Fantasy basketball betting has exploded over the last few years. It still pales in comparison to the fantasy football betting industry, but it’s a formative powerhouse in its own right—something any real-life sportsbettor owes it to themselves to become familiar with. Unlike straight betting, you’re not wagering on a particular team to win. You’re instead betting on individual players, slotting them onto your roster and hoping they put up enough combined stats to earn you a victory over other people who have assembled their own teams.

For most websites, it works like this: You are given a budget and can then “purchase” players, who are awarded a dollar value based on their worth. You take on any player you please—so long as you stay under your fake salary cap and fill the quota at every position.

The good thing about betting fantasy basketball is that there are games on pretty much every night during the regular season. You aren’t forming teams for an entire week like you would in football. And while that demands a little extra effort, it also allots you more opportunities to win some money.

Best Online Fantasy Basketball Leagues

There aren’t a ton of online fantasy basketball sites. Some of the best, though, include Draft Kings, FanDuel and FantasyDraft and DraftDay. Each of them offer their own incentives to newcomers, so be sure to check them all out and choose the right site for you.

Do note that Draft Kings and Fanduel are reportedly talking about a merger that would leave them standing as one company. It is unclear how, or if, this will affect the services either site provides. Still, no matter what, it shouldn’t be hard for you to get your NBA fantasy betting fix–in no small part because it’s the only league monopolizing the industry.

How To Win Fantasy Basketball 

The important thing to remember when playing fantasy basketball for money is that you are building a team for, in most cases, one night. 

Play the matchups. Ride hot streaks. These are not decisions you need to live with for months or weeks or even days. You are not playing the long game. If an NBA superstar is going up against a really good defense and is in the middle of a slump, he isn’t necessarily more valuable than a fringe star or above-average Joe who is putting up numbers consistently.

You need to fill up as many statistical categories as possible, and that happens when you bid on players who tally numbers in a variety of areas. They don’t necessarily need to be elite in one aspect of the game.

For that matter, superstars aren’t always valuable.

The other part of fantasy sports betting is putting up more total points than your opponents, which happens through building the most unique lineups possible.

If everyone in the field purchases, say, LeBron James, and he gets you 50 fantasy points, it’s essentially negated by everyone else who “owns” him for the night. It’s more beneficial to find diamonds in the rough–players who aren’t widely coveted or owned, but who have favorable enough matchups, so that their performance is more unique to your total score.

Following this approach gives you a greater chance of finishing high enough in the nightly standings to win money.