To understand how buying points for a point spread bet works, it’s important to first understand how point spreads work. To do so, have a quick spin through our handy intro to point spreads and then swing back to get the low down on buying points.
How Buying Points Works
Buying points is a great way to avoid those awkward moments when a point spread is uncomfortably close to what you think will happen in a particular game. Buying points is when you sacrifice a small amount of value to effectively move the point spread on a particular team and offer yourself a better chance of winning the bet.
For example, imagine you are interested in betting on the Minnesota Vikings to win at home against their NFC North rivals the Chicago Bears. The Vikings are favored by 7.5 points, meaning for a point spread bet to win on the Vikings, they must win by at least 8 points.
This situation can feel awkward, because even if you feel confident the Vikes have what it takes to beat Jay Cutler and the Bears, the line means that the Bears must win by more than a touchdown.
You are dreading the moment when, with a minute left on the clock in a tie game, the Vikings drive it down the length of the field and give it to their star runningback Adrian Peterson to plunge into the endzone to go ahead by seven.
Buying points allows you to adjust the line. Instead of sweating in front of your TV and hoping that the Vikings mysteriously choose to go for two and cover -7.5 when you need it most, you can “buy” the points by selecting a slightly modified line that offers slightly less value.
In this case, you might buy a single half point, and moving the line to -7.0, so that instead of the bet paying out -110 (paying out $9.09 on a $10 bet) and potentially losing if Minnesota wins by 7, the bet pays out -120 (paying out $8.33 on a $10 bet) and is now a push if your worst-case scenario plays out.
You can buy as many as three whole points on most games with large point spreads (typically basketball or football games), losing a bit more value on your wager for each half point you add.
But just think: when AP goes plowing through that goal line defense and puts the Vikings up by three, your slightly sacrificed value will feel well worth it.