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NBA News

N.B.A. Game of the Week: Kings vs. Mavericks
2014-11-11

Sacramento at Dallas, Tuesday, 8:30 p.m. Eastern

With the Western Conference superpowers of recent years struggling in the early goings of this season the Spurs were 2-3 entering Sunday, the depleted Thunder 1-5 opportunities abound for teams formerly stuck in the middle tier. The Warriors and the Grizzlies, the sixth and seventh seeds in the playoffs last season, were in first and second in the conference entering Sunday, and even teams that missed the playoffs by a wide margin, including the Pelicans, are fighting for a spot in the top eight.

Sacramento, in particular, has been a surprise to many, going 28-54 last season but winning five of its first six games this season. The Kings did not make blockbuster moves in the off-season, so credit their improvement to the maturation of their scorers and an increased focus on defense.

DeMarcus Cousins has been a strong player at center for a few seasons now, but attitude problems have kept him from being considered one of the N.B.A.s true stars. There are signs now that he has grown up witness, for instance, Fridays game, in which he restrained his coach after fouling out on a questionable call in the fourth quarter against the Suns. (The Kings ended up winning in overtime, with Cousins watching from the sideline.) Cousins seems to have benefited from his time on the United States team at the FIBA World Cup: He is scoring more ably than he did last season while remaining a force on the boards.
The Kings were criticized for letting the young point guard Isaiah Thomas head to Phoenix in a July sign-and-trade deal. But Thomass replacement, Darren Collison, has exceeded expectations, averaging 15.2 points and 6.2 assists entering Sunday and giving a boost to a defense that was allowing fewer than 100 points per 100 possessions at 98.7, the eighth-best mark in the league through Saturday.

Sacramentos biggest problem remains its passing. Despite an increased focus from the second-year coach Michael Malone on sharing the ball, the Kings had the worst assists-per-game mark in the league through Saturday, at 17.7. And if they cannot move the ball, they will have a tough time against teams with the ability to stop Cousins and forward Rudy Gay.
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The Dallas Mavericks have been on fans radars since pushing the Spurs to seven games in the first round of the playoffs in the spring. But it is easy to forget that Dallas nearly missed the playoffs, clinching the eighth seed in its penultimate game.

In order to avoid that kind of close call this season, the Mavericks will have to improve their defense. To that end, they reacquired center Tyson Chandler from the Knicks and gave the strong defender Devin Harris a bigger role at point guard. But the Mavericks still look shaky; their 105-82 victory over the Jazz on Friday was the first time this season they had held an opponent to fewer than 100 points.
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It has been difficult to get a read on how good the Mavericks are. Although they lost their opener, 101-100, at San Antonio, they played a great game against the Spurs, the reigning N.B.A. champions. Then again, their only impressive win has come against New Orleans, and they were beaten badly by the Trail Blazers on Thursday.

Dallas has never had to worry much about scoring. The Mavericks were averaging 106.5 points per game, the second-highest output in the league, behind only Golden States 107.2, through Saturday. Chandler Parsons looks to be fitting in well in his first season with Dallas, averaging 15.2 points a game entering Sunday, and Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis have picked up where they left off last season as the teams first and second scoring options.

Before missing out on the postseason in 2012-13 and barely making it in last season, the Mavericks made the playoffs for 12 straight seasons, often with a comfortable margin. Displaying that sort of dominance, however, has grown increasingly difficult as the Western Conference has become almost comically competitive. Teams like the Kings that few expected to be good this year still have the kind of talent to challenge borderline playoff teams like Dallas in the fight to make it to May.

It is still early in the season, but Tuesdays game should help fans begin to understand how the Kings and the Mavericks stack up.


NBA Atlantic Division Preview
2013-09-27

ATLANTIC DIVISION

BOSTON CELTICS

2012-13 SU record: 43-44 SU (49.4percent), 17th in NBA
2012-13 ATS record: Apuestas Breeders Cup 40-44-3 ATS (47.6percent), 20th in NBA
Odds to Win 2013-14 Eastern Conference: 60-to-1
Odds to Win 2013-14 NBA Championship: 125-to-1

GUARDS

RAJON RONDO is the last man standing in Boston. Coming off a torn ACL and with a weakened supporting cast, its going to be a long year . . . AVERY BRADLEY is the favorite to start alongside Rondo. Hes still lost on offense, but his defense will be much needed . . . COURTNEY LEE continues to tease with flashes of talent, but hasnt shown consistency and is no longer young . . . JORDAN CRAWFORD will hoist a lot of shots . . . MARSHON BROOKS fell out of favor in Brooklyn and is just hanging on to an NBA roster spot . . . KEITH BOGANS is in Boston because a new deal made the numbers work on the Nets trade . . . Local product PHIL PRESSEY, an undersized point guard, will try to stick as a back-up.

