forgiven for thinking that basketball is a game of sheer mayhem. Even those with more than a passing interest in the sport might still struggle to know exactly what’s going on one hundred percent of the time, thanks to the occasionally convoluted rules that can take some getting used to. Unlike in Naismith’s day, the game nowadays is played with five players on each team. There are also players on the bench, with a maximum of eight of these allowed in NBA games.

The aim of it is to score more points than the opposition by getting the ball through the hoop and basket that is located at the end of the playing surface and ten feet off the ground. Before that, though, the first objective is to get the ball across the mid-court line, which a team has to do within ten seconds of starting the game. If the team with the ball fails to do that then the opposition will take possession of the ball.

Much as with American football, the team with the ball is referred to as the offense and the one without it is labelled the defense. Players on the offensive side attempt to get the ball towards the basket at the other end by passing it to each other or dribbling it up field. If dribbling, a player must bounce the ball consistently and they are not allowed to ‘travel’, which means move up the court whilst carrying the ball rather than bouncing it. The defensive side, meanwhile, attempts to claim the ball for themselves by stealing it from an opponent, deflecting passes, grabbing rebounds and contesting shots.

how to play basketball cartoon

On the court there are numerous markings, with one of the most important being a semi-circular arc that denotes the three-point line. If a player scores a basket from outside that line then they get three points, whilst a basket netted from within the line is worth two points. If a player is fouled outside of the three-point line then his team is awarded with three free shots, whilst if he’s fouled inside the line then his team’ll get two free shots. A free shot is exactly what it sounds like; there is another marking on the court from where a player is allowed to try and score a basket without any opposition player attempting to infringe upon him. If he succeeds he gets one point, meaning a possible maximum of three points for three free shots.

Another type of free shot can be awarded if a team commits a given number of fouls in one period of play. In that instance, a player gets one free shot and if they make it then they get a second one. If they miss, however, then the ball is ‘live’ as it rebounds and all players can attempt to gain the ball. Basketball games are split into timed sections, each lasting twelve minutes in the pro game. There is a short gap between each quarter with a longer one between the second quarter and the third, with that being the half-time point of the match.

Should the game be tied at its conclusion then a period of added time is played. These overtime periods vary in length according to the competition and its rules, but they’re played until a winner is found. The timing of the game can be stretched out long than the hour indicated because a team’s coach can call a Time-Out, at which point the clock is stopped and they’re allowed to speak with their team to give out tactics or instructions.

Major Basketball Competitions

basketball trophyGiven the sheer popularity of basketball, not just in America but around the world, it’s no real surprise that there are plenty of big competitions to tell you about. Obviously the NBA is the standout one, but, as you’ll learn here, there are many others that offer a large degree of interest to those that enjoy the game:

  • National Basketball Association – Unquestionably the most important and influential basketball league in the world, the NBA was founded in 1946. Thirty teams take part each season, twenty-nine of which come from the US and one of which is Canadian. They are split into two conferences with three divisions in each according to their geographical location. Each team plays forty-one games at home and the same number away. The top eight teams in each conference move forward to the play-offs in order to decide on the top NBA team in the country.
  • Women’s National Basketball Association – It says something for the sense of equality in the sport that the WNBA was set up in 1996 and is a much-respected league. Though it only has twelve teams, the Finals are watched throughout the world. It had eight when it first started and there have been up to eighteen franchises in existence at one point or another. As with the NBA, it is split into two conferences according to geographical location and the top four teams progress to the play-offs.
  • FIBA Basketball World Cup – As the title suggests, this is international basketball’s premier competition. It was founded in 1950 and thirty-two members of the International Basketball Federation compete every three or four years in order to win the Naismith Trophy.
  • Basketball at the Summer Olympics – Basketball was first accepted as a sport at the Summer Olympics in 1936, though it was a demonstration event as early as 1904. The women’s game was added in 1976. Perhaps somewhat unsurprisingly, the American men’s team won the competition in ten consecutive Olympics between 1936 and 1968. At the time of writing, Argentina is the only country still in existence to have managed to stop the dominance of the US team in either sex’s version of the sport.
  • NBA G League – Better known as the minor league basketball organisation, the NBA G League is a developmental league that is for junior players that NBA sides have on their books and are hoping to see develop. It took on the title of the ‘G League’ ahead of the 2017-2018 season when Gatorade became its official sponsor.
  • EuroBasket – If you’re a football fan then it’s worth thinking of the EuroBasket as the European Championship in comparison to the World Cup. It takes place biannually and welcomes men’s teams that come under the jurisdiction of FIBA Europe. The most successful nation to date is the Soviet Union, which should go some way to telling you how long the league has been around for. It was formed in 1934 and twenty-four teams are invited to take part in it. There’s also a women’s version that was set up in 1938, making it one of the oldest female competition’s in the game.
  • British Basketball League – The BBL is, as the name suggests, the British equivalent to the NBA. Founded in 1987, the competition sees twelve teams compete from England and Scotland every year. Unlike its American counterpart, which valued female competitors from an early stage, the Women’s British Basketball League is a relatively recent phenomenon, having only been founded in 2014.

Facts & Figures

Competition Most Successful Team
National Basketball Association Boston Celtics
Women’s National Basketball Association Houston Comets / Minnesota Lynx
FIBA Basketball World Cup United States / Yugoslavia
Men’s Basketball at the Summer Olympics United States
Women’s Basketball at the Summer Olympics United States
NBA G League Austin Spurs

Rio Grande Valley Vipers

Santa Cruz Warriors

Oklahoma City Blue

EuroBasket Soviet Union
EuroBasket Women Soviet Union
British Basketball League Newcastle Eagles
British Basketball League Nottingham Wildcats

Given the growing popularity in basketball around the world, it would be easy to list countless championships from virtually every Western civilisation. Instead we’ll just have a look at the most popular competitions listed above, giving you the headline makers from each.