Basketball Handicap Betting Guide

There are many different ways in which you can bet on basketball games and that is one of the main appealing elements of betting on this sport (read this – basketball betting strategy). When it comes to the most popular ways to bet though, basketball handicap betting is right up there with the other top basketball betting markets. 

Many people who enjoy a wager on basketball do so on the handicap line, it is a great way to either back favourites for a big success or back the underdog to keep things close. The lines are fairly simple to understand and that means they can be used by punters of all types, from those betting for the first time to those who are far more experienced. 


🏀 How to handicap basketball games?

If you think favourite of the basketball game will win very easily, so by handicapping you get better odds when betting on moneyline. If you want handicap underdog team then there is more chance of them winning as your bet could win even though they lose the game. 

🏀 What is spread in basketball betting?

Spread betting is when bookmakers predicts that the favored team will win by a certain number of points.

🏀 Is spread basketball betting is same as handicap basketball bet?

✅ Yes, spread betting is same as handicap betting.

🏀 Its possible to find asian handicap basketball market?

Asian handicap term is more used for football bets. But asian handicap bet is same as handicap or spread bet.

🏀 What is in play handicap betting?

In play handicap betting when these lines will go in play and changing depending on how the game is going. So you can read a game and work out what will happen next, when place your bets and get a great deals before odds change.

🏀 What is handicap betting NBA?

Handicap betting in the NBA is way different from College basketball or European basketball betting. The NBA is a little different league because here you can find a lot of games and some teams will not play 100% motivated, so on NBA betting you should take different handicap betting strategies.

If you’ve never placed a bet on the handicap line but you would like to give it a go then here is our guide to handicap betting on basketball. If you are interesting in betting with cryptocurrency, check best crypto bet sites.

Table of content

What is a Basketball Handicap Betting Line? 

First up, what is a handicap in basketball betting? For those who don’t know, handicap lines are fictional lines that bookmakers create for betting purposes. The idea of this line is to make the two teams even for betting purposes. 

If a strong favourite exists in a game, they will have a deficit to overcome on the handicap line. The underdog will get a head start and that is used to balance up the game. 

nba basketball handicap betting explained tips handicapping

Those backing the favourite will not only need their team to win, but they will need to win by enough points to cover the handicap line. For example, a line set of -7.5 points means that the favourite needs to win by eight points to cover the handicap basketball spread betting.

If you back an underdog with a head start then they can either win the game, draw or lost by a score lower than the handicap line. Using the example above, if your teams is +7.5 that means you will win if they win the game, draw the game or lose by seven points or less. 

It is harder for the favourite to win using the handicap basketball line, so you will get a better price than backing them on the standard money line. However, if you are backing the underdog then there is more chance of them winning as your bet could win even though they lose the game, for this reason, the underdogs will be a shorter price on the handicap line than the money line. 

what is handicap betting nba basketball example

One important point to note here is that the betting online companies may offer slightly different handicap lines so make sure you look around for good value. Usually, you look for the price so you get the best price but with handicap betting, you need to look for the best line as well as the best price. 

If games are close to the line, getting a bad handicap basketball line could mean you lose a bet that would be deemed a winner elsewhere, so you must shop around, perhaps more so than with any other type of betting. 

NBA Handicap Betting Explained. Spread Betting Basketball

NBA handicap betting is a little different to other types of basketball such as European basketball and handicap college basketball betting. The reason for this is because the NBA is set up very differently from these other leagues.

In the NBA, there is no reason to win big, so teams lack the motivation to run up a big score, and often they are playing very soon after, so they want to conserve energy. This is something you need to look out for. NBA teams want to win, they don’t know the handicap you’ve taken, and even if they have a superior edge over their opponents, they may not be interested in showing that. A five-point win to them is the same as a 20-point win, but to you, it could be the difference between winning or losing a bet, depending on what handicap basketball betting you took.

what is spread handicap in basketball betting

Alternative Handicap Lines

If you want to take your handicap betting in basketball to the next level then after you have gained some experience with the lines you can search for alternative lines. Most bookmakers offer these, though not all, so make sure you are with a bookmaker that offers excellent basketball betting markets.