FORWARDS

Suddenly, JEFF GREEN is Bostons first option on offense. He showed an ability to score with 20.1 PPG over 17 starts last season, but hell be in for a whole new world of attention as the only legitimate scorer on this team . . . BRANDON BASS should continue to hold down the power forward spot, and hell get to take more shots with the team rebuilding . . . Durability is a major issue for JARED SULLINGER, but he has a chance to play big minutes for a team in need of his offensive skill set . . . A washed-up vet with arguably the worst contract in the NBA, GERALD WALLACE is of little use to the Celtics (or any other team) . . . KRIS HUMPHRIES is also dead weight, but is a more enticing trade chip due to an expiring contract.

CENTERS

Rookie KELLY OLYNYK is going to get pushed around, but he has some rare shooting and ball-handling skills for a 7-footer. Boston has little to lose by letting him learn on the job . . . VITOR FAVERANI is a tough-nosed Euro import who gives them insurance behind Olynyk.

BROOKLYN NETS

2012-13 SU record: 52-37 SU (58.4percent), 9th in NBA
2012-13 ATS record: 43-44-2 ATS (49.4percent), 16th in NBA
Odds to Win 2013-14 Eastern Conference: 15-to-2
Odds to Win 2013-14 NBA Championship: 14-to-1

GUARDS

DERON WILLIAMS will surely take on more of a distributor role this year, but hes still this teams best option from three-point range, as well . . . JOE JOHNSON started to break down last season, so along with fewer shots (with the upgrade to the rest of the roster), he figures to play fewer regular-season minutes as well . . . JASON TERRY is clearly in the decline phase of his career, but is still the top scoring option among Brooklyns second unit . . . ALAN ANDERSON gives them another shooter off the bench . . . SHAUN LIVINGSTON steps into the back-up point guard spot vacated by C.J. Watson. The injury-prone vet will be one of the more rarely used back-up PGs . . . TYSHAWN TAYLOR will be a non-factor.

FORWARDS

PAUL PIERCE still has something left in the tank. While his athleticism is fading, hes still a cagey scorer who can also play some point forward to set up Williams . . . ANDREI KIRILENKO will be a Swiss army knife sixth man and should see plenty of starts as new head coach Jason Kidd rotates which veterans rest . . . REGGIE EVANS was retained for his rebounding ability and willingness to look ridiculous while flopping . . . ANDRAY BLATCHE will continue to settle in as a second-unit big. Hes a name to remember for the future, as Kevin Garnett doesnt have much left in the tank . . . MIRZA TELETOVIC will be a seldom-used option as a stretch four . . . TORNIKE SHENGELIA is still years away from contributing, and the influx of veterans will further delay his development.

CENTERS

Last year did a lot to assuage durability concerns for BROOK LOPEZ. Hes highly skilled, and he may be forced to grab more rebounds now that Reggie Evans is on the second unit . . . KEVIN GARNETT will start at power forward. Hes still an effective pick-and-pop shooter and pick-and-roll defender, but hell have to rest often during the regular season . . . MASON PLUMLEE is in no position to help this season.



NEW YORK KNICKS

2012-13 SU record: 60-34 SU (63.8percent), 7th in NBA
2012-13 ATS record: 52-41-1 ATS (55.9percent), 5th in NBA
Odds to Win 2013-14 Eastern Conference: 13-to-1
Odds to Win 2013-14 NBA Championship: 35-to-1

GUARDS

RAYMOND FELTON is still the best the Knicks can do at point guard. With his shortcomings in the half court, head coach Mike Woodsons desire to go up-tempo should play to Feltons skill set a little bit better . . . IMAN SHUMPERT should be ready for a slightly bigger role. Hes their best perimeter defender and a good enough spot-up shooter to play off Carmelo Anthony . . . J.R. SMITHs offseason knee surgery is a bit of a concern, as is the fact that hes no longer in a contract year. Still, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year should light it up on many nights . . . PABLO PRIGIONI will be Feltons primary back-up. He disappears at times, but can at least knock down threes . . . BENO UDRIH will provide quality backup minutes after another solid year seeing big minutes in OrlandoTIM HARDAWAY JR. is likely looking at a redshirt year in 2013-14.

