BetRivers, one of the many mobile sportsbooks available in Michigan, recently introduced Basketball Squares. BetRivers Basketball Squares work the same way as NFL Squares, aiming to give NBA bettors an added interest when tracking bets and games.
“With the fast pace style of play and high scoring of NBA games this season, our Basketball Squares game will offer bettors a thrilling experience and exciting way to win more,” Richard Schwartz, CEO at BetRivers parent company Rush Street Interactive, said in a press release.
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The concept is simple.
The NBA Squares board has 100 squares, with each square representing a combination of possible final scores. Every time a bettor places a wager of $20 or more on a game, they receive at least one random standard square. Wagers of $50 or more on the same game results in a second square. Bettors can receive a third square if they bet $100 or more on the same game.
Each square has a pair of single-digit numbers The number on the left corner represents the desired final digit of the visiting team’s point total. The number on the right represents the desired final digit of the home team’s point total. For example, if you received a four on the left and a seven on the right of your square, a 127-114 win for the home team would result in a winning square.
A “win” in this case means the reward of a $20 bonus bet, although customers can boost squares by placing more than $20 worth of live bets on the game. The bonus bet payout for winning a boosted square ranges anywhere from $25 to $10,000. The amount won is determined after a boosted square wins.
I gave the NBA Squares a shot this week, as I placed a $20 wager on the Memphis Grizzlies to cover a spread of -2.5 against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. I quickly received my square, which needed both teams to have their final score finish with an eight.
While it’s easy to become focused on the possibility of your square winning, having a winning square comes down to luck. Fortunately for me, my actual wager was an easy winner.
The Grizzlies dominated the Nuggets as home favorites, jumping out to a 24-point halftime lead and never looking back. Memphis won 112-94, holding Denver to a season-low scoring output.
My square wasn’t all that close to winning — and I didn’t place any live bets to boost it — but I did cash my original wager. Given Memphis’ dominant performance, I felt confident the bet would win for most of the game. Checking the score during the final few minutes to see if each team’s score might end with an eight added intrigue to an otherwise surprisingly dull game.
“Compared to football, there are more lead changes and scoring swings in basketball, which will make watching fourth quarter action even more engaging for our bettors this season,” Schwartz said.
Responsible gaming thoughts
I enjoyed the Basketball Squares and could certainly see myself being more willing to place a recreational NBA bet because of the late-game entertainment value of the squares. It’s fun to have an extra rooting interest at the end of games, and I certainly won’t complain about the chance to receive bonus bets.
My primary advice from trying out the new offering, however, is not to expect a winning square.
It’s easy to want to place over $100 of wagers on the same game in hopes of adding a couple of additional squares. Even placing live bets to boost the square is tempting. Who wouldn’t want $10,000 worth of bonus bets?
But each square has a 1 in 100 chance of winning. It’s fun to have an additional rooting interest to track with your random square, but the squares aren’t designed to frequently award users with bonus bets. Even if you do defy the odds to receive a bonus bet, there’s no guarantee the bonus bet you place will even win.
I suggest wagering on NBA games as you usually do, with any winning squares acting as a bonus rather than a prize worth chasing. The squares add a little intrigue to end-of-game situations, and it’s important to wager responsibly to make the most of the experience.
Photo: Chris Schwegler/Getty Images