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A guide to betting on the NBA and EuroLeague
Mar 14, 2022, 4:07:00 AM

A guide to betting on the NBA and EuroLeague

Basketball has become a global sport where any talented player can jump in and play ball. With players such as LeBron James and Kevin Durant dominating the court, you'll be surprised how the talent pool has changed over the years since the league's inception. 

This turned the sport into a money-making machine that the NBA and the EuroLeague have benefited from. Not only did these two leagues become profitable because of the growth of the sport and the increasing interest from fans, but so did the punters who love NBA betting and EuroLeague betting.

But first, what exactly are the differences between these two leagues and how can beginner punters place their wagers smartly and learn from the games?

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What is the difference between the NBA and EuroLeague?

The biggest difference between the NBA and EuroLeague is where the games are played. The former is played in the United States while the latter is played in Europe. There are more differences between the two leagues and they are: 

The history of both leagues

Before, you have regular players who weren't even athletes playing basketball in the 1950s NBA. During that era, there were only about two great players who were commercially recognised as freaks of nature like Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell. There was a time during the late 50s and the early 70s where only two teams for a stretch of a decade faced each other in the Finals. 

These two NBA teams are, of course, the most storied franchises in the league: the Los Angeles Lakers and the Boston Celtics. With this assessment, you can tell how competition was scarce with only two great teams participating. 

In the 80s to 90s, the NBA started to expand and look for talent elsewhere while maintaining their scouting range within the United States. This resulted in draft combines like Dirk Nowitzki from Germany and Pau Gasol from Barcelona. 

Since the NBA’s decision to scout European players, the league opened up and became the star-reliant sport that it has become now. However, Europe actually has its very own league that is now competing against the NBA in viewership and supremacy. 

Meanwhile, EuroLeague basketball also became a prominent basketball league in Europe where it is being managed by the FIBA organisation who is also in charge of the EuroCup and championship rounds. 

There have also been countless NBA players who either became EuroLeague players or were past EuroLeague players. It shows how the two leagues have worked in tandem to sign talented players regardless of where they were born. 

Despite the two sharing their national players, both have always been the centre in every basketball discussion. 

Impact of both leagues on different regions 

The second difference between the NBA and EuroLeague NBA and EuroLeague lies within the impact in their respective countries. 

Because Europe is mostly a football (soccer in American English) nation, basketball isn’t always the focus in nationally televised programs. The impact of the FIFA World Cup, for instance, is leaps and bounds beyond the hype of the Finals tournament from EuroLeague basketball. 

The NBA, one the other hand, sits very well in the eyes of American fans and have always been the second most popular sport in the United States next to the National Football League.

Teams playing

Another difference between the two would be the number of teams participating. In the EuroLeague, there are only 18 teams compared to the NBA's 30. Also, the former’s division of teams are completely arbitrary and only the first 8 teams in the seedings proceed to the playoffs where a best of 5 series will commence. 

In the NBA, teams are divided into two divisions: East and West. The Eastern states and cities like Chicago and Indiana will compete more during an 82-game season while Western states and cities will face each other more. 

In the playoffs, each conference will have the best 8 teams compete until a conference champion is crowned. Two of the champions from both the East and West will compete in the NBA Finals to earn the title and ring for the franchise. 

Skill difference of both leagues

Another difference that’s often talked about amongst sports analysts is the skill discrepancies between NBA and EuroLeague players. Each player may be unique, but the coaching style of each team adheres to the level of skills players have in the roster. 

For instance, looking at each game carefully, you’ll start noticing a difference in pace and athleticism.

In most heated debates among fans and experts, NBA players are regarded as the ‘better’ athletes compared to European players. To better understand this argument, you must first understand how the word ‘skill’ is used in basketball.

Skill refers to the basketball fundamentals like footwork, dribbling, passing, and of course, shooting.

NBA players are often faster and play stronger. They are also taller and bouncier when dribbling the ball which lead to exciting fastbreak opportunities and alley-oops that’s unprecedented in European basketball. Because there are more athletic players in the NBA like Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James, it’s arguable that the NBA has better athletes.

Note that the level of skill discrepancy only exists between the leagues and not the players’ nationalities as evident with Greek NBA player Giannis Antetokounmpo who is arguably the most athletic player in the NBA. This means that the NBA loves drafting athletically inclined players with high vertical jumps and faster motors than skillful players usually found in the EuroLeague. 

Where the EuroLeague lacks in athleticism, they make up in the skills department. The offence in EuroLeague basketball is more pronounced and there is a central focus on passing and shooting the 3-point shot. 

This is why NBA teams like the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs are ecstatic in signing overseas players because EuroLeague’s brand of basketball relies so much on actual ball movement which requires skill and basketball IQ. 

Players like Manu Ginobili and Dirk Nowitzki thrived in a system that makes the most out of their unique skill set. But, for the majority of the time, the NBA will always go for the flashier and more athletic player like Zion Williamson and Deandre Ayton who are both drafted number one overall. 