FORWARDS

Last year was CARMELO ANTHONYs dream offense, with lots of isolation plays. With his improved three-point shot, Melo should make a run at a second-straight scoring title . . . ANDREA BARGNANI might start by default, but hes more suited to a part-time role as a one-dimensional floor spacer . . . Expect to see a lot of lineups with either Anthony or METTA WORLD PEACE at the four. MWP is still good enough defensively to justify his erratic shot selection . . . AMAR'E STOUDEMIRE will likely be limited to a part-time role due to injuries. Hell try to re-invent himself as a second-unit scorer . . . KENYON MARTIN will be counted on to play some four and five off the bench . . . Athletic rookie C.J. LESLIE is ticketed for the D-League.



CENTERS

TYSON CHANDLER will be relied on heavily on the glass for what could be the weakest rebounding team in the NBA. The Knicks would like to keep his regular-season minutes down, but they may be forced to play him a lot if theyre going to get home court in a first-round playoff series . . . The Knicks will try to develop JEREMY TYLER into a useful No. 2 center.


PHILADELPHIA 76ERS
2012-13 SU record: 34-48 SU (41.5percent), T-19th in NBA
2012-13 ATS record: 39-42-1 ATS (48.1percent), 19th in NBA
Odds to Win 2013-14 Eastern Conference: 200-to-1
Odds to Win 2013-14 NBA Championship: 500-to-1

GUARDS
Welcome to Tankadelphia. MICHAEL CARTER-WILLIAMS will be handed the reigns at the point, and has the size and savvy to create some offense. But a work-in-progress jumper and too many risky passes will lead to plenty of lost possessions . . . The Sixers would love to unload perennially disappointing ex-No. 2 pick EVAN TURNER. Hes yet to develop a jump shot, and while hell start for a laughably thin Philly team, he looks more and more like a second-unit player . . . JAMES ANDERSON could end up playing a lot of minutes off the bench, simply because the Sixers dont have enough NBA-caliber players . . . JASON RICHARDSON will miss at least half the season after major knee surgery. He may never contribute in the NBA againTONY WROTEN could see the floor plenty as a high-upside player who must cut down on his turnovers and improve his jump shot.
FORWARDS
THADDEUS YOUNG will likely step up as the No. 1 option, and he very well may be the only player on this team that would make a rotation of a playoff contender. Well see what he can do with defenses focused on stopping him . . . LAVOY ALLEN will be leaned on for heavy minutes as one of their few proven players . . . ARNETT MOULTRIE might end up with a very big role this year, as the Sixers are especially lacking post players. He at least rebounds and gets in peoples way defensively . . . Philly will try its hand with ROYCE WHITE, who has plenty of talent but just as much baggage. He and the Rockets couldnt see eye-to-eye with how to manage his anxiety issues . . . TIM OHLBRECHT might actually see the court on this team.
CENTERS
SPENCER HAWES should start at center, especially early. His mid-range shooting makes him one of the few offensive options on this team . . . Coming off a torn ACL, NERLENS NOEL probably wont be ready until December. He should contribute as a rim protector and rebounder, but will be pushed around and doesnt have much on offense . . . KWAME BROWN is waiting for his contract to be bought out.

TORONTO RAPTORS
2012-13 SU record: 34-48 SU (41.5percent), T-19 in NBA
2012-13 ATS record: 41-40-1 ATS (50.6percent), 13th in NBA
Odds to Win 2013-14 Eastern Conference: 65-to-1
Odds to Win 2013-14 NBA Championship: 125-to-1
GUARDS
KYLE LOWRY was banged up last season, but he enters this year healthy and has the potential to be one of the leagues best two-way point guards . . . DEMAR DEROZAN does a nice job attacking, but hes a flawed player unless he develops a jump shot . . . The Raptors want TERRENCE ROSS to attack the basket more often. But whether he develops a three-point shot could determine where he fits into this rotation . . . After a disastrous season in Indiana, D.J. AUGUSTIN will have to earn his rotation spot. Toronto could use his shooting, though . . . DWIGHT BUYCKS comes back from Europe to back up Lowry . . . Versatile JULYAN STONE is an interesting bit piece, as he reunites with GM Masai Ujiri, who brought him to Denver.
FORWARDS
Despite all that talent, RUDY GAYs poor shot selection and disinterested defense will have him on the trading block . . . AMIR JOHNSON will get another chance at full-time minutes. Despite some inconsistency, he still has the upside to be a good rebounder and shot-blocker . . . TYLER HANSBROUGH brings toughness and a decent mid-range jumper. Hes a second-unit talent, but could challenge Johnson for minutes . . . LANDRY FIELDS is a well-compensated reserve . . . STEVE NOVAK gives them a legitimate shooter among the second unit . . . Toronto will try to shake some of that upside out of AUSTIN DAYE . . . QUINCY ACY will move to the three, likely making this a redshirt year.
CENTERS
JONAS VALANCIUNAS is set to become Torontos new centerpiece. Talented enough for them to run the offense through him, hes rapidly improving on both ends of the court . . . AARON GRAY will stick around as a decent back-up, a 7-footer who can get in the way defensively.




