One of the most popular questions I get from readers about betting topics is about buying points.
A lot of them want to know if it is a good idea — the idea of buying a 3 to a 3.5 to get off of the key number or buying a 2.5 up to a 3 with an underdog.
Bettors are very afraid of losing by a half-point. It feels like such a frustrating, annoying, downright maddening outcome to a wager. I get it. I fully understand. It has happened to me and one of my best friends in the business laments to me every year about falling on the wrong side of way too many of those games in college basketball.
The short answer about buying points is a resounding no. The long answer is still a resounding no.
A couple of weeks ago, Adam Chernoff (a regular weekly guest on VSiN’s “Follow the Money”) tweeted about the value of half-points in the NFL. He pointed out that the difference between 6.5 and 7 is usually worth about 15 cents. The difference between 3.5 and 3 and 2.5 and 3 is roughly 20 cents. The difference of 9.5 to 10 is worth roughly 10 cents.
Most sportsbooks are going to charge you more than that to buy points and significantly more than that around the key numbers in the NFL. They’ll charge you 20 cents for less meaningful numbers and upwards of 30 or 40 cents for the more important ones.
Instead of buying points, the only true option is to have multiple accounts across the sports betting landscape. Have accounts at BetMGM, DraftKings, BetRivers, FanDuel, PointsBet, whatever is available in your jurisdiction. This way, you can do what we call “line shopping.” If you do that, you don’t have to buy points because you are probably going to be able to find the line that you want at one of them.
If not, be patient. Wait it out. See if the line gets to the purchase point that you are looking for.
With multiple “outs,” you’re likely to find the line that you want. If you don’t, have the discipline to stay off of the game or maybe bet it for a smaller amount.
We’re all conditioned to dwell on the bad beats. Or, everybody loves to fall into this “Vegas Knows” trap. The reality is that when you really boil it down, the spread comes into play on a very low percentage of games. You might buy a half-point up to +7 and that team loses by 14. Now, not only did you make a losing bet, but you also paid more vig to do it.
Furthermore, buying up to a number or down to a number just hoping to push isn’t exactly a good use of your bankroll.
The far better option is to simply give yourself more options when shopping for a line in the market. That is one of the simplest ways to have a better chance at making money in this business. Give yourself options. Lock yourself in at the best of the number that you can get.
Just don’t buy points to get there.
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