How To Bet On European Basketball

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How is betting on European basketball different to betting on the NBA? What are the best strategies for betting on European basketball? In this article we show you how to make money betting on European basketball.

Is European basketball different to NBA basketball?

Short answer to this question is: It depends!

If you asked us this question back in the 80s or 90s we would have said that European basketball betting is tremendously different from the NBA. But in the last two decades or so, the quality of some of Europe's best basketball leagues has increased dramatically.

How Have European Basketball Leagues Improved?

The improvement can be attributed to not only the increased number of American players coming overseas (mostly players that were not drafted to the NBA or players that are no longer on NBA rosters but who still have a lot to offer to European teams) but also because most European nations have invested heavily in their basketball, particularly nations that have hosted Olympic games or FIBA World competitions.

The best example is by far the Spanish ACB league where, if you discount the fact that NBA games have 48 minutes; the amount of points scored per game is almost equal to the American top league. There is great equilibrium within the league (even if Real Madrid and Barcelona maintain a certain advantage over the rest), the games are truly fast paced and more and more we see individual players defining the games and emerging as symbols of the club and a possible fast track to the NBA draft. Other examples of this new, more Americanised style of basketball, although at a lower level, would be the German BBL and the Polish league.

Other League Types

But not every league in Europe has developed this way. We can see two other types of leagues in the old continent, that resemble the old style of tactical game played in the 80s:

Firstly, leagues consisting of a few " Euroleague" quality teams with the rest of the squads playing old fashion basketball, meaning a medium to low pace, very tactical style, relying mostly on 3-point shots and good defence, few points scored and with the team not relying much on one or two players but having a very strong component of team play and team force. A good example of this is the Greek League with clubs Panathinaikos and Olympiakos being two of the best in the continent but with he remainder being borderline average and fighting for a 3rd place on a league of their own.

Secondly, leagues with low quality on average where many games finish under the 140 points and where teams have a medium/low quality of shooting averages and a large number of turnovers per game. These are most of the leagues that don’t have participants in the Euroleague, like the Swedish, Dutch or Portuguese leagues.

Combined Leagues

There is another phenomenon in European basketball - the formation of the combined leagues (leagues where small countries seed their better teams and play at a regional level, theoretically to improve the overall quality of the opposition): BIBL (Balkan League), Baltic League and VTB League. This phenomenon of the Eastern European countries has brought the better teams of some countries together but we still see big differences in quality there.

Strategies For Betting On European Basketball

So when betting on European basketball, there are certain questions you need to answer first and then bet accordingly:

”Is the league fast paced? Does it see many points scored per game on average?”

Sometimes in minor leagues the bookies don’t pay much attention to this and just make linear averages to compile a line for the O/U market. There are many opportunities to find an edge here, especially if you take the time to become familiar with a particular league or leagues.

#2 - Is this a league with clear favourites or is there league equilibrium? Is the favourite team playing in another continental competition?

This second question is very important as some teams (mostly in Eastern Europe) rest a large number of their squad for the continental games, making a -20 point handicap for the favourite in a league match, mostly early in the season a very good line to bet. Again you need to make sure you are on top of the news for the league.

#3 - How dependent is this team on an injured player?

Normally bookmakers may overreact to the fact that one of the main players in the squad is injured. Just look at the stats and the games played by the team with and without the injured player in the past. You will see that in many cases the difference is marginal.

Conclusion

Many additional edges can found when betting on European basketball leagues but you have to keep in mind, the big problem here, especially for the smaller leagues, are bookmaker limits. While bookmakers offer odds on obscure European basketball leagues, many are not willing to accept large bets on those leagues. So be sure to compare bookmakers and their limits for these leagues.

Still there should be no doubt that European basketball is a good place to start building a solid bankroll and developing your knowledge of the sport.

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