Sportsbooks work hard to set a spread for each game, but bettors can pursue alternatives. If you don’t like the set spread, you have the option to buy or sell points.
What do buying and selling points mean for sports gamblers, and when should you do it? Conversely, are there times when you should avoid alternate spread betting?
With sports betting hopefully on its way to Massachusetts, let’s look at what buying and selling points can mean for bettors in the state.
How do sportsbooks set the point spread?
Once upon a time, a group of oddsmakers would sit in a room and pore over numbers to determine the betting line for the day’s games.
Now, technology pretty much handles all of it. Though the market makers in Las Vegas still employ human bookmakers, these bookmakers use the best technology available. Retail sportsbooks rely on algorithms and models to find the most likely differential for any matchup.
Humans still play a part, factoring in variables that can’t be quantified, such as weather and injuries, to create the perfect spread.
How do you buy points on a spread bet?
Once set, players will then have the option to buy points on the spread. What does buying points mean in sports betting? Buying points is simply changing the spread, and the payout, of a game.
Let’s say the New England Patriots are three-point favorites (-3) against the Miami Dolphins, and you’re not comfortable with them winning by more than three points. You could buy a half point and change the bet to the Patriots at -2.5, so a three-point Pats win will be a winner instead of a push.
Buying points can also apply to underdogs, so you could go from +6.5 to +7, for example.
What’s the most points you can buy?
Each sportsbook has different offers for buying points, depending on the sport.
- With FanDuel Sportsbook, you can buy points at odds that vary from -5000 to +2500 for an NBA game.
- With BetMGM and DraftKings Sportsbook, all of the options for the same game won’t exceed -1000 or +1000.
How much does it cost to buy a half-point?
Buying a half-point will usually cost you 10 cents of juice, such as a -115 moving to -125. Again, though, it depends on the sport and the sportsbook.
For example, moving to or from a three or seven-point spread in a football game tends to cost more because games frequently end separated by those amounts. So buying half a point on a 7.5-point favorite at -110 may move the odds to -140.
The cost also tends to jump incrementally the further away from the main spread you’re moving.
Why would you buy points? Is it worth it?
You would usually buy points when you’re on the fence about the main spread. You want that extra insurance on a win by giving yourself a more significant cushion.
The best time to buy points is when the sportsbook lays a flat number. For example, if you see the Patriots spread at -7, buying half a point to -6.5 eliminates the possibility of a push.
Most times, buying points in sports betting isn’t worth the cost. Oddsmakers tend to be precise with their lines. Rather than buying, your best strategy is to browse multiple sportsbooks to find the number you want.
For example, FanDuel may show the Patriots -7. Another site like BetMGM Sportsbook may offer the Patriots at -6.5. Instead of paying for that hook with FanDuel, you can bet the Patriots at -6.5 with more profitable odds.
What are the best sports for buying points?
Football, with its byzantine scoring structure, is the best sport to purchase points. You can often buy points to avoid a push and minimize the chances of a loss.
Basketball betting is risky because there is so much scoring. This makes the final score harder to predict, although some people buy points to force pushes.
With hockey betting and baseball betting, sportsbooks set a standard spread of 1.5. In most cases, buying points on these sports won’t make much sense. You’re likely to get better odds betting the moneyline.
How do payouts change when you buy points?
Payouts are worse when you buy points because you reduce the bet’s risk. Your odds may change from -110 to -125, yielding a less significant payout. The more points you buy, the less you stand to win in the game. In sum, buying points increases the chances of a win at the expense of profit.
How can you sell points on a sportsbook line?
When you sell points on a favorite, you’re betting that they’ll win by more points than the set line. Selling points on an underdog means you think they’ll lose by less than the spread or even win by a certain amount.
You can buy or sell points under the “alternate spreads” section.
Why would you sell points? Is it worth it?
You would sell points when you are confident that a team will overperform their expectations.
Selling points tends to be more valuable than buying points because the reward is more significant. The lines are usually spot-on, so you shouldn’t sell points recklessly.
What are teaser and pleaser bets?
Teasers and pleasers are a type of parlay involving alternate point spreads.
A teaser is a bet on multiple games where you buy points for each one. Playing a teaser, let’s say a seven-point teaser, adds that many points to the line. So if the Patriots are +3 and you play them on a seven-point teaser, the new line would be +10.
The payouts on a teaser, as with buying points, are lower than a standard parlay.
A pleaser is the opposite, where you sell points for each game. A six-point pleaser on the Patriots at -1 would shift them to -7.