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Understanding the odds

When it comes to the important points that punters need to learn like EuroLeague betting odds and the ultimate NBA betting guide, you first have to know how to read the odds. In sports betting sites like Sportsbet, the odds will look like this:

Boston Celtics

 Brooklyn Nets



Odds of this game was held on March 7, 2022

The higher the number, the better the odds for the decimal odd system. Because Brooklyn has the better roster with the better players like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in the 2021-22 season, they have the better odds in this case. 

However, the odds tend to change depending on the situation. For instance, if reports show between the time of its announcement and the start of the game that a player got injured, the odds will quickly shift. 

This is why it’s important to watch games live and check on updates. Furthermore, the best NBA betting lines always come from the better team with a good record. Any record above .500 (or winning more than they are losing) are generally considered as good lines when wagering. 

In the EuroLeague, the same applies where better teams with good records are the preferred EuroLeague betting lines. Sometimes, the odds are also presented using the American odds or Moneyline system where (+) and (-) are displayed to portray the underdogs and the favourites, respectively. 

When betting, you’ll quickly see that the payouts when betting on the favourites are lower compared to the underdogs. This is because you have to consider the risks involved when betting on the less superior team and how bookmakers are incentivising punters when betting on the underdogs. 

Basketball betting markets

Aside from reading the odds, you also need to understand the betting markets available when placing your wagers. In EuroLeague betting tips and NBA betting tips, this should be one of the top priorities in understanding how to be a pro punter. 

Here are the different betting markets for both the NBA and EuroLeague:

Winner (incl. overtime)

Probably the most common betting market in all of sports, betting on the winner is as straightforward as its name. Punters have the choice to bet on which team they think is more likely to win in a given game. When the team they picked wins, they get the intended payouts designated by the bookmakers. 

EuroLeague and NBA MVP betting

Every season, the Most Valuable Player is awarded to the best performing NBA or EuroLeague athlete. This means that looking out for the player with the best categorical stats (points, rebounds, and assists) is wise to accurately predict who the MVP can be. 

Unlike the EuroLeague, NBA MVP betting is quite challenging because there are no rubrics to follow. The MVP award is more of a popularity contest and the player with the flashiest statlines. It also helps when the MVP’s team is performing very well that puts all the odds in that athlete winning the award. 

Best NBA player prop bets 

If you’re a beginner to the sport, NBA player prop bets may be challenging to understand. However, this is mostly due to the individual stat lines like turnovers or points scored and not the actual bet itself. 

NBA player prop bets also take into account the Player Efficiency Rating (PER) which combines all tangible stats into one that represents how the player is playing on the court. 

NBA Finals betting

The biggest event of the NBA is undoubtedly the NBA Finals. During the 7-game series, NBA Finals betting is a recurring endeavour that most punters wager on who will win the championship.

The best example of the rollercoaster ride punters have to go through is during the 2016 Finals. After the Cleveland Cavaliers went down 1-3 against a 73-9 Golden State Warriors team, the betting market quickly shifted to Golden State winning in 5 games. 

However, the game didn’t quite unfold as Warriors fans and punters have predicted as the Cavaliers rallied and defeated them in Game 7 for the city’s first ever title in 50 years. 

Nobody really knows what will happen during the Finals, and this is why it’s one of the best events for both punters and fans alike. 

All of these markets apply to EuroLeague betting offers as well but in fewer regular and postseason games. These markets are among the most profitable and popular among punters, and they are extremely diverse when betting on the different teams you come across with. 

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How to pick the best team

Picking a team might also pose a challenge for newcomers to the basketball world, but it’s actually quite easy once you know what qualities to look for. 

It may differ from EuroLeague to NBA, but generally speaking, the team with the better players wins. Unlike other sports that rely on management, coaching, and systems more, basketball only relies on its star players.

    •   How many All-Stars are there in the team?

For instance, if you have a team with Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, there’s a great chance that the team will win a title. This is exactly what happened during the 2017-2019 seasons where the Golden State Warriors with those 4 players won 2 out of 3 championships during that timespan. 

All-stars matter in the NBA because usually, the All-star voter looks at stars who average a lot of points, rebounds, and assists during the course of a season that qualify them to play in the official All-star game.

    •   Are there MVP-calibre players in the team? 

While not always, MVPs also play a huge role in a team’s success. For instance, LeBron James has 4 MVP trophies in his career and has been to over 10 NBA Finals games. Teams with MVPs like Stephen Curry, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Kevin Durant are instantly title contenders for the rest of the season.

    •   Who are the injured players and which franchise is reliable? 

Of course, what’s an NBA betting strategy without looking for potential injuries, suspensions, and previous franchise history? Unlike NBA handicap betting, when you’ve chosen a market and wagered on a team already before an injury happens, you’ll have to stick with your bets.

This is why researching injury history and potential franchise blunders is key to betting more wisely. If you vote on a franchise like the Sacramento Kings that skipped on Stephen Curry and James Harden in the same draft year, you know that you should stray away from it and go with NBA betting against the spread on this particular juncture. 