2015 Kentucky Derby Odds
2015-04-15

Kentucky Derby week is one of the most thrilling times of the year. This race is known as "The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports online bingo " for its approximate time length.



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Odds to Win 2015 Kentucky Derby


March Madness Bracket
2015-02-15

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NBA Double Header
2012-01-11

DALLAS MAVERICKS (5-5) at BOSTON CELTICS (4-4)

Sportsbook.com Line & Total: Boston -5.5 & 183.5
Opening Line & Total: video poker Celtics -5.5 & 185.5

The Mavs look to build on their first road win of the season when they visit a well-rested Celtics team on Wednesday night.

After losing their first three road games of the season (the final two by 17 and 22 points), Dallas cruised to a 100-86 win in Detroit on Tuesday. The Mavs, 4-1 (SU and ATS) in their past five games, continued their excellent team defense. In the past six games, no Dallas opponent has shot above 45% from the floor, averaging 89.2 PPG on 42% FG. The Celtics haven’t played since Friday, an ugly 87-74 home loss to Indiana, but none of the Dallas starters logged 30 minutes in Tuesday’s victory, so fresh legs should not be an issue in this one. And even though Jason Kidd (back) won’t play, Delonte West proved himself more than capable of running the point in Detroit with 10 assists, two turnovers and five steals. Since the 2005-06 season, the Mavs are 9-3 ATS (5-7 SU) against the Celtics, and with a moderate point spread, that trend should hold true again.

Dirk Nowitzki posted an incredible +42 rating in his 28 minutes of action on Tuesday, finishing with a team-high 18 points (9-10 FG) and seven rebounds. Six other Mavs scored 9+ points during the balanced attack. Nowitzki has always enjoyed facing Boston in his career, pumping in 27.4 PPG, 8.7 RPG and 3.1 APG in 24 lifetime meetings. The scoring average is his highest versus any opponent in his NBA career, helped by 31.2 PPG (57% FG) in his past five meetings with the Celtics. SG Jason Terry continues to provide a lift off the bench, as he’s second on the team with 13.8 PPG. Terry has been the team’s lone marksman from three-point land (44%), as the rest of the Mavs are a pathetic 25% from downtown this year. SG Vince Carter (9.1 PPG) is finally starting to find his rhythm though, connecting on 9-of-18 FG in his past two games. He started the season in a 20-of-58 funk (35%). Dallas is still waiting for offseason acquisition Lamar Odom to get comfortable with his new team. So far Odom is shooting a laughable 28% FG (21-for-75) including 5-of-31 (16%) from three-point range.

The Celtics offense was horrendous in Friday’s 87-74 loss, especially Paul Pierce (3-of-17 FG). Pierce also had five turnovers in the defeat. It’s been a rough season for Pierce (39% FG), but he usually plays well against Dallas in his career with 22.0 PPG on 46% FG. In contrast to Pierce, Ray Allen has been lights-out on the offensive end all season. He leads the team with 20.4 PPG on 58% FG, including an amazing 63% from three-point land. Allen had 23 (7-of-11 FG) of his team’s 74 points in Friday’s loss. Three other Celtics are shooting better than 50% this year -- Rajon Rondo (14.8 PPG, 52% FG), Kevin Garnett (12.9 PPG, 52% FG) and Brandon Bass (12.9 PPG, 53% FG). Rondo continues to be a great ball distributor (10.5 APG), but he’s committed a career-high 4.1 turnovers per game. His decision making will be key against an improving Mavs defense.


MIAMI HEAT (8-2) at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (4-3)

Sportsbook.com Line & Total: Miami -4 & 203
Opening Line & Total: Heat -4 & 202

There will be no shortage of star power when Miami stops into L.A. for a matchup with the new look Clippers on Wednesday night.

