How to Buy Points in Sports Betting

As the legalization of sports betting in the United States spreads, the public can bet on just about anything when it comes to major sports in the country. Not only that, but many books allow bettors an option to bet on their own numbers instead of always using the sportsbook’s spreads. This is where buying points come in.

You could potentially change the line to give yourself a better chance at a winning wager. This will always come at a price, and it’s up to you and the game situation to determine whether the extra cost is worth it.

In this guide, we will take a look at the basics of buying points, when to do it, whether it’s a sound strategy, and more.

What does buying points mean?

Sports betting is all about value and finding edges to give you the best chance at success. You can give yourself a better shot at correctly predicting a winning outcome through buying points, but the potential payout will be less substantial as a result.

Let’s say you are interested in placing a spread bet on an NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks. You want to bet on the Warriors, who are seven-point favorites. Here is what the standard spread bet would look like:

 Spread
Golden State Warriors-7 (-110)
Atlanta Hawks+7 (-110)

After doing your research, you still like the Warriors, but seven points is a little too high for your liking, so you could drop down how many points Golden State needs to win by. You could check out the alternate lines at your preferred sportsbook and determine you are more comfortable with the Warriors covering a five-point spread. You are giving yourself two extra points, but that’s going to cost you in the odds department. After buying two points, here’s what the bet may look like.

  • Golden State Warriors -5 (-160)

Because you gave yourself a better chance at a winning bet, the odds became far worse. If you understand how to calculate betting odds, this now means a wager of $160 would return a $100 profit if the Warriors win by more than five points. In the original bet when Golden State was favored by seven points, you would’ve been in line for a potential profit of $100 on a $110 bet.

The name of the game in alternate lines is to determine whether the change in the number is worth the cost in odds.

Best spots to buy points

Buying points is especially popular in a sport like football where certain numbers are important. Because of how the scoring works in football, numbers like three and seven are known as key numbers because of touchdowns and field goals. When you hear about buying points, it is usually based on key numbers in football.

Let’s take a look at an example. In this scenario, the San Francisco 49ers are three-point favorites in their matchup with the Seattle Seahawks, and you want to bet on the 49ers:

 Spread
San Francisco 49ers-3 (-110)
Seattle Seahawks+3 (-110)

Three is one of the most common margins of victory in the NFL, so there is decent potential this game will end with the 49ers winning by three points. If that happens, the bet would push and you would get your money back as if nothing happened.

You want to give yourself the best chance at winning, and because of how common a three-point victory is, just 0.5 points are extremely valuable, so you buy a half-point on the 49ers. Here’s what that bet might look like now:

  • San Francisco 49ers -2.5 (-135)

You are giving yourself a significantly better chance at a victory because the 49ers can now cover if they win by a field goal, but sportsbooks will charge you even more in odds when you are crossing key numbers of a point spread like three.

Key numbers also exist to a lesser extent with the point total, but they are still numbers to watch out for. For example, there are a lot of ways for the combined score to get to 41 points, so that is an important number when betting on the over/under if you look to buy points.

How much does buying points cost?

This may vary by sportsbook, but there is a common trend many of them use for how much a point will cost. For a sport like basketball where key numbers are less prominent than in football, in general a half-point will cost about 10 cents of the vig. For example, purchasing a half-point would move a bet that has -110 odds to -120 odds or -120 to -130.

That is the case for football as well aside from when it would put you on a different side of a key number. As you saw with the NFL betting example, that 0.5-point swing cost 25 cents of juice, moving -110 odds to -135. Sportsbooks understand the value of key numbers more than anybody.

What is a teaser bet?

A teaser is a popular way to buy points, and it involves multiple outcomes like a parlay bet. Again, this is a bet that is most popular for football games.

With a teaser bet in football, you can change the line of multiple games by six, six and a half or seven points. Let’s go to our 49ers example where they were three-point favorites against the Seahawks and add another game to make a teaser. Let’s say you also want to bet on the Los Angeles Rams as 3.5-point underdogs to the Arizona Cardinals.

Here’s what the original lines look like for both of your bets:

  • 49ers -3
  • Rams +3.5

Now, if you decide to place a six-point teaser to both wagers, here are the new lines:

  • 49ers +3
  • Rams +9.5

Both outcomes have a much better chance at hitting after moving six points in your favor, though you will usually get somewhere around -120 odds if you get both right.

While this sounds like a bet that is easily winnable, it is extremely hard to win consistently. Correctly predicting one outcome is hard enough, and two is even tougher. Some even consider teasers to be sucker bets, and many bettors who do this for a living stay away from wagers like these.

Is buying points worth it?

This is up to you and the game situation, but, in general, it is probably not a good idea to make buying points a regular thing. It is great that you are getting a better shot at a winning wager, but the adjusted odds will generally not be worth the advantage you are getting.

There are so many betting options out there, and if you aren’t confident enough to take a team with the sportsbook’s original number, it is probably best to pass on that one and find another matchup on which to bet.

Shop the lines for value

This is a good idea in general, and it could even serve as a limited alternative to buying points in limited circumstances.

All of the online sportsbooks will generally have similar spreads and odds, but they will not always be the same, and that’s where line shopping comes in. Essentially, you’re searching for the best odds and lines just like you would if you went out shopping at your local store.

If you are looking to bet on the Los Angeles Chargers in an upcoming game against the Kansas City Chiefs, you could look through the different online sportsbook apps and sites to determine where the best value is. If the FanDuel Sportsbook app offers the Chargers at -2.5 and DraftKings is showing them at -3, you would love to jump on the FanDuel number as soon as possible instead of buying a half-point from DraftKings Sportsbook.

Sports bettors need to take advantage of the small edges they can get, and this can be one way to do it.

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