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What Does Buying Points Mean in Sports Betting?

What Does Buying Points Mean in Sports Betting?
Patrick Lynch
By Patrick Lynch
Sports & Casino Expert
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Updated May 17, 2023
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Read time 7 min
What Does Buying Points Mean in Sports Betting?

Once you become attuned to sports betting, you’ll realize that there are more options than you realize.  For instance, you’ll see that you’re no longer confined to a handful of markets or a single outcome. This is the ‘Burger King’ era of betting, where punters can have it their way. There are dozens of sports and countless markets. If you don’t like the over/under line offered by a crypto sportsbook, look into the alternative over/under markets. If the site still doesn’t give you what you want, line-shop elsewhere!

A prime example of this new normal is buying points in the spread betting market. Rather than taking the available line, you can find a better one and potentially boost your profits. However, it is not necessarily the best option. After all, bookmakers don’t offer extra markets unless there’s something in it for them!

Nonetheless, buying points could help you avoid a painful narrow loss on certain wagers. This article outlines how to buy points with examples, analyzes the cost, investigates the best sports for the process, and checks out the pros and cons.

What Does Buying Points on the Betting Line Mean?

In sports betting, buying points involves improving the spread to ensure a better chance of winning your bet, albeit at reduced odds. Punters unsure about the general spread may buy points to move things in their favor.

For instance, suppose you want to bet on the game between the New York Jets and the New York Giants. However, you aren’t pleased with the current spread, which offers the Jets with a -7.5-point handicap at odds of 1.86. In this scenario, the Jets must win by 8+ points for a successful bet.

Rather than take on a spread you’re uncomfortable with; you elect to ‘buy a point’ and select the Jets with a -6.5-point handicap at odds of 1.76. Now, you win the bet if the Jets win by 7+ points. If the game ends 24-17 to the Jets, you win on the -6.5 spread when you would have lost on the -7.5 spread.

How Do I Buy Points?

In spread betting, buying points is easier than getting milk at the local convenience store! You don’t need to ‘purchase’ anything with most crypto sportsbooks. Instead, you look for the alternative spread or handicap markets and make your selections. You can go as far away from the ‘standard’ spread as you want.

However, certain sportsbooks require you to complete the process manually. This practice involves:

  • Clicking on the point spread for the team you want to wager on and adding it to your betting slip
  • Looking for a button that says “buy points” and pressing it
  • Deciding how many points you wish to purchase and reviewing the odds offered
  • Determining how much you want to risk and placing your wager

Sports Betting Buying Points Examples

Rather than looking for betting sites that force you to complete the convoluted process of physically ‘buying’ points, opt for the alternative spread markets on crypto gambling sites. Here are two examples of how to alter the spread and increase your chances of winning the bet.

Example #1

Philadelphia faces off against Kansas City in Super Bowl LVII. In this hotly anticipated contest, the Eagles are the slight favorites, and the standard spread line is -2.5 or -2.0, depending on the bookmaker.

You bet on the Eagles and visit Stake to place your wager. You see that the odds of Philadelphia winning with the -2.5-point spread are 1.92. However, if you believe the game will be even tighter, you would rather go with the Eagles by an even smaller margin. Therefore, you can select them to win with the -1.5-point spread at odds of 1.85.

With the -2.5 spread, you need the Eagles to win by 3+ points. However, the -1.5-point spread means you only require a 2+ point Eagles victory.

Example #2

As an NHL fan, you’re looking forward to the clash between the Carolina Hurricanes and the Los Angeles Kings. Although you favor the Hurricanes, a close contest is likely. Therefore, you’re unsure whether odds of 2.25 represent value on the -1.5 spread. If you take this bet, it means you require Carolina to win by 2+ goals.

Instead, you elect to go ‘safety first’ and select the -1.0 line at odds of 1.74. With this wager, you win if the Hurricanes triumph by 2+ goals and get your money back (a push) if they win by a single goal.

How Much Do Points Cost You?

In major sports leagues, like the NFL, bookmakers offer tight markets with the prices for different margins of victory that are extremely well calculated. They already have an overround on the general spread line and often increase it on the alternative spread markets to catch out people looking to buy points.

As the NHL example showed, there is a huge difference between the odds for the -1.5 and -1.0 spreads. This is understandable in some ways, since ice hockey is a relatively low-scoring game. However, you pay a fairly high cost for buying points for American football matches. Indeed, the bookies charge a premium for buying points on basketball games, even though it is a very high-scoring sport.

For instance, one well-known fiat bookmaker had an overround of 4.54% on the -2.5-point spread for the Eagles. However, its overround was 6.81% for the -1.5-point spread bet!

