What is Buying Points in Sports Betting? How and When to Buy Points in Sports Betting
Imagine this: It’s a beautiful sunny summer day in July and you’re about to watch the Red Sox vs Yankees game. True prime time television. Before first pitch you take a look at the moneylines and see both teams are basically a pick’em (even or very close to even odds between the two teams). Even the books can’t decide a favorite!
In your heart of hearts you know that the Red Sox should win this game, but you’d like to make a little more money on them winning. To make this a reality you change the moneyline on the red sox from -106 to +150.
Now we all know this is a dream as the books would never allow this. However, the books do allow you to change the odds on certain types of bets.
What is Buying Points?
Buying points in sports betting is the act of improving the bet line for a game or match. This does come with a price though because the sportsbook is also going to make the bet more expensive, or less profitable, since you are making the outcome more favorable for you.
Let’s dig right in and take a look at an example. Today’s lines are courtesy of FanDuel.
The first thing you have to do is pick which game you’d like to bet on. For this example I have gone with the Brooklyn Nets vs the Washington Wizards.
On FanDuel, and any book, you are going to find the tab labeled “Alternate Spreads” or “Alternate Markets”.
Once you click on the tab it will show you a MASSIVE amount of alternate spreads. On Fanduel it shows everything from Nets +22.5 to Wizards +22.5.
How Do I Buy Points?
Once you have found the alternate spreads tab, buying points is simple.
Currently the spreads are set at Brooklyn +1 and Washington -1. As a seasoned sports bettor you know that +1 in a basketball game is not going to give you much of an advantage, especially if you think Brooklyn is going to lose. You’d like to see +3.5. Luckily you can!
As you can see in the above screenshot, the Nets at +3.5 bring the odds to -154, meaning there is an additional 40 cents of juice. Now instead of betting $115 to win $100 you have to bet $154 to win $100.
Let’s break this down even further. On a -115/-105 line the juice is 4.71%. Once we account for selling the points and look at the -154/+124 line we find the juice increases about a half a percentage up to 5.27%.
This means now the book is getting an even larger cut of the bet you place.
Is buying those points worth it? That’s up to you.
In addition to buying points, it is also possible to SELL points. The process is the same as in buying points. You head on over to the alternate point spreads tab and find the line you want.
When selling points you are actually decreasing your odds of the bet hitting (according to the book). In doing this you are actually increasing the bet odds thus increasing your possible payout. This example comes courtesy of DraftKings:
In the above example we can see that the Warriors spread is set at +4.5 with -115 odds and the Timberwolves are set at -4.5 with -105 odds.
Let’s say you feel like the warriors are actually going to win this game and by a margin of more than 2. You could sell points to get to that line and increase your payout.
All you have to do is find the alternate spreads tab and scroll down to the Warriors -2 option. This brings the spread bet from odds of -115 (bet $115 in order to get $100) to +170 (bet $100 and win $170)!
Once again the juice on a -115/-105 line is 4.71%. Once we account for the odds at +170/-220 line we find that the juice is now up to 5.79%, more than a whole percentage point!
Be cautious of this when selling points, the more you sell the higher the juice will be because the books know you are giving yourself an edge.
Tips for Buying & Selling Points
- Pay attention to the cost to buy points. Just because the spread says +15 doesn’t mean you have (and likely will not have) friendly odds worth betting on.
- Know the book(s) you’re using rules. Some books charge a premium to buy up to or off of favorable lines such as -7 or -3 in football.
- In addition, books have different definitions for what a push, win, or loss is. Make sure you have researched this ahead of time so you are betting correctly.
- Buy small. The books set the lines for a reason and they are right a considerable amount of the time. Most bettors are only going to buy a half point, also called the hook, because of the juice and overall loss of profitability.
- Play the Long Game. You will remember that half point you bought that turned a push into a win. You will also remember the half point you bought that didn’t matter. Remember you should be betting with a bankroll and a strategy in mind. It is all about money gained in the long term.
- Calculate the Juice!!!!!
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