The basketball point spread is a mechanism for shifting the measure of the winner and the loser by a set number of points, and the accompanying odds determine the ratio of risk to reward just like with a moneyline bet. This is probably the most popular type of wager in basketball that you can make.
If, for example, Team A is an 11½-point favorite (or minus 11.5) against Team B, Team A must win the game by 12 points or more for them to ‘cover the spread’. Any result where Team B wins or just loses by less than 12 points, spread bets on Team B would win.
Reminder: Odds are always contained within a spread, as a spread is just a mechanism for determining the winner. The odds (or moneyline) is the number that determines the ratio of risk/reward, and the spread is the number that determines which side wins the bet.
Also known as ‘over/under’, total betting is another extremely popular way to bet on basketball. In total betting, you are placing a wager based on whether or not the two teams on the court exceed or fail to meet a certain combined score. Let's say that Team A and Team B are slated to square off with a point total set at 155.5. If you believe that they will combine for more than 155.5 points, you would wager on the over. If you feel that they won't meet that score, you would wager on the under. If the final score is 80-75, bets on the under would be successful.
A moneyline is simply the odds, as in “Odds to win” for an event with a winner and a loser. When you bet on the moneyline, you are simply betting on who will win the game. For example, a moneyline of +150, is just +150 odds ($100 to win $150) for the listed team to win. A moneyline of -150 is just -150 odds ($150 to win $100) for the listed team to win. Which means that if you are betting on the favorite, you have to stake more money than if you were betting on the underdog (for the same profit/return).
Parlays are all about stringing together bets to increase winnings. In order to win your parlay, you must accurately make multiple winning picks to win. By combining several bets into a parlay, the chances of winning are less, but the rewards are much greater if you pick correctly.