With fast-paced gameplay, high-scoring matches and momentum swinging from one team to the other in a matter of seconds – it’s almost as if Basketball was made for gaming.
Thankfully, developers Visual Concepts and publishers 2K Sports are fully aware of basketball’s potential in video games. Basketball and non-basketball fans alike are drawn to a simulation game that captures the excitement of a live match in a smooth and satisfying gameplay package. NBA 2K is officially licensed by the US National Basketball Association (NBA) and gamers have been further enticed by box covers featuring household names such as Shaquille O’neal and Kobe Bryant.
NBA 2K’s offering has certainly been a recipe for commercial success. NBA 2K has become a mainstay of the yearly gaming calendar, releasing on 18 different platforms. The 2020 edition alone sold over 14 million units.
The best news for fans of esports and esports betting is that the NBA 2K esports story is only just beginning. In fact, 2K Sports and the NBA themselves have together created a unique and exciting proposition for NBA esports which – just like the game itself – should appeal for beyond hardcore basketball fans.
Find out everything you need to know about NBA 2K betting in our NBA 2K betting guide below, including our handpicked selection of the best NBA 2K betting sites.
NBA 2K sets out to emulate NBA basketball as closely as possible. Just like in the NBA, matches comprise of two teams consisting of 5 players each. Each match has four quarters and the team with the most points at the end of all four quarters will win the game. Points are scored by successfully landing a shot in the basket, with long-distance shots earning more points than close-up shots and slam-dunks. In most non-competitive NBA 2K matches, a player will control the actions of the entire team.
In 2017 Take Two Interactive (owners of 2K Sports) and the NBA combined forces to create the NBA 2K League, with the inaugural tournament taking place in 2018. The league takes an innovative approach to esports:
Focus on Team Gameplay
Unlike the centerpiece leagues and tournaments of comparable esports titles, team gameplay is at the heart of NBA esports. An NBA 2K esports team is made up of five individual players, each occupying one of the five traditional starting positions in an NBA basketball game. This is a marked difference to esports titles such as FIFA, where the biggest tournaments revolve around individuals controlling whole teams of players.
NBA Franchise Involvement
The second key difference between the NBA 2K league and titles such as FIFA is that the official NBA Franchises (teams) are also fully integrated into NBA esports. As of 2021, 22 franchises have esports teams competing in the NBA 2K League – including the LA Lakers, New York Knicks and Boston Celtics.
Players earn entry into “Draft Pools” by taking part in qualifying competitions such as the NBA 2K League Draft Prospect Series, international qualifying events and the NBA 2K League Women in Gaming initiative. Eye-catching performers in the draft pools can then earn themselves a call-up to one of the NBA 2K League franchise teams.
The only NBA 2K League team not associated with an NBA franchise are the Gen.G Tigers of Shanghai – who are working together with the NBA 2K League to grow the tournament’s global popularity.
NBA 2K League – Esports Betting Advantages
The set-up of the NBA 2K League has a number of advantages when it comes to esports betting. For those new to NBA 2K League betting, fans need only research a manageable number of teams rather than hundreds of individuals. This is made all the more easier for basketball fans who are already familiar with the names and branding of the esports teams’ real-word NBA counterparts.
The approach of having teams made up of 5 individual esports players also opens up more markets and betting opportunities for those more experienced in NBA 2K betting. Just like in real-word basketball, punters can place bets on individual player performance (for example, the highest scoring player in a match) in addition to traditional match outcome and team bets.
The great news for basketball fans and esports fans alike is that a wide variety of NBA 2K betting markets are available – many of which mirror those offered for traditional basketball.
Match Outcome – A bet on the full-time result after all four quarters of the match are complete.
Tournament Winner / Outright Bet – A bet on which team will be the overall winner of the NBA 2K League or standalone tournament.
In-play Betting – In-play bets or live bets allow you to bet on outcomes during a match and are a hugely popular way to bet on a variety of esports.
Player Props – A bet on the actions of a specific player in a given game. Examples include the number of points they earn, assists they make or blocks they complete – but the potential list is endless.
Quarter Props – A bet that focuses on the outcomes and events in a specific quarter of the game. Examples include “quarter winner” or total points scored in a given quarter.
We’ve made it easier than ever to choose the best NBA 2K betting sites and get started betting on NBA 2K. Check out our selection of hand-picked esports betting sites below – each with fantastic introductory offers.
Here are some important considerations when choosing the best NBA 2K betting site for you:
New to NBA 2K Betting? Look for a betting site which offers a variety of markets.
If you’re just starting out betting on NBA 2K esports, it makes sense to choose a bookmaker that can offer you a wide variety of markets to bet on. This will help you to try different types of bets and find the markets you prefer to bet on.
Do you place regular NBA 2K Bets? Look for a betting site which offers the best odds for your preferred markets.
A betting site may offer a vast array of NBA 2K betting options – but if you are only interested in online bets for match outcomes and tournament winners, it’s more important to choose the betting site which offers the best betting odds for those markets.
Betting Big Money? Look for a betting site with the best offers and rewards.
Of course – you should never bet more than you can afford. However if you are placing bigger bets on NBA 2K esports then it might make sense to choose a site which offers the best rewards, free bets and incentives for depositing more funds.
Do some basic research – It’s easy to brush up on the best teams and players via the official NBA 2K League website. You can view previous results as well as the top-performing players from the 2020 and 2019 seasons.
Enjoy some NBA 2K League Matches – What better way to increase your NBA 2K knowledge than enjoying some live esports action? The NBA 2K League has an official Twitch and YouTube channel featuring live-streams, player interviews and discussions.
Be Wary of “Big Name” Franchises – Success on the basketball court does not necessarily translate to success in esports tournaments. The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have dominated the NBA in recent years – but neither esports team won the NBA 2K League. The same goes for the LA Lakers – the most successful NBA team of all time.
Practise Responsible Betting – Always remember that betting should be fun. You should never bet more than you can afford. See more at BeGamebleAware
The 2021 NBA 2K league tips-off on May 19th – with a prize pool of $1.5million! Here are the key dates and tournament rounds to look out for:
Season Start: May 18th 2021
The 16-week season will see teams play 28 regular season games each. Regular-season games will begin at 7 p.m. ET on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
Play-Offs: August 26th 2021
12 teams will make it through to the playoffs for a chance to earn their place in the season finals. Teams can qualify for the playoffs via three in-season tournaments (THE TIPOFF, THE TURN and THE TICKET)
Season Finals: September 4th 2021
Full NBA 2K League Schedule 2021: