How to Bet on European Basketball
22 May 2019
Most American Basketball fans would be hard pushed to believe the sport exists outside of the great NBA, but the sport is now thriving in Europe with some great national leagues and European competitions that have even attracted former NBA players to cross the water to take part.
With European basketball improving all the time, thanks in part to large investments, it is becoming more and more common to find people betting on the sport outside of America and Canada.
Top European Basketball Leagues
Not too many years ago, back in the 1980’s and 1990’s, basketball betting outside of the NBA was rightly considered to be a dull and inferior sport compared to the glitz and glamour over in America.
Now, with investment and all-around improvements, European Basketball leagues are considered to be exciting, star-studded, and enthralling in their own right.
Perhaps the top Basketball league in Europe is the Spanish Liga ACB, where eighteen teams compete each season. The teams are mostly named the same as teams in the football league, with Real Madrid being the most successful team in the leagues history.
Other top leagues include Italy’s Lega Basket Serie A, France’s LNB Pro A, the Greek Basket League, and Russia’s VTB United League.
In Britain, the British Basketball League is the top professional league but it isn’t on a par with the top European leagues at this time.
As well as heavy investment in the sport from a lot of European countries, players from America moving to ply their trade in Europe helped the sport move on and improve. These players, many of whom missed out on being drafted in the NBA or had retired from the NBA, seemed to give the European leagues validation.
Alongside the many top leagues, there are also several club competitions with the most prestigious being the EuroLeague. The equivalent to the Champions League in Football, the EuroLeague is contested by sixteen teams who compete through a round robin league format, with the top eight qualifying for the play-offs.
These play-offs are contested over a best-of-five series and the winners qualify for the Final Four. The Final Four, held at a different venue each year, then sees two semi finals, a third place game, and the final all held.
Betting on European Basketball
The betting markets available for European Basketball are the same as you would find in the NBA, with three main markets.
• Moneyline – The match result market where you bet on which team you think will win
• Points Totals – An over/under market where you bet on the total points scored will be higher or lower than a number set by the bookmaker
• Handicap – Each team will start with either a – (favourite) or a + (outsider) and bettors can bet on whether they think the favourite will win despite their minus start or whether the outsider will win the bet, even if they lose the match, because they have a plus start.
Other markets available for each match, especially in the bigger leagues from Spain, Italy, and France include:
• Home Team Total Points Over/Under
• Away Team Total Points Over/Under
• First Quarter Match Betting
• First Quarter Points Over/Under
• First Quarter Handicap Betting
• First Half Match Betting
• First Half Points Over/Under
• Player Total Points
• Player Total Assists
• Player Total Rebounds
There are also the usual outright betting markets available for each league, where bettors can bet on markets such as league champion, Player of the Year etc.
How to Bet on European Basketball
Betting on European Basketball may be growing in popularity and have the same markets as the NBA, but it will require a little more work to improve your chances of making a profit.
Study Different Leagues
Enhanced statistics are widely available for the NBA but they may be harder to find for each individual league in Europe. It is down to you to search for this information and find out as much as you possibly can about the league or leagues you wish to bet on.
Betting blindly on a sport or league you know little about is a sure way of going broke, so ensure the maximum amount of research is carried out before a single bet is placed. Find out things such as, top teams, top players, statistical information from the last couple of seasons, which teams perform better at home than they do away or vice versa, number of points scored or conceded by each team on average, does the league generally see high or low scoring matches, which players score the most points, rebounds or assists.
All this information will give you the knowledge you need to make informed betting decisions and improve your chances of winning.
Specialise in a Certain League or Leagues
With so many Basketball leagues in Europe it will be difficult for you to become as knowledgable as you need to be about all of them. So, we recommend that you specialise. Study as much as you can on one or two of the more popular leagues, as well as maybe the EuroLeague, and only place bets on matches in these leagues or tournaments.
This is a way of increasing your profit potential by decreasing the amount of bets you will have without the required knowledge.
Study Recent Stats and Team News
Just the same as in football, recent statistics and team news are two extremely important things to know before placing a bet.
Obviously, recent form and possibly head to head stats will tell you if a team is performing well, if they have a good record against their next opposition, if they’ve struggled away recently, etc. All the information you need to improve your chances of placing a winning bet.
From this you can work out which team is more likely to win, average expected points for each team and in total, and whether one team should win by a wide margin.
Perhaps even more important than the statistics is the team news, especially if teams are competing in another continental competition. These teams may rest most of their squad, including key players, and that gives bettors the chance of finding value in backing the opposition or utilising the handicap market.
The betting odds will still probably only reflect the difference in league position of the teams etc, and not the fact that the favourites are missing their best players.
Another thing to look out for is injured players and how much of an impact their absence will have on the team as a whole. Some teams rely heavily on key players and without them may not be anywhere near as good.
For the most part, a team missing one or two key players shouldn’t make that much of a difference to the outcome of the match. However, if bettors know this information they can look further into the teams performances without those key players and may find an edge they didn’t previously have.