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Best Leagues and Tournaments for Basketball Betting

If you are interested in basketball betting but are feeling a little lost, then you have arrived in the right place. Here you can learn about up and coming basketball leagues as well as tournament structure and the top teams that dominate their respective leagues, so that you have all the necessary background knowledge to start betting.

NBA Betting

For some, the NBA is synonymous with basketball. It is by far the most popular league and it is the top tier of the game. The NBA has been home to some of the sport’s most iconic figures such as Michael Jordan, the late Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson and in modern times, LeBron James.

The two powerhouses in the NBA are the LA Lakers and the Boston Celtics, boasting a joint lead on most titles at 17 apiece. Teams performing well in recent years, such as the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and Philadelphia 76ers, are also forces to be reckoned with in the eastern conference, with the Golden State Warriors, Jazz Utah and San Antonio Spurs their western counterparts.

Marquee matchups like the LA Lakers and the Boston Celtics have it all, both having Hall of Fame players on and a history of playing each other in the finals a total of 12 times.

This is all overshadowed a bit by the time zone difference in Europe, where it is difficult to follow a team’s every single league game when they play at times such as midnight or even 4AM. LA Lakers vs. The Boston Celtics would definitely be worth it, but say 76ers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves may be one that viewers would not stay up for.

While it's the most fun to bet on what is arguably the best league in the world, there are alternatives that European audiences can tune into without having to stay up for half the night.

Best Basketball Leagues Outside of the NBA


As with the NBA, the structure of the Euroleague is a hybrid of league and tournament, with 18 teams all playing each other both at home and away, followed by the top 8 teams qualifying for a 5-game playoff series. These five games are played between two teams from the top 8, and the winner of the series advances to the final four playoffs, featuring two semi-finals, a third place game and a final all in one weekend. Each team thus has a total of 34 games during the season and an additional 2 should they proceed to the Final four.

This action packed league is full of dramatic and brilliant moments, even for those who are not regular viewers, the final four weekend promises the very best battling it out in a final sprint to the title.

Teams to look out for in the Euroleague include current first time champions Anadolu Efes as well as Real Madrid, CSKA Moscow, Panathinaikos, Olympiacos and Barcelona.

Liga ACB

The top flight of Spanish basketball, the Liga ACB has famous teams such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Kirolbet Baskonia playing with some of the top players in the world. The league is a breeding ground for national team players and it regularly attracts scouts for the NBA. The Gasol brothers, Pau and Marc, and duo point guards Ricky Rubio and Jose Calderon, all made their names playing in the league. It’s not a new phenomenon either, as Jorge Garbajosa, Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Fernandez all came up through the ranks before flying to the US to ply their trade.

For those who are new to the game, and who have a love for football, where better to get started then El Classico? With the two top teams being Barcelona and Real Madrid, it offers football fans wishing to crossover or explore the world of basketball an all too familiar derby, which is just as tense and exciting as its football counterpart.


The Greek basketball league is not one to miss, with teams such as Panathinaikos and Olympiacos dominating the scene since the 1990s. In recent years, they have managed to hold on to some star players despite interest from the NBA, which has made the league far stronger.

Lega Basket Serie A

The Lega Basket Serie A is Italy’s premier division of basketball, and it is hugely popular. Did you know that Kobe Bryant spent a lot of his childhood there when his father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant played in the Lega Basket Serie A?

Though the league is not what it was during the 70’s and 80’s, when Italy won 13 Euroleagues, the highest amount that any nation has won to this day, Italian basketball still commands a lot of respect.

The league has also been a training ground for the likes of Danilo Gallinari, Andrea Bargnani and Marco Belinelli, just to name a few, who were scouted by the NBA and brought to the US.

Turkish Basketball League

Current Euroleague winners Anadolu Efes are by no means a one season wonder. The 15 time winners of the Turkish Basketball League are the top team to look out for, followed by rivals Besiktas. The Turkish league also boasts large financial support, and can afford to lure top players, including the likes of Deron Williams and Allen Iverson.

By winning the Euroleague, Anadolu Efe, with help of their star player French national Rodrigue Beaubois, has made the Turkish league a real up and comer, and it is definitely worth catching some of the action as they chase European dominance with their strong momentum.


The French basketball league, which celebrates its centennial anniversary this year, is home to a number of historical players. Teams to look out for include the leading side for most titles, the Lyon based ASVEL, who won last year's season, and Limoges CSP, who have won a Euroleague, and the up and coming Le Mans Sarthe, amongst others.

Chinese Basketball Association

Chinese basketball is also a league to watch out for, with the Guangdong Southern Tigers having amassed the most titles. The league has produced a handful of Chinese talents who have been picked up by the NBA, including the likes of Wang Zhizhi, Mengke Bateer, Yao Ming, Yi Jianlian and Zhou Qi.

Some argue that the league limits its full potential, with laws that prohibit teams from employing more than 2 foreign nationals. However, the competition in the league is fierce, and they usually play during the early afternoon, making it easier for the European audience to tune in.

Your Local League

If you do not live in the country of one of the aforementioned leagues, then it is important to say that your local league could be a great place to watch and bet on games.

Here at mrplay Sports, you will be able to find bets on all professional basketball leagues so be sure to check out some teams that will be more familiar to you.

Basketball at the Olympics

Once every four years we get the chance to watch national teams go head to head at the Olympic Games. In 1936, basketball was introduced to the Olympics, and the USA wasted no time in dominating it, winning an unprecedented 16 consecutive gold medals from the very first tournament in 1936 until 1968.  In 1952, 56, 60 and 64, from the beginning of the Cold War right up to its peak, the USA beat the Soviet Union in back to back Olympic finals. It wasn’t until the infamous 1972 Munich Olympics that the USA was finally stopped. The Soviet Union, seeking to avenge all the gold medals they missed out on, created the largest upset in the history of basketball to that day when they beat the USA by a tensely close 51-50. The USA were leading 50-49 with virtually no time left on the clock, when Belarusian Ivan Edeshko threw the ball across the length of the entire field to teammate Sergei Belov. Belov was surrounded by 3 US players, who all jumped at the same time to catch the ball, but Belov made the catch, as the defenders all fell down. Belov made a jump and threw the ball into the net, to end the US’s 63-0 undefeated Olympics record, and give the Soviets their first gold. To this day there is controversy as to whether the time on the clock ran out.

The US Dream team of 1992 also cannot be forgotten, with every player being a member of the Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame, featuring the likes of Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Charles Barkley all playing together.

The team averaged a record high 117 points per game, with Coach Chuck Daly not calling a single time-out for the entirety of the tournament.

Since then it has been almost exclusively won by the US, but there have been strong performances from the likes of Spain, France, Greece and 2004 gold winners Argentina.

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