Both teams are traveling from the Pacific Northwest after tough losses: the Heat went to overtime in Golden State while the Clippers lost at Portland Tuesday night. Fatigue is more likely to be a factor for Miami, who has a banged-up superstar and a short bench. The Heat led by 12 after three quarters and by as many as 17 on Tuesday before blowing the game in Oakland. SG Dwyane Wade returned to the lineup for the first time in eight days because of a bruised foot. He played 37 minutes while LeBron James (43) and Chris Bosh (38) played heavy minutes as well.

Wade (21.0 PPG, 5.9 APG) played well in his return to the lineup, scoring 34 thanks to 16 trips to the line at Golden State. But it’s yet to be seen how his foot will react to a back-to-back. Going with pretty much an eight-man rotation, the Heat got nearly no help from their bench, which scored just 16 points in the loss. Veterans Shane Battier and Udonis Haslem came off the bench and posted atrocious plus/minus numbers, -12 and -15 respectively. The Heat got another big game from James (29.7 PPG, 8.0 RPG, 7.6 APG), who had 26 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists. But the return of Wade coincided with the disappearance of Bosh (19.7 PPG, 7.8 RPG), who had just 16 points and four rebounds against a weak Warriors front line.

The Clippers were competitive in Portland, one of the NBA’s toughest road venues. Blake Griffin (23.7 PPG, 10.6 RPG) posted another double-double (18 points, 12 rebounds), but PG Chris Paul (14.6 PPG, 8.4 APG) is still not being assertive. He scored just 11 points on nine shots with three assists on Tuesday. Perhaps the marquee matchup against the Heat will bring out a little more fire in him. He had 13 points and 19 assists in a home win over Miami with the Hornets last year.

The Clippers continued to struggle from behind the arc (6-for-23, now 31.4% on the season). The good news is that they had their best game of the season on the boards. After allowing 11.8 offensive rebounds per game through their first six games, they held Portland to just seven offensive boards on 35 misses on Tuesday night.



Can the Celtics beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals?
2010-06-17

After stealing the home court advantage away from the Lakers with a 103-94 victory at Los Angeles in Game 2 of the NBA Finals, the Boston Celtics will seek to protect its home turf beginning with Tuesday night's Game 3 at TD Garden. While the Lakers are still a -130 betting favorite to win the series, Los Angeles must now win at least once in Boston to capture the NBA title. Some historical numbers point to the Celtics ending LA's hopes of a repeat championship. The two most storied franchises in the history of the league have met in the finals on 11 previous occasions. The Lakers have been able to defeat the Celtics only twice (1985 and 1987) in the finals. When the squads met two years ago in the finals, Boston emerged with a 4-2 series win. In the three games that were contested at TD Garden, the Celtics were the winner each time. In its last three visits to the NBA Finals, the Lakers are just 2-7 on the road. In the 2004 finals, Los Angeles split its first two games at home against the Detroit Pistons. The Lakers promptly lost the next three matchups in Detroit to lose the series, much to the shock of the NBA betting community. So, it isn't a given that LA will be able to get the series back to the Staples Center with at least one victory in the next three games in Boston.



The Celtics certainly aren't the same club that limped home with a .500 record over the final two-thirds of the regular season. Boston has posted a record of 13-6 in the postseason. While the Lakers won the Western Conference title against three teams that weren't exactly overwhelming foes, Boston's path to the finals was far more difficult. First, the Celtics had to get by Dwyane Wade in the opening round of the playoffs. After dispatching the Heat, Boston had to deal with the team that posted the best record in the league during the regular season. LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers were expected to handle the aging Celtics. Trailing 2-1 in the series, Boston rallied to take the next three games in the series to shock the Cavs and NBA betting everywhere. In the Eastern Conference Finals, Boston was once again the underdog against Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic. The Celtics took prompt control of the series with a pair of road wins en route to a 4-2 series victory over the defending Eastern Conference champions. After getting by Wade, James and Howard, Boston has one more superstar foe to deal with. Kobe Bryant stands between the Celtics and another title. While Boston's star trio of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen keyed the club's title run two years ago, young guard Rajon Rondo is the focal point of the team this time around after making a smaller contribution in 2008. In Game 2, Rondo's triple-double (19 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists) was overshadowed to some degree by Allen's finals-record of eight 3-point field goals. Rondo's emergence has added a new dimension to the Boston squad. Still, the star veterans have enough left in the tank to make significant contributions to the team's success.


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