Alternative handicap lines offer you different lines to bet on, with bigger odds available. Handicap betting basketball example: if the standard line is set at -7.5 but you think the team can win by even more than that, you can choose a bigger line, let’s say -10.5, and get bigger odds on that line, because the chances of winning are smaller. 

It is this type of work you need to put in if you want to take your betting to the next level and make more profit, and these alternative lines can certainly come in useful if you think the standard line is not big enough and you want more value. 

handicap basketball bet spread betting markets

In-Play Handicap Betting

The emergence of in-play betting has been seen across many sports including basketball. Handicap basket lines will go in play, and these will change depending on how the game is going. Again, this means shopping around as both the lines and odds will be different depending on your bookmaker. 

Like any type of in-play betting, if you can read a game well and work out what will happen next, you can place your bets and get a great deal before the odds change. Look for big momentum swings in games, where teams quickly rack up points and you will see the handicap line change considerably. Bet at the right time and you will put yourself in a fantastic position for the game. 

Basketball Handicap Betting Tips

By adding the handicap line to your bet, you are adding another element and for that reason, you need to have strong sporting knowledge to use NBA or other league lines. However, use them correctly and there is certainly value out there for you to take advantage of this basketball handicap tips.

spread betting asian handicap college bet basketball

The simplest way to use these lines, and the place to start for beginners, is with favourites who you fancy to win with ease. Pick out some of these and place this type of bet first before you start exploring alternative handicap lines or picking out underdogs with a head start. 

If you can back some favourites with success then you are going to be rewarded with a far bigger price than you would have been given on the money line market, where they will be short. 

Things are harder, so basketball losses will come more often, but on the opposite side of that, when the wins come, you will see more profit from your bets. 

Areas to look at when making your selections include the schedule and what travel teams have had to complete before the game. Anything that could make a team tire during the game is a reason to look at the handicap line as the opposition may run away with things and build up a big winning margin.

What is the Best Basketball Handicapping Strategy?

Understanding basketball handicapping you take and how a game will play out, in the end, is vital to choosing the best handicap bet basketball line and being a successful basketball handicap gambler. If you can get this right, and use a market that will be benefitted from the nature of the game at the end, you are likely to find yourself in a good position on many occasions. Here are two examples where your market can be helped and hurt by the game scenario.

Increase Money Line Odds with Small Handicaps

When you look at a game, to get the most from your betting handicap basketball, you need to understand what may happen at the end. Here is one example, where you can use the game to get a better deal by taking the handicap line instead of the money line.

handicap 10.5 basket 4.5 5.5 7.5 basketball

If the line is small, there is a chance that the end of the game will make your line a winner. Even a line of handicap 4.5 basketball or handicap 5.5 basketball can really boost your odds when compared to the money line.  At the end of the game, if things are tight and your team is winning narrowly, the opposing team will likely try to foul and get the ball back.

This gives your team free-throw chances to extend their lead, usually resulting in winning by 5-7 points. By this happening, your team is gifted a chance to win on the handicap line, as well as the money line, but you are getting the bigger handicap odds.

Be Wary of Big Handicap Lines

If you are looking for bigger odds and to add more value, a line such as the handicap 7.5 basketball line can be used. You must know the risk associated with this though before you make your bets. There are some bigger lines too, such as the handicap 10.5 basket line, but these are what you should avoid.

how to handicap betting in basketball games

Teams do not know the lines and aren’t interested in them. If a team is up by seven or eight points, they have no motivation to keep going hard and increasing their lead. When you take a big handicap line, you are hoping for a big lead, but the teams don’t want to do this.

More often than not, even the best teams will cruise to victory in the end, it is rare we see wins of 10+ points because of this. With this in mind, make sure you think very carefully when choosing your line, and try to avoid the bigger ones such as the 10.5 handicap line.

Dalius Mikalauskas

Sports Betting Expert

Dalius became interested in sports betting at the age of 16, although he could not place bets at that time (bets accepted from the age of 18). However, it was not forbidden to sell betting picks, which is what the author did actively on sports betting forums. Today, he has more than 18 years of experience in sports betting. In school, the auth ..
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