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How to Bet on Basketball

Betting on the WNBA

WNBA Basketball Point Spread Betting

Basketball games are handicapped by adding or removing points from the team scores. Favored teams have to give up points, while underdogs are given points. In most games, the handicap allows bettors to get in the -105 to -110 range on either side.

New York Liberty +3.5 (-110)
Los Angeles Sparks -3.5 (-110)

The team with the plus sign (+) is being given 3.5 points. The team with the minus sign (-) has to give up 3.5 points.

For bets on the Sparks to win, they would need to win the game by 4 or more points. For bets on the Liberty to win, they could lose the game by 3 or fewer points, or win outright.

WNBA Money Line Betting

Money line bets are straight-up bets on which team will win the game, with no point spread involved. Instead of getting or giving up points, bettors get odds reflecting the favorite and underdog. This means it takes more money to win less on the favorite, and less money to win more on the underdog.

Indiana Fever -180
Phoenix Mercury +160

Money lines are displayed as positive (+) or negative (-). The team with the positive money line is the underdog, and the team with the negative money line is the favorite. Both money lines are based around the $100 figure, but payouts are calculated differently.

Negative money lines indicate the amount of money that would need to be wagered to win $100 in profit. Positive money lines indicate the amount of money that would be won from a $100 wager.

In the game listed above, it would require a bet of $180 to win $100 in profit on the Fever ($18 to win $10). A bet of $100 would result in a $160 profit if the Mercury were to win ($10 to win $16).

WNBA Totals Betting (Over/Under)

Totals bets are simple wagers based on the combined score of both teams during a game. So, a score of 75-70 would have a total of 145.

For each game, sportsbooks set a number for the total (also called over/under). The bettors job is to determine if the total score is too high or too low. If you think the teams will score more than the posted total, you would bet the over. If you think they’ll score fewer points, you would bet the under.

WNBA Basketball Futures & Prop Bets

Futures bets are wagers that predict the Eastern & Western Conference Champions, or the WNBA Champion. Most sportsbooks offer them well in advance of a season beginning, and cut them off soon after the season has begun.

Prop bets are any kind of wager that doesn’t fit into any of the betting categories listed above. They’re generally designed for casual bettors looking to have some fun, rather than serious cappers looking for value.

Some typical WNBA prop bets might include:

  • Which team will be first to score 20 points?
  • Over/under on how many points a player will score in a game.
  • Will team X score an even or odd number of points in a game?