What Does ‘Plus/Minus’ Mean in Basketball Betting?

Basketball is one of the most popular sports around the world, and with good reason! It’s a fun game to watch, and you can always bet on the action, no matter where you are. If you want to make the right choice when selecting which NBA basketball team you’ll be rooting for this season, then you’ll have to familiarise yourself with a little bit of jargon that will help you make the right decision. Here is some basic information about the different types of odds and finishes in NBA betting.


You may already know that the total number of points scored in a game varies from team to team. The number of possessions also varies from game to game, not to mention the number of minutes that are played. This results in a lot of variation when it comes to the total number of goals scored in a game. For this reason, betting on the over or under is always a popular option, since you know that the number of goals will be above or below what is ‘normal’ for a game of this kind. Simply put, if you believe that the number of goals in a game will be higher or lower than what is usual, then you’ll need to adjust your line accordingly. This is called backing a team or a player – in other words, you’re selecting whether the numbers will be above or below what is expected, based on your beliefs. For example, if you believe that the Milwaukee Bucks will score more goals than usual this season, you might want to bet on them being under 10 goals, to give you a chance to win your bet. Similarly, if you think that the Cleveland Cavaliers will score fewer goals than usual, you might want to play them at odds of over 2.5 goals, to make up for the difference.

Expected Goals/Actual Goals

This is where it gets a little bit more involved – you’ll need to check the expected goals for each team, based on their past performances. This is then compared to the actual goals for that team to give you an idea of how good their performance was in reality, based on what they were able to produce relative to their expectations. Essentially, this is a way of measuring a team’s performance against what they were supposed to achieve based on their skills and experience. The expected goals/actual goals for each team will appear in the sportsbook along with the main odds of each game, so make sure you look at these numbers before starting your research.

In-Play Betting

If you’re really into following the action live, then you might want to consider placing bets while the game is actually taking place. You’ll need to be quick, though, since the games usually happen in bursts, with breaks in between for refraining and for injury delays. If you miss your chance, then it’s often difficult to get another – especially if the action is on the move, as this makes it more challenging to keep a close eye on your mobile phone. In-play betting can be a safer way to go, as long as you know what you’re doing – basically, you’ll need to have a good sense of what is going on, and you’ll need to be able to keep up with the action. The NBA sometimes allows sportsbooks to take bets up to 30 minutes before the games start, so if you’re planning to place an early bet, then you’ll need to make sure that the bookmaker is prepared to deal with your bet before the end of that time period. Otherwise, you’ll lose your money. It’s often said that ‘timing is everything’ in sports betting, and this certainly applies to in-play betting.

Runners/Limit Makers

Some forms of betting, particularly American Football, allow you to select whether you want to back a team to score or stop them from scoring. This is often called ‘against the spread’ betting, and it works on a similar basis to the previous type of betting – if you think that the other team will win the game then you might want to put them at odds of winning, otherwise, you’ll need to go with the implied probability to achieve your goal. The difference with ‘against the spread’ is that you’ll need to select a side to ‘run’, instead of selecting an outcome as in the normal case. For example, if you think that the Chicago Bears are going to cover the spread in their upcoming game against the Green Bay Packers, then you’ll want to lay them, since you believe that they’ll win the game and you’ll earn a profit. On the other hand, if you think that the New England Patriots will beat the Bears by a large enough margin to cover the spread, then you might want to back them instead and make a profit off the match. Limit makers will do the same thing, only with the added twist of limiting the amount of goals that you can win or lose on a specific team or player. For example, let’s say that you’re a big fan of the Dallas Cowboys and you want to bet on them winning the Super Bowl this year. In order to do this, you’ll need to place a bet with a limit of 5 goals, or you’ll risk losing your entire stake. This is done to stop people from simply picking the favourite team based on popularity instead of performance, as this would make it easy for them to win – by limiting your profits, the house always guarantees that the favourites will cover the spread most of the time!

Accumulator Bets

In cases where you believe that the outcome of a game will be the same regardless of the order in which the games are played, then you can take the opposite bet – ‘accumulator’ betting. Simply put, you’ll need to lay one team in order to win the bet, otherwise, you’ll need to go with the favourite. For example, if you think that the outcome of the following four games will be the same, regardless of the order in which they are played – Cleveland Cavaliers vs Toronto Raptors, Toronto Raptors vs Cleveland Cavaliers, Miami Heat vs Boston Celtics, and the other way round – then you might want to consider laying Cleveland Cavaliers and betting on them to win the series. In this case, you’ll need to put down $100 on the Cavs in order to win $1000 – essentially, you’ll need to lay four $25 bets to make this bet profitable. This type of bet is often available on NFL and Canadian Football League games, where the same team cannot be played in four consecutive weeks, due to league rules. However, this type of bet is rarely available on NBA games, since players usually change teams after every season, anyway. This means that it’s usually not possible to lay an accumulator bet on, say, the Milwaukee Bucks – since, after this season, they’ll be playing for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Player/Team Streaks

If you’re a fan of a specific player or team, then you might want to consider setting up a betting account with them in mind. For example, if you want to play on behalf of Stephen Curry, the Golden State Warriors star, then you’ll need to set up an account with them first, in order to place any bets. This is because sportsbooks often want to know which team or player you’re representing, in cases where they allow this type of betting. If you’re planning to do this, make sure to pick a name that is easy to remember – if you’re writing down your username and password on pieces of paper then you might get confused as to which account you’re supposed to be using, later on. Setting up a bet mid-season, with a team or player that you like, can sometimes be beneficial – you might be able to get some useful information, such as exclusive tips from insiders!

Over/Under 2.5/5/8.5

This type of bet involves selecting whether a game’s total goals will be above or below a certain amount – be this two and a half, five or eight and a half goals. Simply put, if you think that the total number of goals in the game will be above or below what is normally expected, then you’ll need to adjust your line accordingly. This type of bet is very popular with fans of specific teams or players – if you’re a Chicago fan, then you might want to lay the over-two-five goals against the San Francisco 49ers, since most people think that the Niners will lose this game. If this is a playoff race then 8.5 goals might be a good choice, since it’s often close games in the final minutes, and extra time can often mean more scoring opportunities for the winning team!