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Basketball is a ball game, in which two teams with twelve players each play against each other. Five players per team, each with their own position, are active on the court at one time. The team with the highest number of points at the end of the game is determined the winner. Basketball is often described as a no-contact sport, possibly because the basket is set to a height of ten feet (3.05 meters). Many other sports are more physical because the whole game is played on one level. The Canadian doctor James Naismith recognized this and decided to invent a sport that was not as rough and with less chance of injury, to occupy his 18 students during the long winter months. This is how it came to be that basketball was invented by a single person, teacher and doctor, James Naismith in the year 1891, in Springfield, Massachusetts, USA.

On the 20th of January, the first official basketball match was played in Springfield. Women’s basketball was introduced only one year later in North Hampton, Massachusetts. Senda Berenson Abbott, who was a very important role model for women in basketball at that time, altered the game rules developed by Naismith, to suit women. The newly-developed game was able to establish itself in the USA, particularly in colleges and universities. In 1906, as a result of the large number of college teams, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) was created in Chicago and in 1939 the first NCAA basketball championships were broadcast from Evanston, Illinois to around 5500 viewers. Bet online with William Hill, your bookmaker with best odds.

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Basketball basics

BetsafeThe basic idea of the game is to score as many points as possible by the end of the game by throwing the ball through the opposing team’s hoop, at a height of ten feet (3.05 meters). The team with the most points wins. With every basket from the attacking zone, a lay-up, or a dunk, two points are awarded. A basket scored from the three-point line counts for three points, whereas a basket from the free throw line only counts for one point. Nowadays, more and more basketball fans are placing their bets at online bookmakers. BonusBonusBonus has tested out the best online bookmakers. When you register at IBCbet over our partner IBC-Bet, you can place bets with no limits even if you live in the United States of America. Get more out of your bets by comparing the odds before making a wager.


A basketball game normally consists of four quarters. Each quarter lasts ten minutes (for associations that are part of FIBA) and twelve minutes (in the NBA). In the case of a tie at the end of the fourth quarter, the game goes into overtime. Five minutes at a time are added on to the game time until there is a winner. Half time at the end of the second quarter lasts fifteen minutes. After every quarter and every extension there is a two minute break. Only actual playing time counts because game time is stopped every time there is a pause during play. There are always two teams with five players on the playing field during a game of basketball. The starting formation is termed the “starting five.” The players can be recognized by their uniforms, consisting of a jersey and shorts. A basketball game is principally regulated by two referees, although for higher national and international leagues three referees are used. The referees have different areas that they must watch and be responsible for, although these constantly change with respect to the position of the ball. All referees are entitled to make a call; they all have the same authority during the game. In addition to referees, there are also table officials to keep track of the game time (at every whistle from the referee the time is stopped), all points scored, individual and team fouls, player substitutions and the shot clock.


The modern basketball weighs about 19 to 22 ounces (540 to 650 grams) depending on which size is used (men use a size seven, whereas women use a size six) and has a circumference of 28.5 to 29.5 inches (75 to 78 centimeters). It is composed of rubber as well as nylon threads. In June 2006, Commissioner David Stern introduced a new NBA game ball. The cover material of this basketball uses synthetic micro-threads instead of leather. Though following criticism by the player’s union, this change was reversed and since the beginning of 2007, the original leather ball has been used again. The court is a hard, rectangular surface 94 feet long and 50 feet wide (29 meters by 15 meters) mostly made of wood. The court consists of markings such as circles, lines, and zones, all of which have their own function. The center line divides the court into two halves. The center circle lies on the center line and has a radius of six feet (1.8 meters). Both sides have a “three- point zone” (a semicircle with a radius of 22 feet / 6.7 meters around each basket) and a free throw lane (which is 18 feet / 5.5 meters wide at the boundary lines and 12 feet / 3.6 meters wide at the free throw line reaching 19 feet / 5.8 meters into the court).




A player can only move forward by dribbling, which means bouncing the ball on the floor while moving. Failure to do this is termed “travelling” and causes the opposing team to gain possession of the ball and awards them a throw-in from the sidelines. If a player stops dribbling but is still in motion, then he is allowed to take two steps (in the NBA three), before he needs to pass the ball or take a shot. As soon as the attacker holds onto the ball after dribbling, he is no longer allowed to start dribbling for a second time. Players are not allowed to block or catch a ball that is moving in a downward direction towards the basket. This violation is called goaltending. Hitting the backboard or reaching into the net is also termed goaltending. By goaltending, the attacking team acquires a successful basket rather than just an attempt at a basket. Bet online with BonusBonusBonus: play at William Hill and get our exklusive welcome bonus. 

The Shot Clock

The shot clock shows the remaining time left to advance the game, i.e. to take a shot. In total, the attacker has 24 seconds available to attempt a shot that must hit the rim. When the ball is put into play or a team gains possession of the ball, they have eight (of the 24) seconds to bring the ball into the opposing team’s half of the court. Once the player who has possession of the ball is in the opposing teams court (in the front half of the court), the ball is no longer allowed to cross the center line to be brought into one’s own half (the back half of the court). While putting the ball into play, a player only has five seconds to hold on to the ball before he has to pass it to one of his team members. During the game, if a player is being closely guarded, he only has this amount of time to begin dribbling, attempt a shot, or make a pass. A player from the attacking team is not allowed to be in the opposing team’s key for longer than three seconds at a time. Whether or not he is in possession of the ball is irrelevant, rather that his team is in possession of the ball in the front half of the court. If two opposing players are not able to gain control of the ball and therefore both grab onto it, a jump ball situation occurs. This leads to a change of ball possession as indicated by a directional arrow, which the table officials keep track of. In the NBA, on the other hand, a jump ball takes place in the circle, closest to where both players are.


An attempt to unfairly disadvantage and opponent through physical contact is not legal and called a foul. If the attacker who is being defended has the ball, then the defender has limited opportunities. If though, an offensive player runs into a defensive player (with his shoulder) who is standing or moving backwards or sticks out his elbows too much, he is committing an offensive foul. When the referee shows the player a “balled fist” it means that the player has committed a foul. Picks are allowed in basketball (unlike football, where blocks are called as fouls) but if a player sets a “moving pick” he commits a foul. In basketball, there are also technical fouls, unsportsmanlike fouls, and disqualifying fouls, which sometimes lead to disqualification from a game. Unsportsmanlike fouls (formerly known as intentional fouls) are fouls that a player commits deliberately.

Technical fouls are given for administrative offenses, as well as technical mistakes such as disturbing the opposition (as in clapping during a shot at the basket) or a lack of discipline from the coaches or players (as in complaining). Disqualifying fouls are a result of blatant unsportsmanlike play (putting other players down, fighting, etc.). Following five fouls (six in the NBA), the offending player is suspended from the current game. In general, a foul during a shot at the basket leads to a free throw. For offensive fouls, no free throws are given but they count towards the team fouls for that period. When a player is fouled even though he is not looking to score a basket, then it generally does not lead a free- throw. An exception is when a team already has five fouls, so after the fifth team foul (all personal and technical fouls for all players and teams per quarter) the game is said to be in the penalty, and for every foul thereafter, the player is awarded two additional free-throws. Results from previous matches can be found in our Live Scores section. Have we stirred your interest in betting on basketball games? In case you aren’t familiar with the various kinds of bets you can place, just take a look at our section on Betting Types and Betting Options and we will explain it all to you.



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