Let’s use example #1 to calculate how much buying a single point in an NFL game is likely to cost.

  • If you bet $100 on the Eagles with the -2.5-point spread and win, your profit is $92.
  • If you bet $100 on the Eagles with the -1.5-point spread and win, your profit is $85.

A $92 win is worth about 8.24% more than $85. On fiat bookmakers, the cost is usually over 10% of your profit.

What Are the Best Sports for Buying Points?

Realistically, American football is the best option, and for most professional bettors, it is the ONLY sport you should use for buying points. It often hits the sweet spot between enough scoring and not too much.

Also, American football’s scoring system means that a 3-point winning margin is the most common outcome in the NFL, with seven points as the next most frequent margin of victory.  

Therefore, buying a point makes sense if the spread is set at -3.5 or -7.5, as you can nudge it into the more valuable -2.5 and -6.5 territory. Alternatively, you can increase the +2.5 handicap to +3.5, so your bet wins if the underdog loses by a field goal.

Of course, as you can imagine, buying points on these particular lines is expensive. One fiat-accepting bookie increased its overround to 7.57% on the +3.5 line for the Eagles versus Chiefs game compared to 4.54% on the +2.5 market.

The odds on the Chiefs with a +2.5-point advantage were 1.83. With a +3.5-point edge, the odds plummeted to 1.61. That equates to a difference of 36% in profit, as you earn $83 for a $100 bet with the +2.5 line and $61 on the +3.5 line.

Buying points is less suitable in almost every other sport. Basketball, for instance, is a high-scoring sport with few relevant key numbers. Baseball, soccer, and ice hockey are low-scoring sports where it makes less sense to try and buy points. As shown in example #2, the gap in the price is enormous when buying half points, let alone full ones.  

Pros and Cons of Buying Points

While it is true that buying points isn’t usually the best option, the practice does have a few plus points to go along with the downsides.

Pros

  • More Wins: In theory, you generally enjoy a higher win rate, which means fewer losing streaks.
  • Prevents Tough Losses: Losing a spread bet by a point or half a point is tough to take psychologically, and happens more than you think. Even by buying half points in sports betting, you can enjoy the pleasant feeling of winning narrowly on the spread for a change.
  • Brings Underdogs into Play: The process makes underdog betting useful, thus increasing your interest level in the game.
  • Solidifies Favoritism: Buying points ensures a strong favorite becomes closer to being a lock.
  • No Push: A ‘push’ happens on spreads ending in 0, such as -2.0, when the bet is settled as a tie, and you get your stake back. You could turn a tie into a win by buying half a point in this instance.
  • Improves Knowledge: If you’re serious about buying points, you must become more of an expert on your chosen sport. Through this process, your enhanced knowledge helps you make better wagers and increases your profit on other markets over time.
  • Greater Volume of Bets: Buying points allows access to markets you would normally avoid. For example, the +2.5 spread in an NFL game is trappy. The option of buying a point and bringing it to +3.5 makes it more likely that you’ll get involved. Your bet won’t lose to a game-winning field goal as time expires, at least!

Cons

  • A Lower Payout: The higher win percentage comes at a cost. You receive shorter odds, which means you profit less if the wager wins.
  • Higher Overround: The bookie benefits from a higher edge, particularly around certain spreads.
  • Requires Knowledge: Buying points is unsuitable for novice bettors, as detailed knowledge of the sport is required.
  • Can Lead to Bad Decision Making: The process is more likely to result in you making an unwise bet on your favorite team, as you use it as an excuse to make a poor value bet.
  • Limited Utility: Generally, buying points is only suitable for American football games. It isn’t a good option for low or high-scoring sports.

Is Buying Points on the Betting Line a Good Idea?

It is sometimes a worthwhile process, especially if you believe a game is likely to be extremely tight, with one point making a big difference. If you go down the buying points route, please ensure you conduct a lot of research, including data on past scores, head-to-head meetings, average points per team, etc. Line shop on crypto American football betting sites to get the best deals, and don’t buy points regularly; save the tactic for specific games.

In general, though, the bookie is the winner when punters buy points. Most bettors remember the times the extra point or half point won or lost the bet but seldom remember the many times it made no difference.

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Patrick Lynch
Patrick Lynch
Sports & Casino Expert

Patrick has been a professional writer since 2009. He knows the issues players face when trying to find reputable casinos and performs forensic analysis on every site he reviews. Since joining in 2021, Patrick has had his eyes opened by the potential of the cryptocurrency market. With a background in sports betting, he realizes the possibilities afforded to successful bettors when using digital currency.