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Best players to look out for before betting

Before placing your wager, you need to check out the best players from each league to have an edge over other punters who have little to no idea who the best basketball athletes are in the world: 


LeBron James 

LeBron James is a 4-time Regular Season MVP with the same number of Finals MVPs. He is a 4-time champion in three different teams from both conferences and is regarded as one of the best players of all time. LeBron is constantly compared to Michael Jordan who was a legend back in the 90s for the Chicago Bulls. 

Wherever LeBron goes, there’s always championship aspirations. He has been to 9 straight NBA Finals from 2011 to 2018, and participated in the 2020 NBA Finals then winning it against the Miami Heat. 

LeBron James will go down in history as one of the greatest basketball players of all time and is now on the verge to play basketball with his son, Bronny James Jr. when he is of age. 

Stephen Curry 

Regarded as the most prolific and accurate shooter of all time, Stephen Curry is one of the best point guards who revolutionised the game of basketball. With his impressive marksmanship and two MVP trophies alongside his 3 rings, Steph Curry is hard to put off of the list of players to bet on as he is a natural winner. 

Giannis Antetokounmpo 

After winning the 2020 NBA Finals and the MVP, Giannis is headed towards the trajectory of becoming an NBA great. With an athletic play style and the competitive nature in him, Giannis continues to dominate the league with fellow players like Kris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. 

DeMar DeRozan 

DeMar DeRozan has had a very odd career so far. He was a perennial all-star during his Toronto Raptors days, and quickly became invisible once he was traded to the San Antonio Spurs for Kawhi Leonard.

What’s even more painful for DeMar is after he was traded to the team and city he loved to be a part of, the Raptors proceeded to win an NBA championship in 2019 without him. It proved to the world that he was the inferior player to Kawhi Leonard and was quickly forgotten in 2-3 years.

However, in the 2021-22 season, DeMar signed with the Chicago Bulls to find redemption and did. He averaged for the season 27 points per game which puts him in the top 10 scorers of the 22 season. 

DeMar is an all-star once again and his team is currently ranked the number one seed in the Eastern Conference. With fellow all-star Zach LeVine and an impressive line of role players like Alex Caruso and Lonzo Ball, Chicago is looking to be a great team for years to come. 

Nikola Jokic 

Nikola Jokic, also known as the Joker, is playing lights out for the past 3 seasons from 2019-2021. He was named the regular season MVP in 2021 where he posted numbers only all-time great centres like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Hakeem Olajuwan can muster. 

With that said, Jokic is without question the best player in the Denver Nuggets and is looking to secure two or three MVPs for his whole career. 


Vasilije Micic 

Vasilije Micic is a one of a kind European basketball player from Serbia who actually played for the Philadelphia 76ers after getting drafted in 2014. Now, he is a deserving champion from Anadolu Efes in the 2021 EuroLeague championship and was selected as the EuroLeague MVP and the Final Four MVP. 

Jan Vesely 

This Czech professional EuroLeague player also used to play for the Washington Wizards in the NBA and is now a three-time All-EuroLeague First Team player. He is an amazing centre who dominates the paint and has been to multiple EuroLeague MVP of the month awards during the 2016 and 2018 seasons.

Nando de Colo

Nando de Colo is an excellent EuroLeague player who shoots the ball extremely well and is a natural point guard when left on the court. He won the EuroLeague title in 2016 and 2019 and was both a EuroLeague MVP and Final Four MVP during his tenure with CSKA Moscow. 

His skillset centres around shooting the three ball and setting screens to dish out to open teammates for an easy score. 

Alexey Shved 

An excellent point guard for the CSKA Moscow, he not only excelled in the EuroLeague but also during the 2012 Summer Olympics where he won the bronze medal as well as the award for EuroBasket 2011. 

His natural position allowed him to dominate as a pass-first point guard who facilitated his teams to win in grandeur. 

Nikola Mirotic

Probably the best EuroLeague player ever and is now the highest paid European basketball player in history, Nikola Mirotic actually started his career with the Chicago Bulls and ended his NBA stint in Milwaukee where he nearly reached the NBA Finals.

Known for his shooting, defence, and overall screen setting, Mirotic is a player most teams will sign simply because of his needed skill set. If he were to play for an NBA team now, he’ll be really valuable to them for a championship run. 

Final word

When betting, it’s always important to remember all the points mentioned above and see the differences between the two leagues. As you make your way to the betting scene, the final tip for you is to pick the best basketball betting site to start.

The best sports betting site if you are a fan of basketball is no other than Sportsbet. With more than just basketball as a sport to bet on, you can find your niche and enjoy the best sports betting experience you can have. 

As basketball continues to grow into a multi-billion dollar sports industry, future players are going to enter the league and carry on the legacies of past NBA legends that will have retired by the time they reach their old age.

One aspect in sports will otherwise remain the same is its sports betting side which will always be here to add flavour to the already exciting games offered by both the NBA and EuroLeague basketball. 

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Words: Vonn Consul

Image: Alamy


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