When it comes to sports gambling, the point spread is the most popular means to wager. Everyone loves a good point spread. However, sometimes the lines just aren’t where you want them. It’s never by much either, if only you had just a half-point more, you’d feel much more confident in your bet.
Of course, gamblers have felt this way for years. It’s just the nature of point spreads and the reason the oddsmakers are so good. The sportsbooks were quick to notice this common complaint from their customers and, sportsbooks being sportsbooks, figured out a way to capitalize on it. That’s when buying points was born and it remains a popular option today.
What is Buying Points?
Buying points is only available in football and basketball as these are the high scoring, and hence high point spread, sports. It’s a simple idea really, buying points, as it is an option for any wager to move the point spread more in your favor. Sound great, right? Not so fast because, of course, there is a catch. When you buy points and move the spread, you are also moving the odds and that movement is in the favor of the sportsbook.
When buying points you have the option to buy a half point, a full point, or a point and a half. Some sportsbooks will have even more points available to buy, while some others will let you purchase as many as you want. This all comes at a price though, as your odds will significantly decrease with every half point.
How Does This Work?
Traditionally in works like this, for each half point that you change the point spread in football or basketball in your favor you must pay an extra 10 to 25 percent on the odds. For example, if you’re wagering the New England Patriots at -8 at -110 (that’s $110 to win $100) you can buy the Patriots down to -7.5 at -120 (that’s $120 to win $100). For every other point you buy, this pattern continues.
If you move the Patriots down to -7, the odds drop again to -130 (now you’re at $130 to win $100). And on it goes. This is the common practice when the sportsbook offers 10 percent points. However, some sportsbooks change this odds-movements and actually charge more.
This is more common on football wagers, but the sportsbook can charge what they like and usually do. It is important to know the sportsbooks rules before buying points as they all vary and some are better than other. Remember, while it is true that you are getting a better number on the point spread, you’re getting a worse payout on the odds.
Does This Work?
On face value, this seems like a great idea and the perfect option when you are looking for that extra half point on a game. There are key numbers in basketball and, especially, football where having an extra half point would be make all the difference in your confidence. For instance, if the Patriots are giving 7, and football scoring being football scoring, wouldn’t it be better at -6.5? This happens in basketball as well when the number is around 2. Any little edge helps when placing a bet and it’s on point spreads like these where buying points sees the most action.
But Is It A Good Idea?
While there is always a ton of debate on gambling matters such as this, buying points is usually best to be avoided. When you place a smart wager, you are getting a good return on a small investment with little risk. That’s all it is. The reason point spreads were invented in the first place was to handicap a game to even up the odds because, let’s face it, betting a favorite on the money line is boring and there’s too much to lose, too much risk.
Again, a good return on a small investment with little risk. When you buy points you are changing the odds, lowering your payout and smart gamblers know you never want to lower your payout. The reason experienced and professional gamblers don’t buy points is because there is always a better way to win a bet.
What Are The Better Ways?
A fair question but not an easy answer. However, one way would be to simply change your thinking about the wager. If you want to bet the -7.5 favorite Patriots down to -7 or, even better, -6.5, why would you not take their opponent and get the +7.5?
It’s the same wager at the end of the day and it won’t change your odds. Another idea to consider would be to not wager on the game at all. If the odds, point spreads, or totals don’t add up to you, it may not be a good bet. After all, point spreads aren’t made to even the outcome of the game, they are made to get you to wager. If you don’t like what they are selling, don’t buy it.