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Check out our featured game of the day with best given odds. In order to place a smart bet make sure you read trough our preview of the game and injury report. We are here to minimize your daily online research and help you make the right betting decision.

Among sports bettors, only football is more popular than basketball. Like football, the most common hoops wagers are point spread bets.

The early history of basketball has some ties to sports betting. In the early 1950′s, there was a major point-shaving scandal in college basketball involving the University of Kentucky. In the days long before the NCAA basketball tournament became a huge sporting event, the scandal was significant because Kentucky was one of the elite programs in college hoops.

In the 1950′s, the NBA was also in its early stages. A decade later, pro and college hoops experienced some growth. However, basketball was still behind baseball in popularity. Football’s popularity grew rapidly in the 1960′s as well to put basketball in the third spot among popular sports.

While basketball’s growth lagged in the 1970′s, the sport was about to take off in the 1980′s. The launch of ESPN and other sports cable television networks came along at the perfect time for pro and college hoops. The NBA had a couple of new star players to build its league around in the early 1980′s. Earvin “Magic” Johnson of the Los Angeles Lakers and Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics would dominate the decade.

The expanded TV coverage enabled fans and bettors to see more NBA action than ever before. In college basketball, the concept of March Madness was about to take off. The expansion of the NCAA basketball tourney led to the entire tournament being telecast by CBS beginning in 1981. These developments in the 1980′s have carried basketball’s popularity into the present day. Only the Super Bowl surpasses the first four days of the NCAA basketball tournament among sports betting events.

Basketball Betting Basics

As mentioned earlier, the most popular basketball bets are point spread wagers. Because basketball is the highest scoring major sport, the point spread enables bookmakers to provide a leveling wagering number for bettors to evaluate.

Typical NBA games will have between 190 and 210 points while college hoops contests will have well over 100 points scored in a standard game. Here is what a typical NBA line might look like:

Lakers (+2) Celtics (-2)

As the favored team, Boston would need to win by three points or more for the bettor to win his bet. If Los Angeles is bet, the Lakers must win the game or lose by just a single point for the bettor to win. Totals or over/under bets are the next most popular in basketball. In these type of wagers, the bookmaker sets a number related to the projected number of total combined points that the two basketball squads will score in the game. The bettor then wagers on whether the total points scored will be over or under the posted total that was set by the bookmaker.

Money line or straight bets can also be placed on pro and college basketball games. In these wagers, the bet is simply on which team will win the game without any regard to the margin of victory.

While pro and college basketball games have many similarities, there are some differences that bettors need to be aware of. The NBA regular season is a grind. 30 teams play 82 games in a span of less than six months. Because the majority of NBA teams end up making the playoffs, the regular season action lacks some urgency. Bettors need to focus on the schedules of teams to spot some potential advantages. Teams can get worn down on extensive road swings or when they have to play on consecutive nights. Once the playoffs start, the intensity is turned up to another level. For most postseason games, the over/under totals will be lower than in the regular season. While many teams might play some passive defense in the regular season, these same clubs will contest every shot in the playoffs.

College basketball’s season is basically broken down into three stages.

In November and December, teams will begin their seasons with non-conference action. Clubs are in the process of finding themselves at this point.

In January and February, conference play begins. In these contests, the action is usually a lot more intense. There are several rivalry games that feature passionate home fans.

Finally, there are the conference tourneys and the NCAA tournament. These games are played on neutral floors which is a change from most of the regular season.

The growth of online sportsbooks has given basketball bettors some expanded options when it comes to wagering on a game. Bettors can wager on all four quarters of an NBA game. Many online sportsbooks have player props for pro and college basketball games. In these type of bets, the book might set odds on how a couple of the top players on each squad will fare against each other in terms of points scored.

There are even some online books that offer live betting on pro and college basketball games. Once the games tip off, the books will offer in-progress lines at various points throughout the game. As a new decade is getting underway, the future of basketball betting should continue to evolve.