Buying Points

With many online sportsbooks, you will see offers on bets where you are given the chance to buy points. Basically what you are doing is purchasing better odds on the game on which you plan to place a wager. The methods through which you can buy points and the maximum amount you a permitted to buy can vary from sportsbook to sportsbook, but the industry standard tends to be between one-half and two points. But you must remember that there is a cost to you when you buy points. 

Points For Sale - But Is It Worth It?

By buying points, you are increasing your chances of winning, but you are also reducing your payday on a winning wager. Generally, to buy back a half-point is going to cost you .10. So let's say you were wagering on an NBA game and you want to bet the Los Angeles Clippers. Let's say that the Clippers are playing the New York Knicks and are listed as 5.5-point underdogs. To buy a half a point and move that spread to six points would cost you .10, so now you'd be required to bet $120 on the Clippers instead of $110 in order to profit $100.

Here's an example of buying points on an NBA game: 


There are also variables in place when buying points on specific sports that tend to be industry standards. On NFL games, there are increased costs in place when it comes to buying points on point spreads of three and seven points, which as anyone who bets on football already knows are the most commonplace point spreads.

A bettor can buy half a point onto a spread of three (from +2.5 to +3 or from -3.5 to -3), but you will be charged a total of .25 on NFL point spreads. To do the same thing with an NCAA football line, you will be charged a total of .15. If you buy half a point on an NFL point spread of seven (from +6.5 to +7 or from -7.5 to -7), you will be charged a total of .15. To do the same with an NCAA football point spread, you will pay .10.

Here's how that works:

If the Buffalo Bills were 2.5 underdogs against the New England Patriots and you want to move the line to three points, that half-point increase will cost you .25 and in order to make a $100 profit on your wager you would be required to bet $135. If Michigan were favored by 3.5 points over Michigan State in an NCAA football game and your desire was to buy a half point of that back to reduce it to three points, that's going to cost you .15. To win $100 on that bet, you would now need to wager $125.

There are standard rules in place at the vast majority of online sportsbooks when it comes to the process of buying points on wagers:

  • Wagers may only be placed on the outcome of a single event or game, and all standard rules apply.
  • The team you wager on must win by the point spread you have bought.
  • The maximum number of points you can buy varies from sportsbook to sportsbook, but most will limit you to one half point.
  • Some sportsbooks will allow you to buy more points than one half, but may charge you incrementally higher percentages to acquire each additional half point.

Is It Worth The Money?

Broach the subject of buying points with any regular sports bettor and you can expect to hear a vast array of responses. You will run across those bettors who think it foolhardy to ever buy points and give away some of your potential winnings, feeling that they are handing money back to the sportsbook that could be theirs when they cash a winning bet.

You will also encounter those bettors who make buying points a regular part of their strategy when wagering on sports and think those who eschew this strategy are not smart, because the approach of buying points can significantly increase your chances of winning, and isn't that why you are betting in the first place?

What's the truth? Well, the reality is that the answer probably lies somewhere in between these two extremes. When it comes to betting on sports, there should be no absolutes when strategizing, because there is no foolproof, 100 percent winning system out there, no matter what those touts with the 1-800 numbers and the pop up ads try to get you to believe. Nothing in gambling is that clear cut.

There are times when buying points is going to make perfect sense, for the simple reality that by doing so, you are giving yourself a better chance of winning. 

Should You Buy Points?

As we stated above, when it comes to sports gambling, nothing is written in stone. On the subject of buying points, you are the one who will have to make the call as to whether it's something you feel is worthwhile. While it improves the odds of winning a wager, it diminishes the amount you will win, so you must feel comfortable with making such a trade off.

When does it make sense to buy points? Well, if you think the oddsmakers have nailed the point spread on a game and it's likely to finish in a push, that's an opportune time to buy a half point if this game is one you are certain is worth a wager. If you believe it's likely that the three-point spread on an NFL game is accurate, a bet on the underdog at plus-three and +135 doesn't make sense. However, a wager of +3.5 and +110, while creating less of a return on investment, does increase your opportunity to cash in on the bet.

You should never buy points merely because you think it will give you a better chance at winning. Do so when it realistically increases your odds of cashing a winning ticket. And always shop around to the various sportsbooks to gain the best deal available when it comes to buying points.